Monday, September 05, 2011

 

How to (finally) measure ROI from social media

Social media is not a direct-response channel. I think we can all agree on that. But it absolutely is part of the sales funnel for your business. It's where you can build and foster relationships with unlimited prospects, partners and influencers at very little cost, adding value on a daily basis until a percentage of those individuals and organizations are ready to move forward - either into a conversation or an active buying cycle.

Establishing a quantitative value for social media as a component of the sales funnel has been difficult, largely because we rely on disparate systems to establish causality. That may be changing with updated features in Salesforce.com launching in October 2011. For the first time, you'll be able to see integrated social media accounts and interaction activity right in your core sales management platform.

Here's why that's so important.

Let's say you have 80,000 leads in Salesforce.com. You know 40,000 of them have Twitter accounts. Of those, you also know that 6,000 are following your Twitter account, and you know exactly which of those 6,000 have responded or interacted with you in that channel.

When that lead makes it way through the funnel - to an open opportunity and eventually a closed deal - you can now establish the source of origination and primary causality of pipeline movement back to the social media activity.

Social media may not be a direct-response lead channel, but with this level of integration you can evaluate it's effectiveness and ROI as an eventual sales producer in an apples-to-apples format with email, direct mail, events, etc. And if prospects have been impacted by multiple campaigns and channels (and most likely have), you can still measure and weight the primary causality factors all in a single platform.

That's powerful stuff, and will help many organizations finally bridge the gap between their focus on leads & sales, and the importance of investing in long-term social and content-based relationships well before customers are ready to buy.

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