Social Media ROI and Impact on Social Selling
Jim Keenan, Bubba Page, Gerhard Gschwandtner, Lori Richardson
Watch this exclusive 62 minute panel interview video highlighting Jim Keenan, Bubba Page, Gerhard Gschwandtner, and Lori Richardson now. They focus on the ROI of Social Selling - what is it and how to measure it.
Gabe Villamizar: Welcome everybody to the social selling summit. I'm really excited, and it's a pleasure and honor to be here right now, and present to you our next panel, this epic panel, EP, straight up. I'm really excited again that you guys could make it here. I'm going to let you know that the panel is introducing themselves, but I'll just tell you who is here, first of all. We have Bubba Page, we have Jim Keenan, we have Gerhard, and we have Lori. Gerhard, I think it's the first time to actually interact with you, and I'm really excited I should get to know you. Jim, Bubba, and Lori, I've known you guys for a few years now. I'm really excited that we are all doing this. It's very hard to get all you guys at the same time, but it's happening, and it's going to go down right now. Starting from Jim ... left to right, Jim, why don't you take 30 seconds and tell the audience who you are.
Jim Keenan: Thanks my man, I'm Jim Keenan, President and CEO of A Sales Guy ... A Sales Guy recruiting and Sales Guy consulting. We are bad ass company that has fun breaking the rules, finding bad ass sales people and changing sales organization around from flat to fat.
Gabe: Awesome, thank you. Bubba.
Bubba Page: Guys, I'm Bubba. Yes, people actually call me Bubba. I was a fat baby and the name just stuck. I founded a company called Launch Leads. Launch Leads is an outsourced sales and appointment company. Actually, recently I began a new company called QuotaDeck, which it's actually what we consider to be the next evolution of where social selling is going. It's all based around sales people helping sales people in a crowd sourced manner. [inaudible 00:01:42]. Glad to be here.
Gabe: Awesome. That's nice Bubba. Gerhard.
Gerhard Gschwandtner: My name is Gerhard Gschwandtner. As you can recognize by the name and the accent, I'm originally from Omaha, Nebraska of ...
... from Austria. My Twitter handle is gerhard20. So please follow me on Twitter, and you'll learn all about selling that you never thought existed. I'm the founder and publisher of Selling Power Magazine. That's the largest sales education and sales management publication in the world.
Gabe: Awesome! Great. Thanks Gerhard. Last, but not least, Lori.
Lori Richardson: Hi, I'm Lori Richardson. I'm CEO of Score More Sales. I've been running that company for 12 years. We focus on sales prospecting and opportunity creation for mid-sized companies. It's great to be here.
Gabe: All right. Let's get this party started guys. Let's do this. The topic today is going to be the ROI of Social Selling. We've been hearing about social selling in the past few years, and a lot of people are adopting it especially in the B2B space, inside sales rep, finding out that cold calling and cold email works to a certain degree, or maybe it doesn't even work, depending on what you believe, but the ROI of social selling. So social media came out, and then all of a sudden all these other tools came out. There's been lots of criticism that how do you measure, or what the freak is the ROI of social selling? Is it even real? Are we wasting our time? Question number one, let's start out with Bubba. Bubba, you said you started your new social selling company tour today. I've heard awesome things about it. What's your take on the ROI of social selling, and is it even real, or where are we at with the ROI of social selling from your point of view?
Bubba: Absolutely. In the last six years, we made over six million cold calls, and leveraging all kinds of tools to make our cold calling better. But yet we still only had a 1-2, at the highest, a 3% conversion rate when we were dealing with cold call, cold email. So, when we took a dive into social selling, it made a huge impact when we could have real conversations online through social media and different channels with the potential prospects. So, it seems for us, we've seen a direct impact on number of users coming to our site, especially QuotaDeck, through content that we share on Twitter. Today, that's our largest referral source, it's Twitter, for gaining new users on our crowd sourced website, QuotaDeck. So, ROI has dramatically increased the time that's spent on social media for us, whether it's generating content, or whether it's communicating with different prospects, it's by far better than any type of cold sales effort out there. From our point of view, there's no doubt that there's an ROU of social selling. It is definitely real.
Gabe: Awesome, thanks. Anybody else? What's the job then, or is it the two sides are on, is even real?
Lori: This is Lori. I just want to say that I like what you said Bubba, and I think what's important is that it's an aspect. It doesn't work on its own. Because you had six million cold calls to reference that, I know that you know what you're talking about. It's part of a multi-tasking strategy, and I think that that's what we've learned, is that it's not something you sit back, and things happen ... magic happens. At some point, you engage in and interact with people, and including the telephone and that conversation. I think it's very important.
Gabe: What do you mean it's not a magic bullet Lori? Come on!
Lori: It would be nice. You would think so, with all the talk about it.
Gabe: That's garbage. It's a magic bullet. You just get a Twitter handle, and go to LinkedIn, and the money just starts pouring in. We all know that. Come on, let's be honest.
Lori: Add water and milk.
Gabe: Go for it Gerhard.
Gerhard: I think what Bubba said is very, very telling. It's definitely a huge promise, and I think that people have some companies. One is like Bubba's company that's, to me, a well-oiled social media factory. The average company out there is the social media Mom and Pop store, and what we need to shift is our thinking from one dimensional, to three dimensional thinking. What I mean by that is we need to go from "what is" to "what if," to "what next0." "What if" is the diagnostic ... picking the balls. What's the baseline? What are our numbers? And what is our growth pattern, before we can get to the ROI.
Once we do the diagnostic, we can go to the next step, which is, "What's the scenario thinking?" What will listening on Twitter look like, what kind of broadcasting are we doing socially? What does our You Tube channel look like, and how do we channel it in with LinkedIn, and with our blog in our Twitter handle? But, in the next step is the strategy. You cannot have a strategy if you don't have the diagnostic, and you have good word eat scenarios. Companies like Bubba's, you are the jet eyes of social media, but the average company. The average company out there, they are the Mom and Pop Stores.
Jim: Argue to the quick and dirty on our return investment.
Gerhard: Let's hear it then.
Jim: My consulting company is three years old. It was started completely because of social media, starting with my blog. Then a year ago, I started a recruiting firm, hired one recruiter. In one year, with absolutely no sales people, getting all of our business strictly through social media or relationships that were created through social media, but just recruiting [inaudible 00:08:23] would just go short of million dollars. So, know sales people are nothing. It is an ROI.
Gabe: Thanks everybody. This is getting good now. Let's move on to the next question. It's going to get better guys. By the way, this is Gabe Villamizar ... I forgot to introduce myself, social media trainer at HireVue, Social Media Manager, [inaudible 00:08:58] social HireVue. I've heard that a lot of companies are having a hard time measuring social selling efforts, or social media efforts. Why is that? That, first of all people that believe or don't believe in social selling, and those sometimes who start to believe. They have a hard time measuring the ROI. What's up with that? Let me ask Lori.
Lori: I'm sorry Gabe [inaudible 00:09:22] part of it. I can hear you now.
Gabe: Why are companies currently having a hard time measuring the ROI social selling, or do you see they are not having a hard time?
Lori: First of all, I think social selling has been overhyped, and so that has caused some issues in the market place. I think that as Gerhard said, not everyone is a social selling ninja organization. Working in the real world with even mid-sized companies that have up to a thousand people ... there are companies that ... they are not in a gridding social selling, and if they are, they have no idea how to measure it. But I think it's just a learning curve. I think these are new tools that are in the market place now, and I think that we're learning how to capitalize on ... how to set strategy, and then measure, and perform, and rejigger. So I think it's still new. That's my short answer ...
Gabe: All right Lori. Gerhard Gschwandtner, what are your thoughts on this?
Gerhard: I think that to be successful in any endeavor, and that include social media in its three domains, we need to have the right mindset, the right skill set, and the right tool set. A lot of people start backwards. They are investing tools, and then they run a foul because they don't know how to use those tools. We need to start with the mindset, and the mindset is that social selling is not emerging. Social selling is merging with everything we do. Customers are judging us based on our social media footprint, and a lot of companies don't have the mindset yet.
They haven't realized that 60% of buyers self-educate, and the thing that they thought is not happening in many companies is that if you don't expand the customers' need for self-education, then you're working against yourself. So the mindset needs to change first. Then we need somebody with a skill set. We need to learn from the social ninjas. There are so many great people ... so many great teachers out there, and I would recommend to anybody who is listening out there, if you give yourself on ... chop those companies. Look at their social media videos, and learn the skills, and then invest in the tools.
Gabe: Wow! That's pretty impressive. This is the perfect tweet right here, and tag @Gerhard. So it's mindset, skill set, tool set, #social selling, and tag Gerhard. That was awesome. I love that. I just took note of that. Thanks for saying that. Bubba, do you have any thoughts on this, or we move on to the next question?
Go for it.
Bubba: I think Gerhard nailed it. What I would do is [inaudible 00:13:02], and what I think is really important on why companies have a hard time measuring this is, social selling is a process. It's not an action. In [inaudible 00:13:11] organizations treat it like an action ... like a cold call. Make a call, get a hold of somebody. Social selling, you have to build your identity. You have to build awareness. You have to build trust. That shit takes time. So you can't just honestly wake up one day and tell the organization, "We're going to be a social selling company. Everybody get social selling."
It takes time. You have to listen, you have to engage, you have to be smart, you have to have content. It's process, and if you treat it like an action, there's going to be nothing to measure, except the action. The action won't create the result. You're going to get pissed off. You're not going to see it work. So I think that's why they have a hard time measuring it. They treat it like an action, and not a process.
Gabe: Love it. All right ...
Bubba: ... add to that. You're making sense. It's just that there is a big factor that comes in with discipline. Just like any other aspect of the business, you have to have discipline when you're talking about social selling. It's not going to come overnight. For those listening, this is something that is a long term play, just like Kennan said, you're building relationships, you're building your identity. You just have to have the discipline to do it. So you're setting aside time to do it every day, or you're having somebody internally do that for you. It definitely comes down, in my opinion, to discipline to be able to keep track, and understand really the best way to go about it.
Gabe: Amen to that. All right guys, moving on here. We've got more stuff to cover. Question number three ... let's see. Move on here. All right, here we go. Let's talk about metrics. It can be measured, it can be managed, and I love that saying. And then we kind of come into metrics. From your personal perspective, and we start with Jim here, what metrics do you recommend the audience that they should measure, to know if their social selling efforts are being successful or not?
Jim: I'm the worst person to ...
Gabe: Oh, crap. I'm sorry. Who should we start on with it.
Jim: ... but I'll start. What I have found is the traditional things like likes, and number of followers and all that shit, really isn't a good one. Finding stuff that measure engagement ... that measure commitment. Retweet is a far more valuable metrics for me, because it says, I triggered somebody to do something. It says they're interested. People give follows and likes away, like they're candy.
There's no balance to those. Somebody takes some minutes to retweet, something tells you something's going on. If I'm using LinkedIn, and I ask a question, the number of responses to my question tells me that I'm doing something right. Because it tells me that I struck a code, and people want to take a minute to respond to that. In LinkedIn follows to the extent that someone says, "I read this. I saw your post. I liked what you said," those type of real engagement are telling you that you're making progress, because it's people validating the value you're bringing to them, and that's what social media is about. Is bringing value to others.
Gabe: I like that. I agree that the whole engagement part is far better to measure than absolutely likes and all that [standards is crack] [16:43], and that kind of stuff. Who else has another metrics that you guys are talking about ... stuff like?
Gerhard: I think that the starting point should be to have a conversation inside between sales and marketing about value. What is valuable to us as a company? Do we measure the number of Twitter followers, or the Facebook likes? Beware that there's a lot fake stuff on social media. You can buy 10,000 Facebook likes for $25, and it's still meaningless. YouTube views can be fake. I like what Jim said that you want to be buying engagement. What does your LinkedIn group look like? Is it growing? How many people actually respond, and how active is the other communication? That would be valuable to me.
Every situation [inaudible 00:17:55] depends on the company's selling strategy. Social selling is not just about replacing cold calling, but also treating the other customer experiences. That's valuable to you. You want to set priorities.
Gabe: I agree.
Lori: Can I add to that?
Gabe: Go for it Lori.
Lori: I think with the social tools, you can gain insight about perspective customers ... about buyers, and that's one whole area onto itself that is hard to measure, unless you go back and analyze the deals that you end up with, and how they came about. Like Jim said, I find it hard to really explain how to measure it, but I would do something ... like you're using a real world example, I work with a company that had never used LinkedIn as part of their prospecting strategy. We worked on profiles, and we worked on ways to engage, and now there are reps who are getting 50% of meetings with potential new customers, through LinkedIn. It's tangible.
So those are the ways that I think. Then you can also, beyond gaining insight which is really important to do, you can find and engage with people that you can't reach other ways. I think there are a number of ways to interact, and there are different things to measure. And then it's still, again from my standpoint, I think it's still challenging that the more data we get, the more we'll be able to find ways to do that.
Gabe: Absoulutely, and ... Bubba.
Bubba: I think something to bring up ... yeah, I was going to say, there's a site that I don't know how many people are using today, but klout. There's a klout, score ... K-L-O-U-T. I'll be honest. I found that whenever I'm following people, or I see people's content, the klout score, in my opinion, still matters, and a lot of people had leverage then in the recent past, but I still feel like what've they've done is good way of managing that engagement, like Kennan was talking about.
I feel like the talk square is still relevant, and it can really show people from those who buy fake followers, or fake views, or fake whatever, but typically don't necessarily have as a high of a klout score as some of those truly engaging with people through social media. And they are able to track a lot of the different social media channels ... I have no affiliation with them, just [inaudible 00:20:50], but I feel like there truly is value in helping you see your own klout score, and measuring your own effectiveness on social media. It's just one way to look at it.
Gabe: Yeah, I agree. I'm [inaudible 00:21:04] being in klout, even though some people might say that it kind of ... the whole business model shifted, because now they kind of introduced whole content sharing, where before it was strictly just klout measuring engagement, and measuring a lot of things, and nobody could figure out their algorithm. But, yeah, I agree. Let's move on. We only have about nine minutes left, so I want to cover last two questions on ... so in your organization, or in your personal brand, what social tools have you guys used to measure social selling?[inaudible 00:21:37], for example, I can give you this first hand.
Sometimes LinkedIn had exercise, the social school of index. It kind of measures how well you use the LinkedIn platform. How well do you engage with people? How many connections do you have? How many meaningful in conversation do you have with your network? How much content do you post? It kind of aggregates all that and give you scores, and it's the exercise scores. I think that's just the beginning, and that's a good way to measure. For example, that's something we measured here at the HireVue. Similar tools to that. Is there anything that you guys recommend to the audience that you've used, or that you find to implement, or anything than nature? Start with Gerhard ... can you hear me?
Jim: I can pipe in just while he's getting back online ...
Gerhard: Sorry, I was on mute, and I could not unmute it for a second [inaudible 00:22:40].
Gerhard: [inaudible 00:22:41].
Gabe: There you go.
Gerhard: But I also look at the klout score, but when I want to ... before I partner with anybody, I look at their numbers, and I also want to know how impactful their message is in the market place. For example, if I see a company that has 300 videos on their You Tube channel, and they get an average of two or three visit dead ship views, then I realize there's something wrong with it. They're not integrated. And what Lori said in the beginning is so important. Is the social media integrated in an oval strategy?
Companies that don't integrate, they kind of look really dumb when you look at their social media numbers, and then you question, "Is this an intelligent company? Is this a company you really want to work with? I don't want to mention any names, or give any examples, but do the math yourself. Look at the social media footprints of companies you want to do business with, and ask yourself, if they're there, is there somebody that really gets it, that lives in the moment, that understands where we are today, and where we are moving next? And I have seen companies literally disappear if they don't have social media footprint and awareness that social media is part of doing business today.
Gabe: I agree. One tool that I recommend here on [inaudible 00:24:25], is for example is Twitonomy. Twitonomy that will let you evaluate any engagement, or any reply number of hash tags, who they talk to on Twitter. If I were to kind of ... let's say I want to analyze Johnson & Johnson. I want to see how much ... I want to see, okay, they have 200 dozens, or 200 million followers. Out of the 200 million followers, how much engagement are they really getting on their tweets? And if I just see like a less than 2% engagement, I'm like, so you have 200 million followers, and you're telling me only 2% of your followers are engaging with you? Either the followers are fake, or your branding, or your messaging should be optimized. That's what that reminded me of, Gerhard. Thanks for sharing that ... Bubba.
Bubba: A couple of tools that we've used here ... this is Bubba. A couple of tools that we've used are Hootsuite, and the Buffer, and it's just simple things to measure the type of activity. It just puts things in a little bit of a dashboard, shows you you can manage multiple accounts, and different social media channels. This is entirely effective for us, and helps you to schedule posts so that you can kind of plan ahead, and plan out what type of content you're going to share, and when ... trying to hit people at the specific time that are best on each of the social media channels. That way you know if you're posting at midnight on Twitter, you're probably not going to get as much engagement as another channel, or on Facebook, or on LinkedIn. Those are some tools we'd use to help.
Gerhard: Does anybody know Sprout Social?
Bubba: I know Spredfast, which is a competitor.
Gerhard: All right, because I think that Sprout Social is a great tool to track tweet performance, and track the response rate, and measure audience growth, and monitor transfer. There are a lot of great tools, but again, it goes back to you. What you measure. What you value.
Lori: And you need a strategy, as you said earlier.
Gabe: All right, good. Let's go ahead. We've got two, three minutes left. What do you guys think of the future of the ROI of social selling [inaudible 00:27:00]? Let's start with Bubba. Obviously, what you're scratching that the surface of ROI of social selling, and is it going to be easier to measure it? Is it going to be harder? What's your take on the future of it?
Bubba: I may be a little biased here, but I think the future of social selling is changing dramatically. We've been talking about today's social media, and engaging with context, with prospects in a cold fashion through social media. And I think the evolution and the future of social selling is really more of a crowd sourced function, and really where sales people or prospects are looking out to their friends and colleagues and saying, "Hey, what are you using? What types of tools are you working with, what's been the most effective? And that crowd sourcing functionality of purchasing is already happening in the consumer space.
My wife needs to find a new doctor for the kids, she asks her friends on Facebook, they crowd source the answer, and now she has a new doctor. In the DVD world, that's starting to happen more and more frequently. What we've found at QuotaDeck is that literally, the power of the crowd is so intense when users are interested in potential prospects, or interested in different tools, or different services, having their [inaudible 00:28:32] crowd introduce them to a new product or service. That's really where we see a dramatic change, from a cold prospect, whether you're reaching out to them cold on social, or you're reaching out to them cold with an email, or a phone call, having a warm introduction is really where we believe that future of social selling is ... of having direct introduction to new products and services.
Jim: So, Gabe, I think Bubba hit it, and I think your question hit it, but I think it's on scratching surface. I will expand it here real quick. When we talk about the future, we are not even talking about social selling. Social selling right now is the function of this broader direction we are headed. It's going to be a social life, because there's more and more ... and I wrote about this like three years ago, four years ago, and I basically said, your social presence could be the most valuable asset that you have, more than your house. The reason being, this is about comfort and trust, and engagement.
People are going on [inaudible 00:29:35] if they can't google you and figure out who you are, they're not interested. If they had, say people are doing a research before they engage with a company to see if their engagement with other people is real. More and more information comes out, and more and more social becomes more ubiquitous. People won't feel comfortable doing business with you. They won't feel comfortable engaging with you, they won't feel comfortable working with you if they don't know who you are, if they don't know what you are about. They can't read about you. They don't know what you're thinking, they don't know your knowledge, they don't know what you believe in, they are not going to play with you. So this isn't just in our social ... I'm sorry. Go ahead.
Lori: I was just going to say that social is ... it's the tool, the platform, and the mindset, and I believe, as Jim, you just said, we're going to drop the selling. It's going to be integrated in the marketing sales service ... everything. It won't be called social selling. It's just going to be a very large part, as time goes on, of how we do business.
Jim: Social life, baby! It's social life.
Gerhard: I think that there's another way to look at it, and I think Lori sort of hinted at it. And I want to paint a little bit of a more concrete picture for what I see in the future. I think that it's not just the social selling or social media that live in the cloud, or that our relationships live in the cloud. I think that the transaction between buyer and seller, we're moving to the cloud. So by 2020, Burtner [SP] says that the transaction between businesses will be conducted to over 90%, by being online through computers, and not through human intervention.
I see clearly that we are going to move towards what I call loosely, the sales office in the cloud, where buyers and sellers interact, share information assets, and that sales office in the cloud will have a social media component that's completely degraded, where you have a new way of conducting business that will eliminate, probably by 50%, the need for travel. Because you can transact much more effectively online, and it is sort of what amazon.com is doing today, by doing about $70 billion worth of business, without having any sales person, and what Amazon is doing online is slowly socialize, because there's impact they're riggings, and there's broadcasting, and the minute you search for something, then Amazon welcomes back at you with new offers. So the sales office in the cloud, in my view, is the future of selling.
Bubba: I think their online reputation systems are huge. Just going along with you guys, having your reputation online, that is absolutely the future. There's so many different tools, that you are creating your own reputation. Whether it's AOB and B, and how well you took care of their place when you stayed over. When you're riding with the driver and raiding people everywhere you go, my vision of the future is all of these tools and systems we're going to be using will continue that raiding system, or a new other concept, and hopefully makes the world a better place.
If we all know that we're being charged and raided, maybe we'll treat people a little bit kinder, a little bit more thoughtful in our actions. Having that rating system in anything and everything we do, will allow for that social presence that really you as a person can come out, and hopefully the good guys rise to the top ... the guys and girls rise to the top, because of all those rating systems.
Gabe: All right, you know what? This is just getting started. I feel like we just have to end. Thank you so much Gerhard, Bubba, Jim, and Lori for joining us, and let's keep the conversation going on Twitter. Like I said, #socialselling. If you have any questions [inaudible 00:34:11] these top leaders, as you can see on screen. Feel free to tweet them, follow them and engage, and they'll be there to answer any questions for you guys. Don't forget to watch the other sessions that we have. We're just getting started. Thank you so much for tuning in. Have a great day.
Gerhard: Thank you.