Social selling is a term that's received a lot of "buzz" in the sales industry. It's a likely result of sales organizations trying to provide reps with the tools to communicate value and differentiation digitally.
We don't love the term because it indicates that social selling is something different than great selling. We see social selling as another tool to use to articulate value and differentiation, particularly in the digital space. However, as with any sales activity, if you want it to drive success you need a way to measure it. Here are five tips for measuring your use of social media tools in sales.
1. Track Prospect Referrals
Social selling activities don't always lead directly to sales conversions. They often set the foundation for future lead nurturing. However, the most direct way to measure whether social selling contributes to sales is to track prospect referrals.
When reps are able to input the lead source for each prospect in the CRM system, they can note a particular social medium as the first engagement point with the prospect. Then, you can monitor total conversions and efficiency rates of various social media.
2. Know Your Content Engagement Rates
Social media engagement refers to some form of direct interaction with your content by a follower. With social you can equate engagement to some sort of interest in you or your solution.
Engagement metrics vary across platforms. Some tools have built-in analytics you can use to measure engagement. Third-party software tools aid on social selling analytics as well. High engagement rates signify relatively strong interest in the content your sales reps share. There are some software solutions that embed these metrics in the CRM or you can work with your marketing department to determine an easy way for you to measure engagement rates at the rep level.
3. Count CRM Social Selling Contacts
Another critical metric is the number of social selling contacts reps have per each account in your CRM database, according to Inc.
If you have five average social contacts per account, for instance, this means your rep has at least five people receiving content through social. Additionally, it means several people are connected to him, which creates more open doors for information requests. CRM databases often track social contacts for you.
4. Track Profile Views
Profile views are an indicator of the appeal of your company or individual rep profiles on a social platform. This particular term often refers to a metric on LinkedIn, which is among the most beneficial platforms for B2B sellers.
LinkedIn tells you the number of profile views on your account within the most recent 30 days. You can gain access to additional view data and other metrics through a paid subscription.
5. Know Contacts vs. Followers
One of the most direct metrics of social selling success is reach. In social media, reach is the number of distinct eyeballs exposed to your content. Ideally, you reach people through social media that you might not have the ability to connect with through traditional communication channels.
Beyond impressions, you need to track the number of contacts you receive that result directly from social connections. Track links to your website or blog from social shares. Have sales reps note when prospects make contact based on social connections. Knowing which tools efficiently produce contacts and sales conversions enables reps to focus their time on the most impactful platforms.
Your marketing department is likely tracking these metrics now. Develop a way for you to have insight into those metrics for your sales team. This knowledge will allow you to better understand how your reps are using digital currently and where you can drive improvements.
Social selling isn’t a magic bullet. Encouraging your people to share content on LinkedIn or Twitter doesn’t mean that the leads will start pouring in and the sales will close automatically. Using social in the sales process provides a way for salespeople to engage with prospects and customers digitally.
Your salespeople can gain hundreds of followers, thousands of likes and even make valuable connections, but if you don’t have a system that capitalizes on these interactions, you’ll never see the kind of return that drives bottom-line impact.
While it is hard to directly connect social selling to conversions in many cases, don't assume that a large following on a social media platform means sales success. Social selling is more driven by how reps leverage their networks for engagement, contacts and conversions. Use these primary metrics to track efficiency and leverage these tools for growth.