Brands that are neglecting social media are losing out on sales opportunities, while forward-leaning companies are converting leads.

Brands that embrace social media in their sales funnels will be more successful than competitors that do not, according to a recent survey from A Sales Guy Consulting. The ‘Social Media and Sales Quota‘ evaluation asked more than 500 salespeople whose annual quotas ranged from under $100,000 to more than $10 million. More than half of those surveyed said social media strategies are directly contributing to sales.

In fact, 30.3 percent attribute two to five deals to their social media efforts, while more than 10 percent say their participation directly helped them close more than five sales.

Social media isn’t just creating new opportunities for sales teams, it’s harming those businesses that overlook its persuasiveness. The study found brands that didn’t use social content missed their quotas 15 percent more often than progressive companies.

“Let’s assume that you have 50 sales people on your team and the average deal size is $50,000. If every salesperson on the team closed an additional deal, you would see an increase of $2.5 million in revenue generated,” the report states.

Social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook – and to a lesser degree, blogging sites and Google+ – are advantageous because they provide sales teams with new avenues for networking, prospecting, research, referrals and closing.

More than half of those surveyed said social media strategies are directly contributing to sales.

This study isn’t alone in its findings. The 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry report from Social Media Examiner found 43 percent of businesses said social media marketing improved sales performance.

It’s essential that companies actively participate on social channels if they plan to use those accounts to reach out to prospects. A page that’s sparsely updated will not leave the best impression, while an account that’s populated with informative custom content and engaging news articles pushes visitors through the sales funnel.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.