Did you know:

  • Nearly 13% of all full-time U.S. jobs are sales positions? (That's 1 in 8 jobs!) [Source: SkilledUp via The Brevet Group]
  • Over one trillion dollars ($1,000,000,000) are spent annually on sales forces. [Source: Salesforce Training via The Brevet Group]

With all this money and energy going into sales, it's no surprise that there has been an equal amount of research going into improving sales processes. Managers of sales teams always have money in mind, and they want to make every salesperson on their team a lean, mean, money-making machine.

We collected research from studies published online to help managers like you optimize your sales processes for more wins and better results. If you want business to boom, follow these four proven rules for sales teams:

1. Speed Matters: Early Bird Gets the Worm

  • 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. [Source: Salesforce]

When trying to contact a newly created lead...

  • Call within the first 5 minutes. The odds of getting them on the phone drops 100x by the 30-minute mark. [Source: Lead Response Management]
  • The odds of getting ahold of someone decrease more than 10x within the 1st hour. [Source: Lead Response Management]

When trying to qualify a newly created lead...

  • Following up with a web lead within 5 minutes of their sign up makes them 9x more likely to convert [Source: InsideSales.com via Jake Atwood]
  • The odds of success if called in the first 5 minutes vs. the next 30 minutes drops 21x. [Source: Lead Response Management]
  • The odds of success on the first call decreases more than 6x in the 1st hour. [Source: Lead Response Management]
  • U.S. salespeople that reached out to leads within 1 hour are 7x more likely to qualify than those who wait 1 to 2 hours. [Source: Harvard Business Review]
  • U.S. salespeople who reached out to leads within 1 hour are 60x more likely to qualify than those who wait 24+ hours. [Source: Harvard Business Review]

2. Follow-Up & Persistence

  • A phone call followed by an email has proven to be the most effective sales process. [Source: Salesforce]

When it comes to cold calls...

  • Average number of cold calls it took to reach a prospect in 2007: 3-4 cold calls [Source: TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group via Jake Atwood]
  • Average number of cold calls it takes to reach a prospect today: 8 cold calls [Source: TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group via Jake Atwood]

When it comes to follow-ups...

  • After the first meeting, 80% of sales require at least 5 follow-up calls to convert. [Source: The Marketing Donut via Jake Atwood]
  • Despite that, 44% of salespeople give up after just 1 follow-up call. [Source: The Marketing Donut via Jake Atwood]

Finding leads through networking...

  • 72% of world-class sales teams use social media to identify new business opportunities. [Source: MHI Global]
  • 78% of salespeople use social media to outsell their peers. [Source: Forbes via The Brevet Group]
  • 91% of customers say they’d give referrals, but only 11% of salespeople ask for them. [Source: Dale Carnegie via The Brevet Group]
  • Salespeople who actively sell by referral earn 4 to 5 times more than those who don’t. [Source: Top Sales World via The Brevet Group]

3. Success Breeds More Success

Improve sales processes by aligning selling strategies...

  • 40% of sales teams don't have a playbook. [Source: Salesforce]
  • Companies with a playbook are 33% more likely to be high performers. [Source: Salesforce]
  • 96% of world-class sales teams know why their top performers are successful. But only 46% of average sales teams can say the same. [Source: MHI Global]

Improve conversion rates using success stories...

  • 89% of world-class sales teams review the positive results of their solution (i.e. case studies) with strategic accounts. But only 33% of average sales teams do the same. [Source: MHI Global]

4. Good Management Makes a Big Difference

  • 55% of the people making their living in sales don’t have the right skills to be successful. [Source: Caliper Corp via The Brevet Group]
  • 93% of world-class sales organizations say their management team is highly effective in helping advance sales opportunities. But only 47% of average sales organizations say the same. [Source: MHI Global]
  • 96% of world-class sales teams say their management team is held highly accountable for the teams' continuous improvement. But only 43% of average sales teams say the same. [Source: MHI Global]

What other studies have helped your sales team?

Are we missing important research statistics that will help sales organizations improve the way they work? Let us know in the comments below, and include links to the studies you've read!

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