We often hear from CEOs that they don’t see the ROI for social media. Many CEOs still question the legitimacy of social media in their space. In case you’re wondering, these people are wrong. I will address three common questions/comments we hear from the C-suite and sales leaders.
“Isn’t it enough for marketing to handle social media?”
No. The answer lies in a blended approach lead by marketing. Much of the branding and company messaging will be handled by marketing. But, as CEO, you’re the face of the company. Can you claim to be a cutting edge company without being on social media? Furthermore, CEOs must be master networkers. Social media is the spinoff of networking for the digital age. Don’t underestimate its importance in cultivating relationships and securing new business.
CEO.com shows that CEOs from the Inc. 500 outpace their counter parts from Fortune 500 companies. It is important to think about your audience and tap into the power of social media. This is how many people interact now. (2013 Social CEO Report)
“How do we track the ROI on social media?”
That is the $64k question. In B2B sales the answer comes down to whether your organization is generating social referrals. These ideally lead to appointments and in turn lead to sales. Unless your CRM system and marketing automation align to these metrics it’ll be difficult to get an exact ROI. The most effective way to track ROI is by aligning sales and marketing efforts. Track the sources through lead management and opportunity management.
Download Aaron Bartel’s e-book on Sales Gamification and Social Selling. He makes a compelling case on the ROI of social selling. His ebook provides a compelling case for social media and the how to track ROI from lead generation through the close of a deal.
With that in mind, there’s also something to be said for simply extending the reach of your brand. Just like consistently creating good content, social media is a way to gain credibility. Your brand becomes synonymous with certain ideas and themes. It may be that someone contacts you by a source other than social media. But it may have been via social media that they first heard of you.
“Which social media channels should we focus on?”
While the safe answer is “it depends”, most B2B companies should focus primarily on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. The reality is that you need to know where your customers and prospects are hanging out and target your efforts in the appropriate direction.
True Story: An Enterprise IT company was recently involved in a major tender. Many top execs were involved in closing the deal. Pencils were sharpened, strategies and tactics closely evaluated. The final proposal was submitted and the deal was lost.
After the fact, the CEO learns of the deal and checks his LinkedIn network. He discovers a connection to the CEO of the prospect company. Unfortunately, the team didn’t bother to cull through their connections to see where they might leverage influence. The CEO likely could have reached out peer to peer and garnered insight and guidance. This type of interaction could have potentially influenced the decision. Unfortunately, he learned of the deal too late. Why didn’t the sales team look to leverage their networks? Ultimately, it was due to the fact that the sales force relied on old school tactics instead of embracing new technology.
Moral: Networking, selling, and prospect interaction has changed. The entire dynamic isn’t different – the core is still the same. But there are new possibilities for cultivation. There are different ways to interact. It’s an improvement that opens new doors. Don’t wait until it’s too late to walk through them.
Learn more by reading the Sales Gamification and Social Selling eBook.