Statistics • By: Ana Gajić
There have been signs of a shift in the sales industry for a while now. While it's not immediately clear if this is just a cosmetic change or something more fundamental, our comprehensive sales statistics will help you figure it out. We'll cover aspects critical to selling products and services across various industries and channels and explore the latest trends in ecommerce. The aim is to enable business owners and sales executives to examine how well they are keeping up with the ongoing transformation.
Sales Statistics (Editor's Choice)
77% of sales leaders say their digital transformation has accelerated since 2019.
41% of prospectors don't target the right audience.
88% of sales reps emphasize the importance of anticipating customer needs.
Lack of prospecting motivation is the biggest challenge for 66% of sellers.
40% of sales professionals didn't achieve their revenue goals in 2020.
Close rates drop if the words “discount” or “contract” are used in a sales call.
63% of sales leaders believe ecommerce allows their teams to focus on more important aspects of the job.
70% of sales leaders believe revenue growth comes from existing customers.
General Sales Stats
1. The biggest changes in sales in 2020 were strategy planning, performance analysis, and strategy coordination.
2020 marked one of the most challenging periods in modern history, showing just how vital a strategic approach in sales could be. Strategy planning was on top of the list of changes for 56% of sales agents, followed by performance analysis, and strategy coordination with 55%.
(State of Sales Report)
2. Nearly 80% of sales leaders say their digital transformation has accelerated since 2019.
Technological advances affect the way consumers perceive brands and the way they operate. Businesses must adapt and follow the latest trends to keep pace with their expectations. Facts about sales show that 77% of sales professionals admit the digital impact has been much higher since 2019.
(State of Sales Report)
3. Top-performing salespeople achieve 125% or more of their revenue goals.
Sales leaders who outperform their counterparts adapt to rapid changes and promptly respond to their customers' needs. The result is achieving 125% or more of their set revenue goals by doing some things differently. They reported using technology more, being very active on LinkedIn, using CRM data, spending more time training, and relying on data more often.
(LinkedIn 2020 Report)
4. The market size of the US direct selling industry in 2020 was $67.5 billion.
One of the most prominent outside sales segments, door-to-door selling, was written off in 2011 and named one of the top 10 dead or dying career paths. Surprisingly, door-to-door sales statistics show the sector has grown since, with a $7.7 billion increase in value between 2009 and 2017. The direct selling industry was estimated at $67.5 billion in 2020.
5. The median salary for US sales representatives is over $55k.
The annual salary for sales representatives in the US greatly depends on education, experience, and other relevant skills. The lowest average base salary for sales professionals is around $40k and can go over $70k for upper-level jobs.
6. Inside sales hires are growing at a 15% annual rate.
As technology continues to impact sales, the number of field agents has been decreasing over the past decade. On the other hand, inside sales statistics point to a 15% annual growth rate for new hires. Inside sales are proven to be a cost-effective resource, and nowadays, even field agents are spending a portion of their selling times remotely.
7. More than 40% of prospectors don't target the right audience.
One of the biggest mistakes in sales is pursuing the wrong target audience. Losing time with people who won't make a purchase is a significant issue for 41% of prospectors. While a 100% fit is nearly impossible for any product category, doing some background work before going after prospects can help improve sales.
8. Nearly 90% of sales reps emphasize the importance of anticipating customers' needs.
The global pandemic's unstable economic conditions have also transformed the way of understanding customer needs. Being proactive seems to be the top priority in this climate. Sales agent stats show 88% of reps use additional data to accommodate individual customers' needs. Some of those aspects are keeping track of communication and purchase history, even competitor insights.
(State of Sales Report)
9. It takes an average of 8 interactions to secure a meeting with a prospect.
Experienced sellers know that it takes more than one interaction to secure an initial meeting. You need to use various channels and be persistent, as your competitors target prospects. Sales statistics point to an average of 8 interactions for getting the attention and securing a meeting. A successful campaign should include a combination of email, social media, phone, direct mail, etc. channels.
10. Customer satisfaction is the most common way to measure sales performance.
The US research on measuring salespeople's performance shows the most popular metric, for 43% of respondents, is customer satisfaction. The second choice also supports the importance of a user-centric approach for most salespeople, customer retention with 40%. Sales stats also reveal that meeting quotas remains crucial, with 37% for both teams and individual quotas met.
(LinkedIn 2020 Report)
11. Finding high-quality leads is more important than increasing the overall number of leads.
The rule of quality over quantity applies to most salespeople nowadays. When asked about their top priority, 77% reported generating high-quality leads. In comparison, only 41% believe so for increasing the total number of leads. Relevant sales information shows the reason behind this is that many leads end up being a waste of time, as they don't end up as customers.
12. Prospecting statistics reveal lack of motivation as the biggest challenge for two-thirds of sellers.
Prospecting motivation is critical for achieving your revenue goals and, at the same time, one of the biggest challenges. It's the first step in the sales process, and even though it's not as exciting as closing a deal, every new prospect is an opportunity for salespeople. Two-thirds of organizations admit that keeping their sellers motivated is the top challenge. When sellers were asked about the prospecting issues, 66% said they don't dedicate enough time or energy to prospecting.
13. 71% of salespeople are using social selling tools.
As more than half of the world's population uses social media platforms, marketers and salespeople can use them wisely. Sales statistics show 90% of top salespeople are already using them. The overall percentage is 71% for all salespeople using social selling tools . Certain groups report an even higher overall rate — with millennials, it's 78%.
14. 40% of sales professionals didn't achieve their revenue goals in 2020.
The fact that revenue goals were created before the pandemic hit helps us make sense that many companies didn't reach their targets. Some industries suffered more than the others, but overall, 40% didn't meet their revenue goals in 2020. 16.5% of them reported they had underperformed significantly.
15. Investing in sales training has a 353% ROI.
As the technological changes shape the job of salespeople, training is a must. The primary reason for businesses investing in training their sales staff is improving sales results. The latest sales training statistics show for every $1 invested, companies earned $4.53. That is an undoubtedly incredible ROI of 353%.
Important Customer Behavior Stats
16. 86% of first-time contactless payment users are likely to continue doing so in the future.
For many users, aspects of online transactions have been unfamiliar and perhaps even scary. But at some point last year, human contact came with even more concerns, so many opted for cashless and contactless payment methods. Due to more hygienic experience never more relevant than in the last year, sales stats point to a whopping 86% of first-time users likely to continue.
17. Customers spend 20% to 40% more money on brands that they have interacted with on social media.
Sales figures and the overall number of sales don't lie. Consumers feel more positive about businesses they can reach on social and spend 20%-40% more money if they interact with them. Also, 49% of customers in the 18-29 age range report making purchases after seeing social media ads.
18. Close rates drop if the words “discount” or “contract” are used in a sales call.
Many sales agents don't realize the negative impact of certain words and phrases they use while selling. Mentions of the “discount” can only be a good thing, right? Sales closing statistics show that the close rates drop by 17% if the word is used in a call. For the word “contract,” the decline is by 7%. Another phrase can have a negative effect if repeated 4 or more times is “we provide”.
19. Personalized emails improve conversion rates by 10%.
Personalized marketing helps in effectively targeting specific users and building better relationships with your leads and customers. 31% of customers reveal receiving a personalized email is an incentive for them to make a purchase. By showing the human side of your business, you can improve conversion rates by 10%. Click-through rates are 14% higher if a personalization strategy is implemented.
20. More than 80% of buyers will meet the salespeople who reach out via call.
The old-school technique of cold calling is still an effective way to reach out to your potential customers. A whopping 82% of buyers won't refuse a meeting if an agent reaches them via call, as sales call statistics reveal. Lack of patience with sales agents is the most common reason for failing, with 44% of sales agents giving up after one follow-up call.
21. Nearly 90% of gift receivers are likely to buy more frequently from an online store.
Everyone likes gifts, and their use in sales can be an essential part of a strategy. As much as 90% of consumers admit they are likely to buy more frequently from the same online store if they receive a gift. The strategy results in higher customer loyalty, potentially increasing the number of sales in the future.
22. Nearly half of buyers think an essential quality in a salesperson is “trustworthy.”
One of the trends that customers are led by is that “trust gets deals done.” Sales facts show 47% of buyers emphasized the importance of salespeople being “trustworthy,” as the top quality. That was followed by the quality of being “responsive” for 44% of buyers. 40% have also mentioned “expert in the field” as a relevant quality they appreciate. For salespeople traits, active listening was the most important for 42% of buyers.
(LinkedIn 2020 Report)
23. Consumers are 4 times more likely to make a purchase if they get a referral from a friend.
Referral marketing is based on trust, and in a world full of false advertising, people are more likely to establish trust if a friend or a family member recommends a product. Sales stats on referrals reveal consumers are 4 times more likely to make a purchase if they get a recommendation from a friend. 92% of people reveal they trust recommendations more than advertisements.
24. More than half of consumers believe their online research is superior to interaction with a salesperson.
The generation of new prospects and buyers doesn't rely only on the efforts of salespeople as much. Customer decisions are increasingly depending on the virtual presence of brands. Sales facts show that 53% of buyers believe their research is superior to interaction with salespeople.
The Impact of Digital Transformation in Sales
25. More than 60% of sales leaders believe ecommerce allows their teams to focus on more important aspects of the job.
The job complexity of sales professionals is expanding, as their primary role is not merely taking orders anymore. Digital transformations of the industry are considered an advantage for 63% of sales leaders. With ecommerce platforms processing orders, the role is becoming increasingly strategic. Salespeople now have more time to learn about their products and customers.
26. Amazon's net profit had an increase of a staggering 84% in 2020.
A stellar financial performance of Amazon reached $386 billion in net profit in 2020. Online sales statistics show the increase of digital platforms in the pandemic-hit industries resulted in an 84% increase in the company's total net profit. That’s over $100 billion more than in 2019.
27. Overall revenue growth for dominating ecommerce companies worldwide in 2021 is projected to be 50% up compared with 2019.
Several ecommerce companies are considered to be dominating worldwide, including Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba. An estimate for total vertical growth of ecommerce worldwide is 29%, while in-store purchases for many industries declined during 2020. Online travel services such as Booking.com, Expedia, and Lastminute.com will see a 14% drop in the 2019-2021 period.
28. Video conferencing is a sales tool that has increased in value the most since 2019.
Adoption of relevant tools is a significant part of implementing an effective strategy in sales. Sales statistics show video conferencing tools are considered to have increased the most in value since 2019, especially since the pandemic started. AI, mobile apps, CRM systems, and sales prospecting tools have also become crucial sales tool-kits.
(State of Sales Report)
29. LinkedIn Sales Navigator is one of the best prospecting software tools for remote sales management.
LinkedIn is a widely known platform for generating most leads, especially relevant for B2B companies. 266% more leads are generated on LinkedIn , compared to Facebook and Instagram. It makes sense that its Sales Navigator was among the top 10 software tools in 2020. Some others are Clodura, CrunchBase, Owler, and Calendly.
30. Most B2B brands expect digital sales to be over 50% of their business within 2 years.
At some point in 2020, the choice was remote sales or no sales. Even businesses previously reluctant to adopt digital trends succumbed, and many advantages have become apparent. B2B sales statistics reveal 38% of companies claim they've handled remote sales exceptionally well. The data shows most brands expect their digital sales to account for over 50% within only 2 years.
31. The CRM software market worldwide is estimated to grow with a 12.1% CAGR until 2024.
The importance of customer relationship management software is visible in the correlation between sales performance and CRM adoption rates. Companies with 75% or lower adoption rates have poorer sales and customer retention. It’s no wonder then that the forecast for the period 2019-2024 is that a compound annual rate will be 12.1%. The market is then expected to reach $85.8 billion worldwide.
32. The marketing automation software industry is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 19.2% (2020-2025).
In 2020, the market was valued at $6.89 billion. Sales productivity statistics estimate a steep increase with a CAGR of 19.2% until 2025 when the total will be around $18 billion. B2B and B2C businesses are increasingly using marketing automation solutions such as chatbots, automated newsletters, etc., to help them achieve the best customer experience, increase their lead generation and sales figures.
33. US social commerce sales for retail are expected to rise by over a third in 2021.
Following the buyers' expectations and time spent on social media, US social commerce will account for 4.3% of the 2021 total. Instagram and Pinterest are still the top platforms for retail commerce, but Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok are all expanding what they offer in the area. The total revenue is estimated to rise to $36.09 billion, meaning an increase of 34.8% compared to 2020.
34. An increase in voice and visual search can boost your digital commerce revenue by 30%.
Following the latest trends is especially relevant for digital commerce. Understanding how your visitors are browsing and enabling them great UX can boost your revenue significantly. Sales statistics show redesigning your website to include visual and voice search results in a 30% increase in revenue.
(Social Media Today)
35. Retail ecommerce is projected to reach 6.54 billion in 2022.
Online shopping is slowly becoming one of the most popular activities, especially for millennials and Gen Z. Dominating platforms such as Instagram have noticed the trend and integrated instant shopping buttons, allowing its users to make direct purchases without leaving the app. Ecommerce sales stats show the total was $4 trillion in 2020 and is expected to reach $6.54 trillion next year.
36. Email marketing results in an ROI of up to 4,400%.
Email is an incredibly effective channel for generating revenue, and the average open rate for newsletters is 21.33% across all industries. Using it is one of the primary ways to increase your sales and ROI. Sales statistics reveal email marketing automation boosts ROI by up to 4,400% .
37. Email marketing conversion rates were 15.11% in 2020.
The email marketing conversion rates have dropped more than 3% compared to the peak in 2018. At that moment, an all-time high happened with 18.49% conversion through email marketing. The drop actually occurred on a year-to-year basis, as in 2019, the rate was 15.91%.
Pandemic-Related Sales Facts
38. The global retail sales figures for 2020 were estimated at $23.36 trillion.
Sales and distribution of goods and services were a bit disrupted at the beginning of the pandemic, as every industry was affected. The significant rise of ecommerce , however, has happened since, and many have shifted their sales through that channel. The total for 2020 in retail was 23.36 trillion, and physical retail was still the dominant market with $18.5 trillion.
39. 57% of sales leaders were partially prepared or unprepared for virtual circumstances in sales.
When the pandemic hit the world, lockdowns and social distancing measures had a strong impact on in-store purchasing. Delivering the same level of value in terms of customer expectations was a major factor for customer loyalty. Business sales statistics show 43% of sales leaders reveal they were fully prepared for virtual sales and engagements. More than half, 57%, were either only partially prepared or entirely unprepared.
40. 70% of sales leaders believe revenue growth comes from existing customers.
When examining leaders' expectations of revenue growth, there is a slight difference in pre-COVID-19 times and now. Currently, 70% of sales leaders believe existing customers are the key to revenue growth, as opposed to only 30% who claim obtaining new customers impacts revenue more. That's 4% more who put the existing customers as a priority since COVID-19.
41. Sales from delivery and pickup in the US saw 5 times year-on-year increase in 2020.
Another consequence of social distancing and lockdowns has been a rising trend of deliveries. Contactless payments, contactless deliveries were a new normal. The data from August 2019 points to $1.2 billion, rapidly surging to $4 billion in March 2020. Sales statistics from June 2020 show an all-time high — $7.2 billion spent on pickup and delivery of groceries in the US. A small decline has happened since, and the year-on-year comparison with August 2020 shows $5.7. The number was similar in November 2020, $5.9 billion. The trend seems to be here to stay.
42. Over 70% of marketers rank new customers' acquisition as the top priority in their social strategy.
Research of over 11,000 marketers reveals the top priorities in increasing their ROI by social media marketing after the pandemic's initial impact. Sales information for 2021 shows over 70% will focus their social campaigns to attract new customers. That is a significant year-on-year increase of 58%.
43. The clothing and accessory industry suffered a 28.5% decline in 2020.
Sales statistics by industry show in the US, clothing and accessories stores were down by 28.5% compared to 2019. Other industries severely influenced by the pandemic include food and drinks serving places with their revenue down by 19.4%, and gas stations with a 16.4% year-on-year decline.
(US Census Bureau)
44. Cosmetics and sun care product sales fell by double digits in 2020.
Some product categories were simply not in focus during the pandemic. Reports from 2020 point to beauty products, makeup, and fragrance sales also had a steep decline in sales of about 25%. Sales stats show another category shaped by the lack of traveling opportunities was sun care, also having declined by double digits.
How many prospects make a sale?
There is no fixed percentage of prospects turning into buyers, as the rates will vary depending on the number of follow-ups. Over 80% of prospects become buyers if reached out to between 5 and 12 times. The rates are much lower as the number of follow-ups decreases, as sales follow-up statistics confirm.
How many touchpoints does it take to make a sale?
It takes 8 interactions on average just to secure a meeting with a potential customer. Various channels should be included, such as email, direct mail, social media, etc. An average number for making a sale is reported in higher teens, approximately 18.
How many no's before a yes in sales?
Sales facts reveal 60% of potential customers will say no at least 5 times before agreeing to make a purchase. There are different reasons prospects react that way, and salespeople ought to continue steering towards a yes. Competition is vast, and you need to persuade a prospect you are the right fit.
What percentage of sales reps hit quota?
Data from 2020 seems to be a bit discouraging for sales agents. As revenue goals were set before the pandemic hit the world, 40% of salespeople didn't achieve their revenue targets. 22% claim they've met the desired goals, while another 38% report outperforming their targets.
What is a good sales closing percentage?
The answer heavily depends on the industry you're involved with, and some sources cite 19% as an average. For some industries, such as computer software and computers and electronics, the average “good” percentage is higher, at 22% and 23%. Others, such as biotechnology, consider 15% closing rates to be successful.
How many calls before you make a sale?
Cold call sales statistics point to 8 interactions just to secure a meeting with a prospect. Top performers reveal doing so in 5 calls or fewer, but more than a dozen are needed to close a deal on average.
How many calls should a salesperson make a day?
Too many phone calls in a day mean that sales reps are not having meaningful conversations. The winning formula seems to be 60 sales calls or 3 hours of talk time, but what really matters is the conversation quality.