My Spiderman senses start tingling whenever I see such statistics. For one, the attributed source, "National Sales Executive Association" does not seem to exist. Interestingly, a number of blogs have been posted in the past citing this list of statistics with only one person questioning the source. There are no dates indicating when these statistics were compiled. No doubt some sharing this list today are treating this list as the latest news. On top of all this, there are no definitions of what a "Prospect" or "Contact" means or the context (is this B2B, the type of sale, etc.).
I find it very common for people to jump to conclusions, perpetuate urban legends, or cite statistics blindly. No doubt, we come across Sales people who claim that we can get a huge amount of incremental business if we just had a particular feature, etc. For years, I had a senior sales manager tout that a missing certification was killing his sales and that it was soon to be a standard requirement across the industry. Part of the problem was that no one really understood the requirements. So I took on the task of polling every sales engineer, researching the number of past sales requests, interviewing internal "experts" and engineers who dealt with the standards...and lo and behold...there were less than 10 requests in 12 years and we found a process to deal with new requests in a less costly manner. Summary report and white paper written. End of issue.
A former CEO once berated a sales manager after visiting another company. The prospect there told the CEO that we turned down a Purchase Order for over $100,000. Our CEO was very angry at the sales manager and made the comment to the effect of "We'll find someone else if you have a problem taking a $100,000 order." What the prospect neglected to tell the CEO was that he wanted multiple systems for that amount of money and it would not be a profitable order.
Remember the quote: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics". Sales people are a key resource but many re-live their most recent or lost accounts when you look for data. So always question your sources and information, and dig deeper to get the details instead of blindly accepting everything as facts.
Question everything. Assume nothing.