Recent research found that
"70% of CEOs report flat or declining trends in deal size, deal velocity, and seller productivity.
Market trends have shifted towards more conservative buying behaviors and consensus-buying situations.
The data suggests that the majority of sellers and sales managers are ill-prepared to perform well in these market conditions.
After analyzing the seller behaviors that still managed to find success in the new market environment, we found that the key difference lies in their sales approach.
Successful sellers are more commercial empathy, which effectively helps them drive shorter deal cycles and increase deal sizes. This approach has fared noticeably better than the more popular method of feeding the buyer with a lot of information and pushing to quickly close a deal."
We have certainly seen this to be the case and in Matt Dixon and Ted McKenna's book "the Jolt effect" they state that sales people need to have a personal brand as table stakes to be successful in sales today.
It's clear buyers today hate deal cadences and if they don't block you, they annoy buyers and will extend the deal cycle.
So as we enter a downturn or even a recession what can salespeople do to be successful?
Let's look at the data, cold calling vs our social selling benchmark
Here at DLA Ignite, we are always wanting to push forward the boundaries of sales, so we decided to put cold calling head to head with the DLA Ignite methodology for social selling and create a benchmark (and business case) for our version of social selling.
So we took a team of "cold callers" cross trained them in our methodology for social selling and here are the results.
Don't believe me? Please check the team out on social and ask them about the results!
The results with cold calling
When the team were cold calling, that is, before we trained them on social selling. I'm not sure what results you get with cold calling but they did whatever they could in terms of warming up the calls with emails or webinars, etc. And the results, they got about 2 calls a week.
As with any cold call, your job is to take the call to a next action, which might be a demo, discovery call and they averaged 0.3 of these calls.
Anyway, you will have your own figures for cold calling in your business and you will know what they are.
The results for social selling
What is social selling?
The DLA Ignite definition of social selling is
"Using your presence and behaviour on social media, to build influence make connections, grow relationships and trust. Which leads to conversation and commercial interaction".
(Please note these figures are for the DLA Ignite methodology, we cannot speak for other suppliers, please check with them, before signing any contracts.)
I need to say, before I get any comments.
There is no spam and no automation in the DLA Ignite social selling methodology!
The DLA Ignite social selling methodology does not use connect and pitch!
The DLA Ignite social selling methodology does NOT use inmails, which are spam.
In fact the program is now back and certified by the Institute of sales professionals (ISP), the only such methodology backed by a sales professional body.
Let's get onto those results for DLA Ignite methodology of social selling
The team are getting a 9% response (on average) to social selling cold outreach, so for every 100 people they ask for a call, 9 say "yes".
This figure is an average, so we think somebody with intermediate skills or an expert should be getting a higher figure should be getting a larger response. In fact, our benchmark for an expert is 13%, but I want to keep figures realistic and conservative.
As we mentioned above, with every "call" based on cold outreach, there has to be some sort of next action. For your own company, you will know what your next action is, it will be a demo, a discovery call or something.
We have found that with DLA Ignite social selling methodology 9% of the people (on average) that agreed to a call, 33.6% are converting to a next action.
This is exponential growth when compared to cold calling.
Each salesperson is averaging 10 calls / meetings per week.
Just think if you scaled that across your sales organization!
(The most successful SDR complains he has got too many meetings, which think is a great problem to have!)
Just think about that being rolled out across your sales team(s).
It's time to work smarter not harder.
Let's look at this with a business case
Let's take a sales team of 10.
We know that the average person can grow their network by 3,000 people a year. Let's assume of these 50% are going to buy, this gives you a network growth of 1,500 per person per year.
If you have 10 salespeople that gives you a total addressable market (TAM) of 15,000 new people to have conversations with.
With our, Institute of sales professionals (ISP) backed, DLA Ignite social selling methodology, (note: we cannot vouch for anybody else) based on our measured benchmark, you should be able to get, on average, meetings with 9% of this TAM of 15,000. This means your sales team can have 1350 new conversations every year.
(As we know, conversations create sales.)
As we discussed above, with any cold outreach the objective is to get a next action and using our social selling methodology and using our measured benchmark we can get 33.6% of 9% of our TAM to a next action, which is 454.
Let assume you win 1 in 3, that's 151 new sales a year using social selling, average order value (AOV) $100,000, that's
$15,120,000 = $15 million
That's an additional $15 million that you are missing by cold calling rather than social selling.
or $1,26 million you miss every month you delay moving from cold calling to social selling.
Of course, if you have more than 10 sales people, you can scale the figures up.
Want to know more about social selling, check out my new book
In this brand new edition, I have updated all the text, I have also got 15 practitioners, so people who are doing this already to explain how they are get (practical) business benefit. From the CEO that has been running a digital business for over 18 months to sales leaders who use social selling every day.
There isn’t a CEO out there that hasn’t noticed the overall decline in commercial productivity in recent quarters. SBI’s Q1 2023 CEO Survey found that up to 70% of CEOs report flat and declining trends in deal size, deal velocity, and seller productivity. Early reads on our Q3 data show no improvement. This isn’t just because of macroeconomic conditions—many companies out there have displayed highly conservative buying behaviors for many years now, with more requirements for higher level consensus than before. While this may have intensified across the past 12 months or so, it's an intensification of longer-term trends.