Zero Sum B2B: Email Barely Tracks In Sales-Tech Survey

Email tracking is one of the many tools used by B2B salespeople -- but it’s at the bottom of the list, just above “no technology used.” 

And it’s likely to fall even further as Millennials expand their presence as salespeople and customers, according to a study by LinkedIn that was sponsored by Censuswide, a UK-based survey company.

The move is toward social media, and away from outdated tactics such as cold calling.

The two-part survey covers 1086 U.S. professionals and 1015 business decision makers who influence purchases.

On the professional side, almost 25% of salespeople deploy email tracking technology. But that percentage exceeds 30% for the top performers.

Still, email tracking is far outpaced by collaboration tools like Box, Google Docs, Microsoft Office and Dropbox. These solutions are used by over 60% of top salespeople, and by 59% of Millennials and 40% of Baby Boomers.  

Email tracking also falls behind networking platforms, enterprise communications, CRM tools, sales intelligence solutions and productivity apps.



Overall, sales technologies are used by 91% of salespeople, and by 98% of the top ones. Those who generate leads are the biggest tech users.

Top performers are likely to use “a multi-layered, technology-first approach,” the study states.

Meanwhile, social networks are growing in popularity on both sides as Millennials become more of a presence. Of the top salespeople surveyed, 62% strongly attribute closing deals to social media use. That number drops to 42% for all professionals. And 94% agree that social networks shed light on trigger points like job changes, promotions and news mentions 

On the customer side, 77% say they won’t engage with a salesperson who fails to do their homework and thus knows little about them. 

But they will support salespeople who do. Of the Millennials polled, 62% regularly look up sales pros on social media. And 69% will speak with a salesperson who has a social media presence. These percentages are lower for GenXers and Baby Boomers 

Cold-calling is a turnoff, the study states — large numbers rarely respond to it. And it may follow that cold-emailing is also a turnoff.

Of course, that doesn’t mean salespeople aren’t using email to communicate. And to the extent they are, they should note that decision makers expect them to:

  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of their business needs
  • Share content applicable to the customer’s role in the decision-making process
  • Provide personalized communication
  • Have a clear understanding of the customer’s role in the decision-making process
  • Target appropriate people at the company for initial discussions
  • Connect with others at their company
  • Reach out through other social channels
  • Have an informative LinkedIn profile

Salespeople have some work to do on building trust. They are widely seen in the media as ruthless, devious and sneaky, although not as much by decision makers, who are more likely to feel salespeople are trustworthy.

Still, even decision makers see people in sales as aggressive. And that is a problem, given that 39% of the customers surveyed say trust is essential in closing a deal. In contrast, return on investment was cited by 33%. Finally, less than 20% of both groups see salespeople as honorable.





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