As I’ve been working with sales organizations to help them learn to use and effectively integrate social media into their sales process, the inevitable question of “where’s the ROI in using social media” comes up.
It isn’t that there is anything wrong with asking the question. Measurement is not only important; it’s a critical element of your strategy. What strikes me as odd though, is the insistence that social media activities deliver an immediate return on investment, but the effectiveness of current traditional sales prospecting methods, such as attending in-person networking events, are rarely (if ever) measured.
The term ROI is only mysterious to those who practice social media through a “create a profile and let’s go go go” initiative. –Brian Solis
Brian is spot on. There is no magic to creating measurable outcomes, but the ROI of any social sales initiative is only difficult if:
- You jumped into using the technology, but never stopped to create an organized plan.
- You’ve never stopped to think about what you wanted to measure in the first place.
- Your sales people haven’t been “trained” in how to use the technology in a way that supports the sales process.
Success in the social sales world relies on you putting together a purpose and plan that incorporate measurable outcomes that you want to track. You need to ask yourself what specifically you can measure by engaging prospective buyers online. Do you want to track an increase in leads, sales, number of new presentations, event registrations? Once you’ve determined what you want social media to do for you, and you invest in making sure that your sales people are well trained in how to use social tools, you will find that it’s much easier to demonstrate a return on your social sales effort.