Every time I think I've gotten a grip on the weird, wonderful world of sales, I learn something new that forces me to change my perspective and question my beliefs.
Like just 17% of salespeople think they're pushy -- compared to 50% of prospects.And along similar lines, only 3% of buyers trust reps. The only professions with less credibility include car sales, politics, and lobbying.
Ouch. Luckily, not all sales-related data will bum you out. This list of sales statistics has invaluable nuggets of wisdom on everything from which words to avoid in your email subject line to the optimal number of questions to ask during a discovery call.
Sales Statistics 
Sales Prospecting Statistics
1. Do you find prospecting to be the most difficult part of your job? You're not alone. More than 40% of salespeople say this is the most challenging part of the sales process, followed by closing (36%) and qualifying (22%).
3. Devote time to prospecting each and every day. You should be prospecting just as much on the first day of the month or quarter as the last. Gong's data science team analyzed 15 months of data and found average salespeople made far more calls in the last month of the quarter than the first two. And the success rate of those "eleventh hour" calls were usually lower than any other month.
26. The more you write, the less likely you are to get a response. Only one in three messages that are longer than 2500 words receive a reply. However, you shouldn't be too brief: A 25-word email is roughly as effective as a 2000-word one. What's the sweet spot? Between 50 and 125 words -- or around the length of this paragraph.
27. Don't just provide information -- request some, too. Emails that contain one to three questions are 50% likelier to get replies than emails without any questions.
Sales Call Statistics
28. According to Gong's analysis of 519,000 discovery calls, there's a clear relationship between the number of questions a rep asks and their chances of success. In other words, if you want your discovery call to go well, make sure you're periodically posing questions to the buyer.
29. Asking 15-18 questions over the course of your discovery call is only marginally more effective than asking 7-10. Aim for 11-14, Gong found.
31. And when should you ask these questions? While average salespeople ask most of their questions at the beginning of a call -- usually because they're moving through a checklist -- great ones space their questions evenly throughout the meeting. This makes the conversation feel like a natural back-and-forth rather than an interview.
32. Top performing salespeople are up to 10 times likelier to use collaborative words and phrases than low-performing ones. With that in mind, default to "we," "us," "our," and "together" over "you," "I," "me," and "your."
49. Sales professionals with three to four years of selling experience spend 50% more time on training than those with two years or less and 110% as those with five years or more -- probably because rookies aren't sure if they're going to stay in sales and veterans don't believe they need to develop further.
57. Almost half of deals are lost because of budget. 25% are marked closed-lost because of timing. Lack of authority, time to review, and urgency are the third, fourth, and fifth most common reasons, respectively.
Are you surprised at what you've learned, too? Numbers might not tell the whole story, but they certainly illuminate many aspects of it. Keep checking this page for updates. As new data comes out, I'll add it to the list.