B2B Sales Stats and Knowledge Nuggets from 5 Sales Research Surveys

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It’s an amazing time to be in sales. The volume and quality of survey data by research firms, consultants and sales technology providers have never been better.

That volume also comes with a vexing challenge: staying on top of it all.

But here at Jiminny, we’ve got your back. We recently perused a handful of reports detailing the results of such surveys – and selected five to briefly highlight for your reference.

For each survey, we called out some of the data points that stood out to us. We’ve also linked to the underlying resource for those interested in further reading.

 

1. Research is crucial to moving deals forward

How important is it for sales to do research on prospects before a call? Very important, according to a study of “more than 1,000 qualified B2B sales calls over the past three years to understand why 641 of them didn’t close,” by BuyerForesight.

The study’s setup elaborates on what ‘qualified’ means by noting each sales call in the study was with “senior-level decision-makers for technology” and “had a pain point and a timeframe for addressing it.”

Among the findings was this nugget: “85% of sales reps asked the prospects to describe their role in the company, something they should have figured out before the meeting.”

Correlation is not causation, but it is a compelling percentage. It’s a mistake that’s happening early in the sales and may well set the tone from outset.

“Job One is pre-call research,” according to the study. “Get answers to obvious questions like the prospect’s role in the organization,” so you don’t waste time “on questions you could easily have answered yourself.

Read more: B2B Sales Study: Why Didn't They Close?

 

2. Study underscores challenges in lead scoring

Openprise conducted what it calls its “Reality Check survey” which polled 270 B2B professionals across sales and marketing in the U.S.

Just one-third (35%) of respondents had “complete confidence” in their business’ “ability to score leads accurately,” the survey found. Further, “even less (32%) said they were very confident in their organization's account scoring strategies.”

Respondents said their organizations were “struggling” with obtaining widespread adoption of lead scoring programs (31%), obtaining firmographic data (30%) and incorporating buying intent signals (28%), among other issues.

Those struggles are further compounded by a range of challenges such as leads that are missing key data fields (36%), duplicate contacts (28%) and improper territory assignments (28%).

These concerns contribute to a vexing problem that affects sales and marketing equally: 58% of respondents had little confidence in their organization’s ability to properly route an inbound lead to the right salesperson. The report suggests this is contributing to the “growing discipline” of revenue operations.

Read more: The Openprise RevOps Reality Check

 

3. Sales pros spend three hours a week customizing content

The “back-and-forth approval process between sales, creatives and marketing teams” over sales enablement tools and collateral may be causing “a significant choke point in the sales process."

That’s according to Mark Hilton, the CEO of Santa Cruz Software which published a survey of 200 sales professionals with eyebrow-raising findings:

  • 66% of sales professionals say they proceed without needed marketing collateral;
  • 59% say they “lose business” without needed collateral; and
  • 54% “spend three or more hours weekly” creating their own customized materials.

This is a business case for investing in sales enablement and product marketing. First, no business wants their sales team customizing marketing materials – they want them selling. Second, 48% of sales professionals think they could sell up to 30% more with a little more help in creating and customizing the selling tools they need.

Read more: Survey: 66% of Sales Pros Proceed Without Marketing Collateral They Need

 

4. McKinsey says “remote-first model” benefits B2B sales organizations

There’s a significant debate in business about the benefits and drawbacks of remote work in comparison to the office. For B2B sales organizations the benefits of “a hybrid, remote-first model” are showing up in both revenue and customer preference, according to an analysis by McKinsey & Company.

“Hybrid sales drive up to 50 percent more revenue by enabling broader, deeper customer engagement and unlocking a more diverse talent pool than more traditional models,” according to the analysis. Further, “buyers and sellers not only intend to continue engaging remotely; two-thirds prefer it to in-person interactions at many purchasing stages.”

Why is it effective?

“Hybrid selling orchestrates the customer journey across multiple touchpoints and is, therefore, a critical capability in the omnichannel ecosystem. More than just a remote call center with salespeople working out of their home offices, hybrid selling is a flexible, scalable – and frequently more profitable – way to reach buyers.”

McKinsey has conducted research finding “more than 90 percent of enterprises plan to sustain the changes made to their sales force structure over the past year to enable hybrid.”

There are some caveats too, according to the consulting firm:

“Forty percent of customers using a new supplier prefer to buy only if they’ve met the sales rep in person. An opportunity for in-person engagement when customers prefer it is an interaction option that most sales organizations need to provide.”

In a separate but relevant opinion article for CMSWire titled, Why In-Person Sales Matters, Steven Shepard argues that while “Sales professionals have gained a new tool during the pandemic…in-person selling should not be replaced by virtual tools, especially for high-value or high-risk solutions.”

Read more: The future of B2B sales is hybrid

 

5. Sales cycles shortening in B2B software

There are a lot of surveys suggesting the sales cycle in B2B technology is growing more complex, but a study by G2 offers a unique counterfactual. The review platform surveyed 756 B2B decision-makers and found:

  • “55% of buyers need less than 3 months to make a decision on a software purchase of $20,000 or more”; and

  • “85% of all [software purchasing] decisions are made in under six months, a sign of accelerated technology adoption, shorter buying cycles, and a shift away from traditional resources.”

How is this possible? The survey suggests the procurement process may be getting easier, particularly as businesses grow more comfortable with acquiring software-as-a-service (SaaS) products:

  • “Buying is happening faster and becoming more frictionless with 53% of software purchases made on credit cards, including 48% of those for the enterprise.”

The survey also had some qualifications too.

First, the number of stakeholders involved in purchase decisions increased by 20% on average. Most respondents expect that number to increase in 2022 too.

Second, the shorter buying cycle for software means buyers are still doing a lot of their own research before contacting sales. The survey found 67% had already made a purchase decision by the time they reached out to a sales team.

Third, once a purchase is made, buyers expect an equally short time to value:

“The majority (80%) of respondents, representing organizations from small to enterprise scale, believe it's important to receive a return on investment within six months, emphasizing the importance of product success.”

From our vantage point, that last point is a great reason to have sales, customer success and support teams all on the same conversation intelligence platform and aligned on the voice of the customer. If that sounds interesting, we coincidentally have 244 customer reviews of our software on G2 currently.

Read more: 2021 Software Buyer Behavior Survey

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If you enjoyed this post, you might also like: The Renaissance of B2B Sales Engagement Earlier in the Buyer’s Journey

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