Does Social Selling Generate Revenue?

Social selling

Social selling is a hot topic this year. There are a lot of people talking about it, but very few have really figured it out. Does it drive revenue? How can you actually measure the ROI of social selling?

I went to social selling expert, Jack Kosakowski, to get answers. Jack is a Regional Sales manager at Act-On Software, as well as a passionate practitioner and evangelist of social selling. By adding social media to the sales process, Jack has become one of the top salespeople at Act-On.

 

Social selling is often seen as an opportunity to build relationships and gain the buyer’s trust, but salespeople are interested in driving revenue. How can sellers prove the value?

Social selling is starting to be talked about more and more. Sales and marketing both understand that there is major value but ROI seems to be the missing link. How do we implement a proper social selling program and track the dollars and cents that come from it? How do we measure online conversations that move offline and track the ROI back to social?

Can you expand on how to attribute social touches to the bottom line giving social selling the ROI credit it deserves?

Buyers are going on a digital journey through many layers starting with content, whitepapers, website, landing pages, etc. and even more important conversations are being had offline. However, social media messages are reaching those buyers throughout that entire journey. Technology is really the only way that we are able to track all of this activity in a large scale B2B organization.

There are many technologies that we can be using, but which ones are the most important?

There are three technologies that are vital to tracking the buyer through the top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, all the way down to the bottom of the funnel converting to revenue:

  1. Sales Acceleration: Using the right sales acceleration platform closes the gap between sales and marketing, optimizes selling time, and accurately tracks the proper key performance indicators (KPIs) for leadership decisions. It’s important to use the platform as part of your social selling process, so you can attribute standard KPIs to social media. Start by seeing how many conversations happened offline versus ones that started online then moved offline. By comparing the different processes, you will get a good feel for which ones were more productive. Sales Acceleration Platforms allow you to implement a social selling program without losing standard KPIs that your leadership team needs, or just isn’t willing to give up.
  2. CRM: Most CRMs are already integrated with sales acceleration software to track call time with lead source records. Companies value CRM for various reasons, but they’re all trying to maximize revenue in some shape or form. CRM is a key component for social selling. You have to be able to track the lead source once a conversation moves offline from social media, as well as input any social touches that impacted the buyer’s decision throughout the sales process. Measure the ROI of your social efforts by pulling lead source data and looking at important social interactions. Then, break down the data by social network to help identify which channels generated more revenue so you can focus on those ones more than others.
  3. Marketing Automation: Marketing automation is becoming more main stream for B2B companies at the enterprise and mid-size levels, but it will become a necessity for all organizations in the near future. Marketing automation is extremely valuable because it continues the digital piece of the buyer’s journey after the conversation has been moved offline. Since social selling is more of a “soft sell” upfront, you need to be able to keep track of the seriousness of the buyer after the initial conversation ends. Another major marketing automation value is the ability to understand your buyer through their behaviors. Lead scoring paired with visibility gives you the insight you need to make sure conversations are turning to revenue. Most marketing automation solutions will integrate seamlessly into the CRM and pull data from a revenue perspective through multi-touch attribution and funnel reporting, allowing your leadership team to see the month over month progress (or quarter after quarter depending on your organization).

When these three technologies are applied to a successfully implemented social selling program, what do the results look like? How has social selling increased your sales at Act-On Software?

The value of social selling isn’t a secret anymore; the numbers behind it are. My social selling efforts put me in the top five percent in revenue creation, and earned me a spot in Act-On’s president’s club within my first year with the company.

Is there anything else you want people to know about social selling?

It’s time to get moving! Here are some more resources to help you get started: