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Data shows South Africans are the best salespeople in the world

  • SMBs in South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand are ranked among top sellers
  • Brazilian and South African teams close sales fastest, taking on average 28 days, followed by Chile on 29 days
  • Higher performing companies commonly achieve around 37% conversion rate
  • Manufacturing sales enjoys the highest conversions, whilst real estate agents work the hardest
  • Higher sellers make a third (34%) more activities from a mobile device

New York, 15 February 2018 – Pipedrive (www.pipedrive.com), the leading sales CRM platform and weapon of choice for salespeople in scaling companies, today published its annual ‘Global Sales Review 2017’ report(1) analyzing tens of thousands of sales teams worldwide. The anonymized metadata provides a snapshot of sales performances across 34 different countries, and spans a range of sectors. Insights from Pipedrive’s user base of 70,000 companies help the platform to design valuable new functionalities.

Key findings

Pipedrive customers are primarily smaller businesses selling high value products and services in a sales process that requires customization and multiple touchpoints or interactions over a period of time.

Data from Pipedrive shows variations in sales team performances, with clear differences across regions and industry sectors. Higher performing teams - those that beat their industry and regional averages - saw a typical conversion rate of around 37%.

A strong focus on the right actions is a key driver of success. Organizations with low conversion rates conduct 30% more activities, approximately two more per deal, than higher performing ones. Focusing on the right sales actions means that more deals are completed.

Overall, high performing companies are quicker to sales results - their salespeople have stronger impact on customer decisions, and do less actions but the right actions to close sales.

Old World vs New World differences

South Africa is top of the conversion rate league table. Its salespeople convert a staggering 21.5% of all leads. Having incurred several recessions in the past decade, it suggests a real need to improve productivity and safeguard livelihoods. Countries following closely include Ireland (21%), New Zealand (21%), Australia (19%).

Western European countries are not the best at converting deals into sales. For example, France (13%), Denmark (14%) and the Netherlands (15%) score lower whilst UK and Portuguese businesses both fair marginally better at 16%. Swiss teams lead Europe by far on 19%. The USA, which arguably invented selling as we know it, comes in the middle of the pack (16%). It could be argued that lower conversion rates in these regions can be attributed to more established economic conditions and tighter competition.

Across all users, the average time for closing a deal is 40 days. For such ‘sales velocity’, Brazilian and South African teams close sales fastest, taking on average 28 days, followed by Chile on 29 days. European sales people generally take far longer to close deals. The slowest are Belgian teams taking 56 days, whilst the Dutch are in the slowest five, taking on average 50 days to close a deal. Portuguese users rank in the middle for time efficiency, landing deals around 37 days. Both UK (46 days) and USA (44 days) rank towards the bottom of the lists.

The ability to predict when deals will complete is clearly valuable from the perspective of managing income flow. Spanish teams lead the way here, on average being able to predict deals down to the correct day. The trend is towards over-optimism, with the next most accurate teams being Austrians with +4 days margin of error, and Swiss on +5 days. Colombian teams are the most inaccurate with predictions, on average closing deals +25 days off target.

Manufacturing is a standout sector

The manufacturing sector records a 31% conversion rate, meaning that on average every fourth deal is closed. This is the highest of all the industries and nearly double the average. Trading and construction are runners-up followed by creative industries.

This can perhaps be explained by the fact that much manufacturing sales activity is inbound, and/or enters a sales pipeline already heavily qualified. Runners-up are trading (retail and wholesale), construction and creative agencies.

Teams working in finance are most likely to prefer phone calls as their modus operandi – around four to win a deal. In software and app development, emails are more favoured, requiring three to close a deal. The most lunch meetings are scheduled for those working in health and real estate. The sectors most likely to hold face-to-face meetings are real estate and manufacturing, clearly linked to their on-site sales process.

Mobile increasingly important

The highest ranking sales teams perform far more sales activities via mobile devices than lower performers - above average performers added one third (33%) more activities via a mobile device. For example, mobile users can capture key information from meetings, while it’s fresh in their minds. Salespeople need full and reliable access to their sales pipeline from everywhere, and the best salespeople are taking full advantage.

CEO & Co-founder of Pipedrive, Timo Rein comments, “We collate our Global Sales Review to help salespeople learn which techniques and best practices, tools and technologies can deliver for their region or business sector. As sales is increasingly global in nature, success can also depend upon knowing how to address multiple markets with subtlety”.

Pipedrive Gold package

Pipedrive’s suite of award-winning packages are equipped to greatly optimise the work of sales teams. Launched in recent weeks, and priced at $29/month, the Pipedrive Gold package offers strategic functionality to make sales activities more agile, targeted and connected.

Key features include:

  • Scheduler – lets you share your availability so clients can book a time that works for you both
  • Products – a customizable catalogue of a company’s including costs, notes, and more
  • Sales Inbox – Send and receive email fully synchronised with other email clients in use, with customizable templates and signatures, and integral tracking and analytics
  • Smart Contact Data – retrieves valuable data about sales leads from online sources at the click of a button

Rein adds, “As much as data can pinpoint trends, we also apply it to our own work, in order to continuously learn, benchmark and improve our platform - such as with our new Gold package features”.

Every aspect of Pipedrive Gold is designed to support teams in driving their sales through their pipeline efficiently. Businesses can enjoy a two week, completely no risk free trial at www.Pipedrive.com.

More findings from the research can be viewed online at Pipedrive's Global Sales Performance Review page.

(1) An analysis of 59,980 small and medium sized companies using the Pipedrive platform in 34 countries during December 2017.

About Pipedrive

Pipedrive is the weapon of choice for salespeople in scaling companies – the sales CRM pipeline platform that makes selling simple. Pipedrive keeps things moving, stops tasks falling through the cracks and kills the tedium of admin. Pipedrive ensures that sales activities remain targeted, ambitious and realistic. Today, over 100,000 customers in 170 countries, and across 100+ industries leverage Pipedrives’ award-winning software to manage their sales process.

Founded by seasoned sales professionals, Pipedrive launched in 2010. It is one of the fastest growing cloud-driven SaaS companies worldwide, having raised $90m in funding from investors including DTCP, Atomico, Insight Venture Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Rembrandt Venture Partners and Paua Ventures.