With the turbulent economic climate, the pandemic in years past, and ongoing technology innovation, the dynamics of your buyers’ journeys have significantly shifted. Today’s B2B buyer is more empowered and informed than ever before, and there are more of them at the wheel of corporate decision-making. Thankfully, businesses are no longer confined to traditional sales methods.
Sales teams must leverage data-driven strategies to successfully keep pace with modern changes and the increase in decision-makers in the buying process. But to keep up, you need up-to-date knowledge of B2B sales statistics. To help you do just that, we’ve gathered 27 sales statistics from recent years. Let’s dive in!
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Today’s look at B2B sales statistics starts with B2B sales trends in 2023. Here, we’ll paint a picture of the evolving landscape driven by innovation and changing customer expectations.
70% of B2B organizations have an AI in sales strategy.
According to Gitnux’s recent sales data, AI has spread its reach into B2B sales strategy, with a significant majority of organizations claiming to “have” it in their current strategy. However, an underwhelming 21% of organizations have implemented it.
Takeaway: AI is expected to be pivotal in sales strategies from 2023 onward. If you or your team have yet to make the leap into AI territory, it’s not too late. Implementing AI in your strategy today would still give you a competitive advantage over the 79% of organizations that have yet to implement it.
74% of people report success when using custom-recorded videos.
According to Vidyard’s State of Virtual Selling Report, 74% percent of studied job roles reported success when using custom-recorded videos in their demo process, onboarding process, upselling efforts, and when offering renewals.
Takeaway: Video content will continue to play a pivotal role in future B2B sales strategies. In addition, content should be tailored to your well-developed buyer persona, as personalization is a key value for modern B2B buyers.
Short video content contributed to 64% of scheduled prospect meetings.
A study published by B2B Decision Labs created four distinct user groups to understand the effect of content length on sales opportunities. The study found that the prospect group that received a short video first, followed by a short demographic, resulted in 64% of the overall prospect meetings scheduled, even though this group responded less to outreach than any other group.
Takeaway: This study emphasizes the importance of following the appropriate KPIs. While an increase in email responses and answered cold calls may be an improvement, the goal for many companies is to increase deals or sales. In this case, short content, especially short video content, led to an increase in sales opportunities.
Source: B2B Decision Labs
B2B eCommerce will account for 17% of all B2B sales by 2023.
A Forrester report claims, “U.S. B2B eCommerce will reach $1.8 trillion and account for 17% of all B2B sales in the US by 2023.” Additionally, Forrester forecasts a compound annual growth rate of 10% for the same B2B eCommerce space over the next five years.
Takeaway: This report indicates that B2B buyers and sellers will increasingly turn to the internet for B2B purchases. As B2B buyers become increasingly comfortable with online purchases, digital content, and marketing will play increasingly important roles in B2B sales strategies.
49% of marketers struggle with timing in campaigns.
Data from the 2022 Lead Nurturing & Acceleration Benchmark Survey Report claims that 49% of marketers struggle to find the right timing in their campaign workflows. Furthermore, 48% of marketers struggle to develop targeted content for each buyer stage.
Takeaway: These statistics emphasize the importance of personalized and persistent sales strategies while demonstrating that data-driven strategy isn’t easy. Developing and distributing detailed buyer personas, automation tools, and regularly testing strategies are all methods you can try to help your company find the right timing and more easily create personalized content.
Source: Demand Gen
85% of B2B organizations expect hybrid reps to become the most common sales role.
According to McKinsey and Company, a management consulting firm, hybrid sales reps engage with customers remotely more than in person. The firm reports that an overwhelming majority of B2B companies expect hybrid reps to become the most common sales role over the next three years, with a staggering 64% of B2B companies planning to increase their number of hybrid reps in the next six months.
Takeaway: B2B eCommerce and digital selling represent the future. With most B2B companies poised to jump on this B2B sales trend, prioritizing hybrid sales and digital communication methods will help you remain competitive.
Source: McKinsey and Company
89% of buyers are more likely to make a purchase when they feel understood by sellers.
According to a recent Salesforce report, 89% of buyers are more likely to buy from salespeople who understand their mission and goals. Additionally, 71% of B2B buyers reported that most sales interactions felt transactional.
Takeaway: The pandemic profoundly changed B2B sales dynamics. One such way sales have changed is sales are more often done asynchronously and digitally. These figures from Salesforce indicate that buyers require an enhanced understanding and demonstration of their own needs from sellers. Fortunately for you, today’s B2B buyers don’t feel understood. This means your focus should be on personalized and empathetic sales strategies.
The best lead nurturing initiatives include sales emails (50%), sales calls (49%), videos (45%), email newsletters (44%), and customer content (40%).
As demonstrated in the 2022 Lead Nurturing & Acceleration Benchmark Survey Report, B2B companies found the highest success in these five lead nurturing initiatives. In the bottom half of initiatives were in-person meetings (33%), direct mail (32%), thought leadership articles (27%), blog posts (26%), and white papers (25%).
Takeaway: The common thread in the statistics featured in this article is highly personalized digital content. Sales emails, custom videos, email newsletters, and customer content like case studies are excellent methods that allow you to deliver personalized information with your leads in a digital form, further emphasizing the importance of this command B2B sales trend in 2023.
Source: Demand Gen
Sales trainees forget between 84% and 90% of their training within 90 days.
Additionally, Ardent reported that approximately 30% of this information loss occurred within the first 24 hours following the training.
Takeaway: These sobering statistics highlight the importance of comprehensive and engaging onboarding and training. Useful education theories, like the transformative learning theory for adult learning, can help you design a learning path that educates and reinforces that education over time so you and your sales team experience less information loss.
Table: Summary of key trends and figures
|B2B Sales Trends||Takeaways|
|1. 70% of B2B organizations have an AI in sales strategy.||Implementing AI in your B2B sales strategy can still give you a competitive advantage in 2023.|
|2. 74% of people report success when using custom-recorded videos.||Video content is critical in B2B sales and works best when highly personalized to your buyers.|
|3. Short video content contributed to 64% of scheduled prospect meetings.||Selecting the wrong KPIs for measuring success can lead to poor strategy development.|
|4. B2B eCommerce will account for 17% of all B2B sales by 2023.||B2B eCommerce is here to stay. As a result, digital content and marketing will play increasingly important roles in the future.|
|5. 49% of marketers struggle with timing in campaigns.||Finding the right workflow timing and creating personalized content is challenging for most. Invest in tools and education to alleviate these difficulties.|
|6. 85% of B2B organizations expect hybrid reps to become the most common sales role.||Hybrid sales reps and eCommerce are critical elements in remaining competitive from 2023 forward.|
|7. Improved: 89% of buyers are more likely to make a purchase when they feel understood by sellers.||B2B buyers want to feel seen and heard. By communicating your understanding of their goals, you’re poised to seal a deal.|
|8. The best lead nurturing initiatives include sales emails (50%), sales calls (49%), videos (45%), email newsletters (44%), and customer content (40%).||Digital content forms that can be heavily personalized perform better than content that can’t, physical and in-person outreach.|
|9. Sales trainees forget between 84% and 90% of their training within 90 days.||Comprehensive training and onboarding can help sales trainees retain more of their learning.|
Let’s talk numbers in the world of cold calling. In this next section, we’ll share key B2B cold calling statistics and uncover valuable insights into the effectiveness and evolution of this traditional sales strategy.
75% of B2B buyers use social media content in their decision process.
LinkedIn reports that most B2B buyers conduct their decision-making research on social media. Further, the platform also found that using social media to find and leverage common connections with prospects leads to a 70% increase in appointment bookings.
Takeaway: LinkedIn’s findings emphasize the role of social media in modern marketing and sales strategies. By leveraging social media to increase outreach personalization, sales staff can improve connection and cold call success, which may ultimately lead to increased sales opportunities.
60% of customers reject sales advances before saying yes.
An Invesp infographic indicates that 60% of customers say no four times before saying yes. They also found that 48% of salespeople don’t make any follow-up attempts, and 44% give up after only one follow-up.
Takeaway: B2B cold calling statistics are rarely inspirational. With a low success rate, cold calls can feel exhaustive and pointless. However, these figures indicate that most people give up long before they’re ever statistically likely to see positive results. Implement a sales strategy that includes many contact attempts to improve your cold calling success rate.
Cold calling conversion rates are only 2%.
Hubspot reports that a minuscule 2% of cold calls are successful. But despite low conversion rates, they found that cold calling is still a regular part of outreach strategies, and when done correctly, it can prove to be an effective sales method.
Takeaway: Considering that Invesp found almost half of salespeople give up after only one follow-up attempt, it’s unsurprising that overall conversion rates for cold calling are low. Together, these statistics indicate that a persistent outreach strategy will likely lead to more sales success.
Asking “How have you been?” can increase your success rate by 6.6 times.
Gong analyzed over 90,000 cold call statistics and found that asking “How have you been?” outperformed all studied opening lines. Gong classifies this phrase as a “pattern interrupt.” Pattern interrupts are functions of speech that break typical habits and force others to take on a new way of thinking.
Takeaway: Asking a prospect, “How have you been?” may work exceptionally well because it’s a pattern interrupt, but it’s also an effective way to personalize your call. Considering many prospects feel that sales calls are transactional, this unique phrase is supercharged for success. Try adding it to your B2B cold calling scripts for increased success.
Successful cold calls initiate 36% of B2B sales in 2023
Kacper Rafalski, Netguru’s Demand Generation Team Leader, reports that 36% of B2B sales are initiated from successful cold calls, representing a 5% increase from 2022. The data was aggregated from software houses across Europe.
Takeaway: Despite low figures for cold calls across the industry, Rafalski credits these positive statistics to the implementation of modern technologies. Such technology helps marketers make cold calls more effective and more personalized. This supports the need for enhanced sales strategies and further implementation of new marketing technology, like AI.
Salespeople average 18+ cold calls before reaching a prospect.
LinkedIn also found that cold calling success rates are approximately 2%. This figure aligns closely with the fact that reaching a single prospect often takes 18 or more calls. With both of these stats in mind, it’s also unsurprising that 63% of salespeople report that cold calling is the worst part of their job.
Takeaway: Cold calling is not fun, there’s no getting around it. But, despite what some headlines may report, cold calling isn’t dead, and many salespeople still claim it has an enduring spot in their sales strategy. Use these statistics to set realistic goals and expectations for yourself, and you may find that cold calling is less draining.
Cold calls between 3pm and 5pm see a pickup rate of around 6%.
A study conducted by Revenue.io found that stakeholders are most likely to answer cold calls between 3 pm and 5 pm. The lowest pickup rates occur before 9 am and after 6 pm, but a substantial dip in rates during midday indicates it’s better to avoid calling during lunch hours.
Takeaway: These stats, while limited to the Revenue.io platform, indicate that the time of day can profoundly affect your cold calling success. Research the most effective times for your industry and niche, and try working around the most opportune times for the most success.
56% of customers prefer phone calls when communicating with companies.
A report by Salesforce found that 56% of customers prefer to communicate by phone when communicating with companies. Only two communication methods outranked the phone; they were email (64%) and in-person (59%). It’s also worth noting that at the time of the study, Baby Boomers were more likely to list phone calls as their preferred method than Millennials and Gen Zers.
Takeaway: Notably, the data from this report were from a survey conducted in April 2019. These figures have likely changed since the pandemic. However, with the increased demand for in-person alternatives, there’s a need for digital outreach, cold calls included. Depending on who your target audience is and what you know about each specific prospect, phone calls may be one of their top preferred methods for communication. These figures support the value in accurate and current data on your prospects.
4th and 5th calls yield 25% of B2B sales opportunities.
A report published by B2B Decision Labs studied four distinct sales cadences, each with 14 points of contact over 31 days. Of the 14 points of contact, six efforts included phone calls. The fourth and fifth call attempts resulted in a combined total of 25% of sales opportunities.
Takeaway: These findings are consistent with industry success rates for cold calling. Because this study focused on call outreach as only a portion of the overall outreach strategy, the results emphasize the need for a comprehensive, long-term sales strategy.
“Taken together, these results further underscore the importance of a multi-channel approach. Your sellers can’t just send a few emails and call it quits. They need to contact prospects on multiple platforms over an extended period of time and use the right content at the right time to motivate prospects to learn more about your solution.”
Source: B2B Decision Labs
Table: Summary of key cold calling statistics
|B2B Cold Calling Statistics||Takeaways|
|1. 75% of B2B buyers use social media content in their decision process.||Salespeople should leverage social media to connect with and create personalized outreach for prospects.|
|2. 60% of customers reject sales advances before saying yes.||Salespeople should contact prospects by phone at least five times before giving up on them.|
|3. Cold calling conversion rates are only 2%.||Cold calling conversion rates are low, but persistence and dedication are essential in successful cold calling strategies.|
|4. Asking “How have you been?” can increase your success rate by 6.6 times.||Asking prospects how they’ve been can interrupt thought patterns and pave the way for a more personal sales call.|
|5. Successful cold calls initiate 36% of B2B sales in 2023||Modern technology has the power to improve your sales strategy and your cold calling efforts.|
|6. Salespeople average 18+ cold calls before reaching a prospect.||Begin your cold calling strategy by setting realistic expectations, ultimately setting you up for less disappointment and helping you endure cold calls.|
|7. Cold calls between 3pm and 5pm see a pickup rate of around 6%.||Avoid making sales calls during lunchtime, before, or after business hours.|
|8. 56% of customers prefer phone calls when communicating with companies.||Regardless of age, phone calls are likely a preferred outreach method for your prospect. Still, consider popular alternatives, like email, when developing a B2B sales strategy.|
|9. 4th and 5th calls yield 25% of B2B sales opportunities.||Sales require exact timing, multiple outreach channels, and multiple contact attempts over a long period of time.|
Meet the modern B2B buyer. A lot has changed in recent years, so in this section, you’ll learn all about modern buyers’ changing behaviors and preferences, informed by the latest market trends and B2B buyer statistics.
45% of buyer time is spent researching independently.
The Gartner B2B Buying Journey report indicates that 27% of a B2B buyer’s time is spent researching independently online, 18% is spent researching independently offline, and only 17% is spent meeting with potential suppliers. Additionally, Gartner notes a shift in generational buyer trends, suggesting that millennial buyers are twice as skeptical of sales reps as baby boomers.
Takeaway: In their words, “You have to shift your thinking. The small number of organizations that have intentionally merged their sales and marketing capabilities have embraced a more seamless digital go-to-market model…These organizations are poised to accelerate sales results over organizations hesitant to embrace a digital-first sales model.”
55% of B2B buyers rely more on content.
In the Content Preferences Survey Report, Demand Gen found that 55% of buyers now rely more on content for research and to guide their purchasing decisions than they did in 2021. Furthermore, 62% of B2B buyers claimed they engaged with three to seven pieces of content before connecting with a sales rep.
Takeaway: B2B buyers’ increased reliance on content underscores the importance of a strategic, high-quality content strategy. To excel in a soon-to-be crowded digital B2B market, companies must create relevant, high-value, data-driven, and personalized content that meets the buyer’s needs. Consumer need for content will only continue to grow.
Source: Demand Gen
67% of B2B buyers have engaged with a webinar in the past 12 months.
Following Demand Gen’s discovery of a growing demand for content, they inquired about the kind of content B2B buyers consume. Just over two-thirds of buyers reported engaging with webinars in recent months, up from their 2021 report. B2B buyers are also willing to spend more time in webinars than other content forms; 53% claimed they would spend 30 to 60 minutes in a webinar compared to only five to 30 minutes for all other content forms.
Takeaway: This trend suggests it’s time to invest in your content strategy and webinars. Paired with other statistics that indicate buyers spend little time with in-person, one-on-one reps, webinars may fill the gap in giving prospects face time with company reps while delivering highly personalized and valuable content.
Source: Demand Gen
44% of customers claim companies need new ways to engage.
According to Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report, 44% of customers believe companies need to add channels for connection. Additionally, 40% “of customers won’t do business with a company if they can’t use their preferred channel.” Unsurprisingly, Millennials and Gen Zers demonstrate the most diversity in their preferred channels, listing 51% more channels on average than Baby Boomers.
Takeaway: As Millennials and Gen Zers continue to take on stakeholder roles in B2B companies, a sales strategy that utilizes multiple connection channels is essential. The Salesforce report also stated that mobile apps are a favorite in younger generations, while email is a common favorite for all generations. User your buyer statistics and demographics to inform your sales strategy for a personalized and accessible sales journey.
Two-thirds of B2B buyers prefer remote and digital interaction.
Data from McKinsey and Company reveals that two out of every three B2B buyers “prefer remote human interactions or digital self-service.” They also report that 41% of leaders claim e-commerce is their company’s most effective sales channel, above in-person and video channels.
Takeaway: Although digital connections are the trend of the future, person-to-person interactions remain significant. A flexible and comprehensive strategy will incorporate both, appealing to a changing and increasingly diverse B2B buyer market.
Source: McKinsey and Company
40% of B2B buyers prefer mobile-optimized content.
As Demand Gen’s Content Preferences Survey report indicates, B2B buyers want content they can consume on their phones and tablets. Unsurprisingly, 39% also said they want more short-form content.
Takeaway: This change in desire for mobile-friendly content is consistent with the changing B2B buyer demographic. As more millennials take on buying-decision roles, the need for mobile-accessible content will become increasingly crucial for sales teams to accommodate.
This finding also pairs well with Decision Lab’s finding that short videos and infographics led to more sales opportunities than their other tested content.
Source: Demand Gen
71% of B2B buyers look at reviews during consideration.
Almost three-quarters of buyers use reviews in the consideration stage of the buyer journey. A reported 47% do so in the awareness stage and 42% in the decision stage. Furthermore, 92% of respondents in this G2 study said they are more likely to purchase a product or service if published trustworthy reviews are available to read.
Takeaway: Today’s B2B buyers are more skeptical of sales reps than ever before. G2’s report demonstrates this trend. However, it also reveals that only one in five companies is considering adding reviews to their marketing strategy, representing a significant opportunity gap. Companies prioritizing accumulating and showcasing genuine customer reviews can establish trust and credibility, gaining a substantial advantage in today’s (and tomorrow’s) B2B marketplace.
90% of B2B buyers don’t follow a linear sales funnel path.
LinkedIn reports that account-based marketing strategies allow little to no room for error in B2B campaigns. This is followed by that data that B2B buyers follow complex, nonlinear paths, making purchasing decisions a tangled ordeal sales teams must uncover to lead buyers down their own funnel successfully.
Takeaway: Sales aren’t easy. With the added complexity of more stakeholders, additional channels for communication, and changing economic conditions, it’s more important than ever to have a comprehensive understanding of your buyers.
The average number of stakeholders in a B2B purchase has more than doubled in the last 10 years.
According to Gartner, the average number of stakeholders in the B2B purchase was five. Today, there are more than 11 stakeholders, with some purchases having almost 20 stakeholders. Gartner suggests these findings point to the increasing complexity in B2B purchases, an idea supported by the nonlinear buying paths they visualize in their report.
Takeaway: Coupled with the findings from LinkedIn, this supports the complexity of the B2B buying process in 2023. While salespeople may have only one prospect or contact point, they’ll likely need to consider the needs of five to 20 roles in the prospect’s organization. This is where customer relationship management tools can help you organize client info and create a central location for essential data.
Table: Summary of key B2B buyer statistics
|B2B Buyer Statistics||Takeaways|
|1. 45% of buyer time is spent researching independently.||The age of the sales rep isn’t dead, but it has changed. Merging sales and marketing efforts, when appropriate, will help your sales efforts in an age where sales reps are less trusted than they once were.|
|2. 55% of B2B buyers rely more on content.||The need for content will continue to grow. High-value, data-driven, personalized content will excel.|
|3. 67% of B2B buyers have engaged with a webinar in the past 12 months.||Prospects are more likely to engage with webinars, and for longer, than other content forms.|
|4. 44% of customers claim companies need new ways to engage.||Adding multiple channels for connection to your sales strategy is necessary for a competitive strategy in 2023 and beyond.|
|5. Two-thirds of B2B buyers prefer remote and digital interaction.||Asynchronous, self-serve, and remote sales methods will dominate the new age of B2B sales.|
|6. 40% of B2B buyers prefer mobile-optimized content.||Short-form, mobile-friendly content will become more important as Millennials and Gen Zers take on more decision-making roles.|
|7. 71% of B2B buyers look at reviews during consideration.||Social sharing is critical in a comprehensive B2B sales strategy. Reviews and testimonials aren’t just for B2C companies anymore.|
|8. 90% of B2B buyers don’t follow a linear sales funnel path.||The buyer journey is becoming more complex. Today, buyers can be expected to revisit several stages in a buyer’s journey before making a purchasing decision.|
|9. The average number of stakeholders in a B2B purchase has more than doubled in the last 10 years.||The buyer journey is also becoming more crowded, with more and more stakeholders playing a role in corporate decision-making.|
This deep dive into 2023 B2B sales trends emphasizes the growing importance of integrating technology, like AI and video content, into sales strategies. With the rise of B2B eCommerce, personalized and digital content are more critical than ever. Meanwhile, understanding buyer needs and developing hybrid sales roles stand out as key areas for future focus. Lastly, a spotlight has been cast on the pressing need to reinvent training methods. To keep up with the rapidly evolving landscape, businesses must stay informed of new sales statistics and be ready to adapt their strategies accordingly.
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Why is it important to keep up with B2B sales statistics?
Keeping up with B2B sales statistics allows you to understand current market trends, assess your own performance against industry benchmarks, and generate and refine data-driven strategies that boost your company’s sales and marketing efforts.
How can B2B cold calling statistics help improve my sales strategy?
B2B cold calling statistics can be an effective tool to help boost your sales. They give you critical insight into how your efforts compare to industry averages, helping you identify strengths and weaknesses in your existing strategy. As a result, you’ll be able to better set goals according to industry standards and past performance and allocate resources based on return on investment.
What common mistakes should I avoid when interpreting sales statistics?
Interpreting sales statistics can be a powerful tool for shaping and boosting your sales. However, you should avoid common mistakes that could lead to inaccurate conclusions or misguided strategies that will ultimately derail your sales efforts. Here are the key pitfalls to watch out for:
- Using small samples can produce emotionally significant lessons, but they’re unlikely to yield statistically significant results. In other words, a sales statistic coming from a study of 75 B2B businesses in the U.S. is unlikely to uncover meaningful results that apply to the 3 million plus B2B businesses in the U.S. overall.
- Confusing correlation with causation can lead individuals to draw inaccurate conclusions about the relationships between different variables. For example, as ice cream sales increase, so do violent crimes. Despite the positive correlation between these two variables, the causal variable is actually increased temperature in the summer months.
- Choosing the wrong KPIs or misunderstanding your KPIs, to begin with, can lead to inaccurate conclusions about your performance and misguide decision-making in future strategy. For example, focusing on the number of deals closed may be inefficient if churn rates are high or the majority of your deals are low value.
- Using unclear goals can lead people to choose the incorrect statistics, metrics, and KPIs to focus on. This means you should isolate and clearly define your goals before you even set out to gather data, let alone analyze it.
- Picking the wrong sales analysis method. You can use many sales analysis methods to analyze sales statistics and data. Your clearly defined goals should inform which analysis you choose.
- Interpreting sales statistics without proper context can result in a skewed perception of your sales performance. Contextual factors like market conditions, industry trends, and company-specific variables play a huge role in interpreting sales stats appropriately. For example, a decrease in sales may not indicate poor performance by your sales staff when you consider an overall decline in the market.
- Using unverified and untrustworthy sources can jeopardize your entire analysis.You should only use statistics from reputable and verified sources when interpreting statistics. Incorrect or misleading information can lead to wrong conclusions and poor strategy planning.