LinkedIn research states that over one-fifth of sales professionals now spend roughly 2 hours a day using social media as part of their role.
Surveying over 1,000 UK sales and business development professionals, the social network’s study found that 21% of respondents spend 5-10 hours using social media each week, with 69% of sellers rating the ability to build “trusted relationships” as central to need to spend more time using social.
The research also states there is a direct correlation between high performance and social selling, with 81% of top performers relying on social selling, compared to 60% overall.
Despite these stats, social media use is often restricted in many large-scale organisations. Yet, the role of the salesperson has evolved dramatically in the last ten years. 57% of a consumer’s buying decision is completed before they are “willing” to talk to a sales rep, while 77% of B2B buyers don’t ever talk to a salesperson until after they have performed independent research into a product or service.
As a result, a survey of sales leaders by Artesian states that three-quarters of sales forces do not hit their targets on a regular basis, and that 30% of sales teams are viewed as “weak or struggling”. In many cases, the need to enter a conversation and build relationships earlier is deemed more inherent to the chances of closing more deals, especially complex B2B transactions.
“The typical business buying process now involves more than five decision makers,” says Kevin Scott, head of sales solutions, LinkedIn EMEA.
“Success in today’s social world relies on sales professionals being able to navigate complex social structures within the companies they want to work with. Luckily, social media helps to shed light on the key connections salespeople need to make, and makes it easier to build trusted relationships more quickly.”
Unsurprisingly, millennials are most likely to be social sellers according to LinkedIn’s research. 48% of women aged under 35 say that social media enables them to improve their relationships with customers and prospects, compared with 41% of men.
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