Traditionally in sales, any time away from the phone is viewed as time wasted, which is why workplace use of social media is anathema for many sales directors. However, new research from LinkedIn has found that sales teams are spending up to two hours a day on social media – and it’s the top performers that are making the most use of the technology.
In a survey of more than 1,000 UK salespeople and business development professionals, more than a fifth of respondents revealed that they spend between five and ten hours on social media each week. And, far from being the actions of a slacker, it seems that spending more time on social media is a habit held by the best salespeople, with over four-fifths of top performers relying on social selling compared to just three-fifths of salespeople overall. Perhaps even more strikingly, a whopping 98% of top sellers believe social selling to be ‘extremely critical’ in closing deals.
The research also revealed that medium-sized enterprises are leading the way with social selling: 58% of mid-range firms use sales intelligence tools in the form of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, compared to 46% of larger companies and just 43% of smaller firms. And it seems millennial women are the biggest driver of this trend: just under half of women below the age of 35 agreed that social media helps them to improve relationships with customers and prospects, compared to two-fifths of men in the same age range.
“The typical business buying process now involves more than five decision makers,” said Kevin Scott, head of sales solutions at 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.”
Better get those salespeople off the phones and onto Facebook.