On the ByPath blog, we showed you the ABCs of social selling, then we talked about the social seller’s routine, the 10 minutes needed every day to stay on top. Once your social selling strategy is in place, the only thing left to do is measure the ROI (return on investment). What are the most important indicators? When should you start changing directions and/or adapt your strategy? How do you combine this information with CRM and best use it?
Find out the answers to all these questions and many others in today’s topic, the ROI of social selling!
Social selling is a commercial investment
Let us start by taking a look at the “investment” aspect of social selling. Yes, sales supported by social networks are indeed an investment, like any other actions intended to increase a company’s revenue by generating qualified leads. Eventually, you’ll need to verify that this investment has produced any revenue and that you’ve started on the right path.
General management always ends up asking for accountability. Developing a presence on social networks requires time (this is done over a period of time) and money. Management has every right to verify that these two precious resources are being used properly. The goal of this is to show that social selling is indeed part of the strategy developed by sales managers, and in order to do this, to rely on metrics identified as soon as the venture starts.
Indicators to watch
This first set of metrics is the most obvious one, and it’s also the one that jumps out at you when you view a Facebook page or Twitter account. Watching them means answering this question: “Am I visible on social networks?”
The indicators of adoption and usage on social networks will help you to know if your posts are having a real impact on your community. To do this, several things need to be compiled:
- The size of the network. Ideally, it should be increasing every month, or even every week or every day. The number of “Likes” on Facebook or followers on Twitter or links on LinkedIn are precious indicators that gradually show that your voice counts more and more on social networks.
- The impact of posts. All social networks let you know a little more about posts than the number of “Likes,” for example, may represent. You need to be able to measure the impressions of your posts: the number of people reached (those who see the post), the number of clicks on the post, shares, interactions, clicks on the profile or links, etc. All this data, when combined, will show the reactivity of a community and let you measure it.
- The level of engagement in your community. It’s not enough to get followers or “Likes”; you also need to have an active value-creating community. This community is the one that will react to your posts over time, that will derive pleasure from coming back, and by initiating a dialog with you. This means going much further than only the impact of posts mentioned above, and seeing if, over time, you have managed to bring people together around your posts.
Social selling should have a positive impact (if possible) on your commercial activity. This prospecting method should help you save time in identifying leads and forming contacts. Social selling should generate more meetings (compared to the number of leads) and opportunities. In short, it should make you more productive. If not, this means that you’re not on the right path and you need to reorient yourself.
To verify this, take the time to report and compare your status pre-social selling and post-social selling. Don’t forget to use equivalent periods as references (the same month every year, for example) and verify that your results cannot be influenced by another internal or external element!
It’s a good idea to integrate the ROI of social selling into your CRM
Do you want to facilitate the calculation of the ROI of social selling and tracking indicators? It can be very worthwhile to combine these two indicators with your CRM. Like with many commercial intelligence tools (such as business apps), the actions initiated through social selling can be plugged directly into your CRM. That way, you can see the ROI at a glance and see in specific terms what social selling has contributed to your commercial activity and justify your strategy to sales management using concrete elements.
3 tips on how to make the ROI of social selling visible
1. Share all the success you have had relating to social selling all in the same document, which will be a “social selling weather report” that can be viewed anywhere by anyone.
2. Compile in your CRM all the actions that resulted from social selling (getting a meeting, creating a sales opportunity, etc.)
3. Put into numbers everything that can be (a contract signed, the number of customers gained thanks to social selling, etc.) to support your arguments and show that yes, social selling works for your company!
By integrated the results of social selling in your CRM, you’ll be providing proof that the technique works, perhaps somewhat motivating those who have been lukewarm about it until now or who started with it just because they “had to.” And who knows? You may also create more “social” links.
Do you want to verify that your social selling strategy has had results? Why not ask the question directly… to the sales reps?
It can be valuable to set up a before/after-type questionnaire about several topics: the time spend on prospecting, the number of contacts before getting a meeting, the leads’ knowledge of the solutions offered by the brand, and so on. That way, you’ll have a solid foundation to better understand the impact of your strategy on social networks, and potentially, make decisions to promote the adoption of social selling tools.