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Can Social Selling Be Measured?

By Sander Biehn | Jun 26, 2015

After the training class on social selling everyone was amped up. Tweets with #socialselling were flying everywhere the next day and sales teams were furiously connecting and engaging with prospects online. It was a breath of fresh air for the team. What sales person isn’t tired of cold calling, particularly in the frosty environment of 2015?

Meanwhile, back in reality, the Sales VP was taking another beating from his boss, the CEO. What’s wrong with our sales teams? Why aren’t they performing at quota or above? The last time he had this conversations with his boss he had answers for her: He had found a social selling program with the help of the CMO and had sold the CEO on it turning things around. After all, the program was sold with a ‘guaranteed ROI.’ Hat in hand he now had to explain another poor quarter of sales. The only sheet of paper in his hand was the latest dashboard from the Salesforce.com CRM system. All the indicators pointed south.

What happened to that guaranteed ROI? Well, the vendor was able to prove that the sales teams were using social media much more than they were before. Maybe they weren’t reaching their prospects on social? Who knows?

With no real data to prove the efficacy of the social selling program, it was sure to be left on the side of the road. Sales people would drift back into cold calling mode and the beatings would continue unless the sales turned around.

The amazing thing is the data sits right before our eyes to measure and predict the power of social selling. Contacts, customers, decision-makers and products all reside in your CRM. The interaction on social media with these relevant prospects by your sales team is resident in the social platform API’s. Social Advocacy tools like Dynamic Signal and Everyone Social already pull this data. So does Hootsuite to a large extent. Marrying the data with CRM is the missing link.

Imagine a new world where analytics steeped in data science can measure the cumulative effects of spending money and time instituting social selling for a sales team. With that data in hand, the Sales VP may still be in trouble, but he could also be sure that additional investment in social selling would improve results on a predictable scale. Social selling may not solve every problem, but it could be a much more powerful and predictive lever. Without this data, it is just another training program or lead generation snake-oil proposition. It cannot predictably scale–a huge red flag for anyone with budget to spend. In order for social selling to grow up, it needs an injection of analytics.

This new world is not that far-fetched. Thought Horizon is working on making it a reality. Let us know how we might be able to help your organization truly measure social selling.


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