Get Executive Sponsorship for Your Great Ideas
Lean Out: 3 Steps to Increasing Revenue in Your Company

How Much Value Do You See in Social Media?

Today, the combined market value of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter is more than $162 billion. That’s a huge value for companies whose customers create content that their friends, followers, and connections avariciously consume (often while they probably should be doing something else).

Last week, Dave Kurlan, the author of Baseline Selling, wrote an interesting blog post about how salespeople don’t get traction with social media. One passage struck a chord:

“It's time that we stop expecting sales to increase as a result of CRM, social selling tools and email.  They are great tools, but none of them replace actual selling, and even worse, all of them serve as distractions, false safety nets and busy work that must be completed before salespeople are caught up and can get on the phone.”

Kurlan’s findings are based on compelling information. He states that there is a lack of correlation between the use of social-media tools and key sales metrics. (Note: Kurlan’s company, Kurlan & Associates, has more than 1,400 Twitter followers.)

Kurlan’s source can’t be brushed off; the information is drawn from more than 10,000 sales assessments from more than 200 industries. 

As the daisy chain of CRM-related apps expands dramatically (many companies now use 15–20 different "sales-productivity enhancing apps"), salespeople are spending more time with information that's either pushed to them or they access at will.

image from http://aviary.blob.core.windows.net/k-mr6i2hifk4wxt1dp-13111219/82098f77-8838-4238-bc22-a98e4ce20b3e.jpg


Salespeople find social media interesting at first, but they often get lost in the execution.

 

Social media can turn into a subtle thief of time, demanding our attention and luring us away from the path that would move the sale forward. It is easy to think that social-media tools were created to tickle our egos, and when I hear people brag about the number of Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, and Facebook friends or “likes” they have, I begin to wonder if salespeople are paying more attention to growing their social-media metrics than their customer base.

Jill Konrath (16,800 Twitter followers), the author of SNAP Selling,  explains in a recent video, "What You Need to Know About the Rise of Social Selling", that social selling is about four things:

  1. Building a strong online brand
  2. Gathering sales intelligence
  3. Making connections
  4. Sharing good stuff 

Clip_image005


Jill Konrath talks about the rise of social selling. When will we hear about the fall of Facebook?

George Dans, author of the book Just Close It!, shared his reluctance to keep up with Facebook; he’s thinking about shutting down his connection to more than 1,600 friends (he has 43 Twitter followers). Dans spoke at our last Sales 2.0 Conference, and I am willing to bet that he’ll soon follow through with this plan. I personally love Twitter (5,800 followers) and LinkedIn (3,400 connections), but like George, I don’t see Facebook’s ROI in business. 

Clip_image003

 

George Dans believes that there are too many “likeaholics,” and he thinks of quitting Facebook.

Award-winning sales blogger Anthony Iannarino  (more than 31,000 Twitter followers) frames the issue of social media in a different light in his blog

“The new tools are amplifiers. They amplify what you already are. If you’re a pitch machine, always pushing how wonderful your product, your service, or your solution is, the new tools will amplify the fact that you are all about you. It takes something negative and amplifies it, making it even more negative than it already is.”

Clip_image006


Anthony Iannarino has more than 31,000 Twitter followers - a big megaphone for his blog that’s read by 45,000 salespeople.

Koka Sexton, a social-media guru and marketing manager at LinkedIn, says in the following YouTube video that “social selling is just being able to leverage social networks in a way that accelerates your deal cycles, as well as gets you more connected with your network in a way that can open new opportunities.”

Clip_image004

Is there a LinkedIn study that refutes Dave Kurlan’s claim? Is social selling something that helps social-media companies more than salespeople?

The fact that Koka Sexton has 30,000 Twitter followers and this video got only 123 views makes me wonder if social metrics matter.  We know that the combined market value of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook is more than $162 billion, but what value are these companies creating for their customers? 

We love to invest in dreams.

At the heart of social media is the dream that connections can turn into relationships, and relationships are the foundation of business. The reality of the digital economy is that we are working for two businesses: one is our business, and the goal of that business is to create customers. The other business is to serve and interact with the software products in the cloud that we need to deploy in order to attract, engage, sell, and service our customers.

And here is the challenge with all things in the cloud: the more we train our minds on the cloud, the less traction we have under our feet to move sales forward.

Share your comment 

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Govert Derks

All the young people are using social media nowadays, to stay visible in the future it is neccesary to participate in social media. About the right channel can be discussed, LinkedIn has a solid business model and will become a real marketplace in the futere. For other channels like Facebook the concept will remain but the lack of a proper business model gives new entrants possibilities. Being listed in the yellow pages is not enough to stay in business nowadays.

Trung

What social media DOES is: 1. Let's you "listen" to what your prospects and their companies are doing. 2. Let's you "watch" what they are getting involved in, groups, etc. that tells you their stage of discovery. 3. Allows you to "add value" to your discussion with them based on the above. 4. "Fills in white space" that would normally be radio silent between you and your prospect and hence deteriorate the impact of the first discussion. 5. Allows you to become "involved" in a more meaningful way in their buying process and thus give you greater influence. -
See more at : http://bestproductreview.org/reviews/social-viral-wizard/

it outsourcing

1 executive support in change management Use Powerpoint to summarize your main points across in a convincing manner. Arguably many of the managerial skills they already have and where they may need to take a more strategic and long-term perspective themselves. Most leaders don't want or need to know all of your team's work and enables them to weigh in on whether they believe these are the right areas of emphasis.

VanellaGroup

Using social media in selling takes a much more sophisticated approach and mindset and requires an investment of time to learn what it really is and how to use it.

The premise of the disappointing stats over social media converting more sales is it isn't making deals happen faster. It won't make it happen faster, but it will help you retain your pipeline prospects, stay on top of deals, and put you top of mind with them vs. your competition.

Social media for sales DOES NOT mean to be online tweeting and sharing silly things, it isn't trolling someone's Facebook profile waiting for them to say they want to buy a supply chain management platform or agree to a meeting they don't want regardless if you had an airplane write it in the sky.

What social media DOES is:
1. Let's you "listen" to what your prospects and their companies are doing.
2. Let's you "watch" what they are getting involved in, groups, etc. that tells you their stage of discovery.
3. Allows you to "add value" to your discussion with them based on the above.
4. "Fills in white space" that would normally be radio silent between you and your prospect and hence deteriorate the impact of the first discussion.
5. Allows you to become "involved" in a more meaningful way in their buying process and thus give you greater influence.

The other thing about social media is there is an element of giving back, relationship building, engagement. Unfortunately my experience has been that unless a sales rep has that spirit of just helping people, they aren't into the "social" aspect of social media. So they will do something on it if there is a high level of WIFM (What's In It For Me?)

The problems with pipeline management are numerous and multi-faceted, but one of them is that sales teams aren't incentivized to build relationships. Management doesn't celebrate identifying a huge deal 9 months out, and no one wants to spend the time on it. So they throw it back into the "marketing automation bucket" if there is one, and plan to engage later if it bubbles up. Usually what happens is they might reach out in 9 months to find they lost the deal. So they blame marketing for giving them a lousy lead and move on to the next one.

The statistics in one of the articles about the lack of results actually build the case for getting more involved.

* The number of calls it takes to reach a prospect isn't going to change--that is just due to being busy. No short cuts there. There is no holy grail to make people easier to access, persistence is the holy grail.
* Sales cycles are longer--all the more reason to monitor what they are doing
* Closing percentages are lower--so treat each prospect with value and engage

Early stage opportunities are actually ones where you have a lot of potential influence and aren't coming in to try and displace a relationship they have with another provider and is late stage. I have very astute client sales teams that work with us and know how to stay engaged and get the business. I only work with companies that "get" the relationship building aspect of 500K+ deals.

The problem with the stated premise is social media doesn't close deals, is if you are only looking at what transactions directly map to a deal through social media activity--that is not the right measurement. A better measurement is to look at the ones you kept track of in a meaningful way and acted on that information--how many of those did you not lose to the competition?

Here is the session I did at Dreamforce last week on this very topic.

http://youtu.be/n9ycId4tOXI

Here is my blog post on the social buyer:
http://accountdevelopment.blogspot.com/2013/11/what-social-buyer-means-to-social.html

Kokasexton

"The fact that Koka Sexton has 30,000 Twitter followers and this video got only 123 views makes me wonder if social metrics matter."

So in response, the video on my personal YouTube profile was never promoted. I posted it and walked away. The original copy is listed in the LinkedIn Sales Solutions channel and has over 1700 views and that is the one I promoted. As much as I am a MAJOR advocate for social marketing, I have a hard time amplifying a video of myself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSLmqAyYxlE

YouTube is still a channel I am working on. When it comes to LinkedIn and Twitter as an engagement and lead generation channel, I'd venture to say we are doing much better than others.

We can tie social marketing and content to our pipeline and revenue. Companies that haven't done this will have a very hard time justifying the cost. But its no longer about the man behind the curtain, its front and center for many companies connecting with their customers in very real and honest ways.

I just heard a story this week from an executive from Cisco who leveraged social media (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook) to engage an executive prospect at a financial institution. This isnt a fad, research and data isn't being made up, this is an inevitable destination for businesses and sales has an opportunity excel in this because of our natural desire to connect and engage with buyers.

Join the Social Selling Revolution.

Paul D'Souza

Gerhard,

"Terrific" article as usual. I like Jill's perspective on the value of Social Media and how Social Selling can leverage these new communication channels.

I really think we need to select our Social Media channels of communication and use them effectively to do what Jill says. They give us tremendous opportunities to connect with people in ways that were not possible before. But they can also distract us and contribute to us diluting our brand in very dangerous ways.

What I have done successfully in the last few years help my client companies leverage the right channels for their business. So they can build their brands, do their research and truly connect with their audience.

Its about focus and learning to be relevant. I really do believe sales teams need to train and coach their sales people on how to leverage this medium effectively.

Good post -- thanks.

Jeff_Ogden

Some great ideas from top experts here, like Dave and Jill. I also think the world of sales has changed dramatically. It used to be that phone and email were the only ways to reach a prospect. Now you can follow the prospect on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn and comment on her blog.

For salespeople today, that means they need to more creative and innovative than ever.

Jeff Ogden, Creator and Host
Marketing Made Simple TV
http://www.marketingmadesimple.tv

Dave Kurlan

Gerhard,

What a terrific job of pulling all of this together and asking the billion dollar question - what are we doing, why are we doing it and is it working?

It will be interesting to see what everyone has to say. I've already said my peace at Understanding the Sales Force -

http://omghub.com -

and where you read my article at Customer Think -

http://www.customerthink.com/blog/increase_in_social_selling_yields_no_improvement_in_kpis -

There are very opinionated, passionate discussions ongoing at both sites, but with different participants.

Thanks again.

The comments to this entry are closed.