51 shocking sales stats that will change the way you sell in 2021

51 shocking sales stats that will change the way you sell in 2021

Sometimes, it takes the cold, harsh truth to burst your cozy bubble. And sometimes, it takes 51 cold, hard facts.

These sales stats reflect uncomfortable truths that sales teams deal with every single day. You or your team might be losing hours of productivity—and money—due to these mistakes.

Don't treat these stats as the final law on selling. Instead, let them inspire you with new ways of solving problems.

(Find a particular statistic interesting? Click “Tweet this!” to share that statistic on Twitter.)

Sales email statistics

Email can be every salesperson’s best friend, but too often it’s used incorrectly. Some people don’t know how to cold email effectively. Other people don’t spend enough time on what’s possibly the most crucial element of an email—the subject line.  And others need to send that unresponsive prospect a breakup email.

These stats prove that email can be much more powerful if you do it right.

1. Email is 40 times more effective at getting new customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. — McKinsey [Tweet this!]

Email is an incredible medium, but it eats up time if you don’t do it right. Make use of templates and personalized messages, which you can do right from Close’s interface.

2. Email marketing has 2x higher ROI than cold calling. — MarketingSherpa [Tweet this!]

You read that right. Email is twice as powerful as cold calling, so make the most out of your emails. Close can send emails from inside the app, so no more screen-juggling.

3. 35% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line and nothing else.  — Convince and Convert [Tweet this!]

First impressions can make or break a potential sale. Tell people right away that you’ve got something worth their time by writing effective subject lines.

4. 43% of email recipients mark emails as spam based only on the email address. — Convince and Convert [Tweet this!]

Even if you’re sending a message from a legitimate email, people may still think it’s spam, so think carefully when sending a message.

5. 35% of professionals read emails on a mobile device. — Convince and Convert [Tweet this!]

Short and sweet wins when it comes to mobile. You can save short templates in Close and send them with a single click.

6. Subject lines with the recipient's name are 2.6% more likely to be opened. — MailUp [Tweet this!]

Personalized subject lines also help to create rapport.

7. Using words like "report," "learn," and "book" in email subject lines makes the reader less likely to open them.  — Adestra, 2013 [Tweet this!]

Surprisingly, not all B2B professionals want to see hard fact after hard fact. Give them something juicy and practical.

8. The best time to email prospects is between 8:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. — GetResponse [Tweet this!]

That’s a whopping seven-hour window. Take advantage of it. Nail that winning cold email, and set reminders for yourself to follow up.

Sales call statistics

The phone call has been the backbone of sales for decades, and it’s still a driving force. But it’s not easy. Not everyone is a cold calling pro who knows how to immediately capture a prospect’s attention on the phone.

Here are some revealing stats to help you optimize your calling processes.

9. 92% of all customer interactions happen on the phone. — Salesforce [Tweet this!]

Email is great, but sometimes, nothing beats talking one-on-one with your prospect. Become an expert at cold calling, and reap the benefits.

10. 75% of surveyed executives are willing to make an appointment or attend an event based on a cold call or email alone. — DiscoverOrg [Tweet this!]

Make your prospect an offer they can’t refuse, and never underestimate the power of the cold call or email. If you’re not doing outbound sales, read this post to help you decide whether you should focus on inbound or outbound.

11. 85% of prospects and customers are dissatisfied with their on-the-phone experience. — Salesforce [Tweet this!]

When you’re on the line with a prospect, you can’t take any chances. Having everything that relates to the current prospect right in front of you will make the call easier and more productive. Our sales communication platform automatically displays the entire conversation history and context around this deal on the lead page when you’re speaking with them.

12. In 2012, the average voicemail response rate was 4.8%. — InsideSales [Tweet this!]

Lesson learned: Get your leads on the phone. Address their needs in real time.

13. Sales reps spend about 15% of their time leaving voicemails. — Ringlead [Tweet this!]

That’s 15% more time you could spend making sales. Close’s streamlined interface gives you the ability to leave pre-recorded voicemail messages with the click of a button. You can hang up the call and have Close dial the next number while it leaves the voicemail for you.

14. The average sales rep makes 52 calls every day. — The Bridge Group [Tweet this!]

If you’re making 52 calls every day, they better be damn efficient. Make the most out of your calls with the best sales software. Some of our customers are making 200+ calls per rep a day (read more about how they’re doing this).

15. If you call a lead in the first 5 minutes after they've submitted a web form, they're 100x more likely to get on the phone. — Xant [Tweet this!]

Leverage this powerful fact. Track your leads’ web form activity, and you’ll be rewarded for your speed and attention.

16. 42% of sales reps feel they don't have enough information before making a call. — Lattice Engine [Tweet this!]

We like having all of the information we need right in front of us when we make a call—which is exactly what our sales software does. Whether you are the one initiating the call with just one mouse click from within Close, or your prospect is calling you on your dedicated Close number, the entire conversation history and information about the opportunity is right in front of you.

17. You are 15% more likely to connect with your prospect between 8-11am their time. — Xant

Many sales reps use time-blocking to ensure maximum productivity. If you find that 8-11am local time is when you get the best reach rates, schedule your call prospecting during these hours.

Following up statistics

If there’s one thing that too many sales reps suck at, it’s following up. It’s the same old story—you don’t want to be annoying, so you play it safe. But you need to develop a follow-up strategy that will get you more clients and help you close more deals.

Keep these stats in mind as you’re planning your own follow up strategy.

18. 92% of salespeople give up after four “no’s”, but 80% of prospects say “no” four times before they say “yes”. — Marketing Donut [Tweet this!]

Expect, accept, and embrace the no.

19. 80 percent of sales require 5 follow-up calls. — Scripted [Tweet this!]

That’s a lot of follow-up calls and a lot of potential hassle. With Close, five calls equals five clicks, and you won’t even have to schedule a reminder. Our workflows and SmartViews ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.

20. On average, it takes 8 follow-up calls to reach a prospect. — Telenet and Ovation Sales Group [Tweet this!]

That’s even more follow-up calls! (But with Close, it’s only eight clicks.)

21. 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up call. — Scripted [Tweet this!]

There’s no excuse for this. Being persistent will show your lead that you’re serious about closing a deal. Knowing how to follow up correctly will boost your chances of reaching a prospect and landing a sale.

Productivity statistics

Each year, companies kiss hours of productivity goodbye. They’re too busy entering data and logging activity. The sales team at Foursquare was experiencing this until they tried Close. It took them 16 clicks to log a call in Salesforce but only 2 clicks in Close. They’re now able to focus more on interacting with prospects and closing deals instead of wasting time with manual data entry.

And if that’s not enough to convince you to up your productivity, these stats will drive home the point.

22. Lost productivity and poorly managed leads cost companies at least $1 trillion every year. — CMO Council [Tweet this!]

We don’t think you should even lose $1 due to lost productivity. Manage your leads efficiently and stay on top of things with Close.

23. 71% of sales reps say they spend too much time on data entry. — Toutapp [Tweet this!]

Close automatically logs all your interactions with prospects and leads. Emails, phone calls are automatically tracked—so you can spend more time closing deals and less time entering data.

24. 42.5% of sales reps take 10 months or longer to become productive enough to contribute to company goals. — Accenture [Tweet this!]

We built Close to combat this stupid loss of productivity. Close is intuitive, and our customers get new reps up and running in just one week instead of taking 10 months. And using a simple onboarding hack can get new sales hires up to speed much faster.

25. 68% of companies struggle with lead generation. — SalesStaff [Tweet this!]

Most companies use cumbersome CRMs that, at best, provide clumsy organization. Close makes it easy to import leads and manage your sales pipeline.

26. High-performing companies are 2x as likely as underperforming companies to describe their sales processes as automated. — Velocify [Tweet this!]

A world-class CRM can make all the difference.

27. 50% of sales time is wasted on unproductive prospecting. — The B2B Lead [Tweet this!]

When you’re prospecting, you need to target a specific type of customer. Ask yourself who your ideal customer is. Then, generate leads based on that profile.

28. Only 33% of a sales rep's time is spent actively selling. — CSO Insights [Tweet this!]

Manage your time and leads more wisely. Using a first-rate CRM (cough, Close, cough) will allow you to track everything you need to, all in one place. Stay focused on interacting with your prospect instead of doing busywork.

29. Sales reps who use social selling are 50% more likely to meet or exceed their quota. — InsideSales [Tweet this!]

LinkedIn is especially powerful for B2B social selling. Just don’t do social sales the wrong way.

30. Only 60% of sales reps meet quota. — CSO Insights [Tweet this!]

Why? Because sales reps are working with clumsy CRMs and managing their time poorly. Don’t let it happen to you.

31. 87% of workers are not actively engaged in their jobs. — Gallup [Tweet this!]

Ask yourself, honestly: Is this your company? If so, you need to make some serious productivity improvements.

32. 65% of sales reps say they can't find content to send to prospects. — Kapost [Tweet this!]

Having a conversation history that gives you context around each lead makes it easy to identify relevant content.

Miscellaneous sales stats

We don’t leave any stone unturned. These stats cover everything from the importance of referrals to the necessity of value, and they’re as eye-opening as the past 31 have been.

33. 91% of customers say they'd give referrals, but only 11% of salespeople ask for them. — Dale Carnegie [Tweet this!]

A referral can be the gateway to the next deal. Give value to your customers, and then ask them for a referral. Why should you do this? Because ...

34. 84% of B2B decision-makers start their purchase with a referral. — Edelman Trust Barometer [Tweet this!]

So get referrals.

35. Increasing client retention by as little as 5% can boost profits by as much as 95%. — Bain & Company [Tweet this!]

How do you increase client retention? By constantly proving your worth and staying in contact with your clients. Close makes it easy to stay up-to-date with your clients.

36. Thursday is the best day to prospect. — Hubspot [Tweet this!]

Every day is also the best day to prospect.

37. 50% of websites get only 15 seconds of attention. — MarketingProfs [Tweet this!]

Does yours stand out? Get honest feedback and use it to improve your site.

38. 44% of buyers feel that only 25% of their providers help them maximize their value. — Gartner [Tweet this!]

If you’re not maximizing value for your buyers, you could be on the way out. Constantly deliver the value that your buyers deserve.

39. 74% of buyers chose the company that was the first to add value. — Corporate Visions [Tweet this!]

At the risk of beating a dead horse—give your buyers value!

40. 82% of prospects can be reached via social media. — Sergey Gusarov [Tweet this!]

41. 98% of all text messages are opened, compared to 22% of emails. - MobileMarketingWatch

42. 65% of sales professionals say they “always” put the buyer first. However, only 23% of buyers agree that sellers “always” put the buyer first. - LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2021

If you're in charge of leading a sales team, consider how you can support your team when it comes to putting your prospects and customers first. The same survey also revealed that only 39% of sales professionals say their sales org delivers the buyer first behavior of providing free and easy access to product reviews “all the time.”

43. 50% of buyers say that working remotely has made the purchasing process easier. - LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2021

The rapid rise of remote work due to the pandemic has led to a shift to remote sales, and buyers are on board.

44. 67% of sales managers say that overseeing a remote sales team is more challenging than they anticipated. - LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2021

We've been a fully remote sales team since 2014, and helped thousands of sales organizations around the world to make the shift to virtual selling. And now we've gathered all of our best, proven strategies in the free Remote Sales Team Playbook.

45. 86% of sales managers state that coping with change is more important in 2021 than it was five years ago. - LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2021

This is not just true on an individual level, but especially on a team-wide level. If you've ever been in charge of leading a team, you know how challenging it can be to lead through change. Check out Sales team management: How to inspire change from within for actionable advice for sales managers.

46. 77% of sales professionals say their sales organization plans to invest “significantly more” or “more” in sales intelligence tools.  - LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2021

47. 63% of purchases have more than four people involved—vs. just 47% in 2017 — and they can include different buyer roles—champions, influencers, decision makers, users, or ratifiers—from multiple departments. - Forrester’s 2021 B2B Buying Study

When you're closing large deals, it's important to build an army of internal champions. One of the most common mistakes we've seen sales teams make when it comes to selling to large organizations is that they assumed getting a "yes" from the decision maker is enough.

48. Closing a deal now involves 10 more buying interactions than ever before. Although the number of buying interactions has been increasing slightly every two years (e.g., from 16 to 17 between 2017 and 2019), the number of buying interactions during the pandemic jumped from 17 to 27. - Forrester’s 2021 B2B Buying Study

As a sales rep, it's your responsibility to move the conversation forward. Check out our free book The Follow-Up Formula to learn how to master the sales follow-up.

49. 85% of sellers say they lost or delayed at least one deal in the past year, because a key client stakeholder had changed jobs. - LinkedIn State of Sales Report 2021

We've been there ourselves—years before launching Close, Steli was selling his online education platform to Oracle. Our team spent nine month on a deal, a senior VP, Director, and managers at different levels were involved—and then, just a few weeks before signing the deal, the SVP left and took with him an entire flock of employees—including everyone we were in contact with. We were left empty handed and heartbroken.

We've pointed out the importance of knowing stakeholders involved in a deal years ago, and not just in the context of large enterprise deals. Our CEO, Steli Efti, years ago learned this the hard way: He worked almost a year on closing a major deal with Oracle, and when it seemed that they were close to signing... the main champion left Oracle and took most of the stakeholders involved in the sales conversation with him to another company. Any chance of closing the Oracle deal was lost. Don't underestimate the risk of organizational churn.

50. Only 12% of people actually believe a business when they say "we put the customer first". - State of Customer Service in 2020, Hubspot

We've all had experiences with companies that let us down once they got our money. In a crowded market, servicing your customers better than other vendors can be your competitive advantage.

51. The sales budget for technology is expected to grow 5% in 2021 over the actual amount spent in 2020 - Technology Alone is Not the Answer for Sales and Marketing Alignment, Gartner

The sales tech space is booming—and organizations are spending more money on it. If you're able to help sales teams make better use of technology, there's a lot of opportunity for you ahead.

If you found yourself wincing in recognition at any of the above facts, don't continue making the same mistakes. Sign-up for a free 14-day trial to experience using a powerful CRM that works for you, not against you.