Social Media ROI – It Won’t Be About Sales Numbers…

Saw an interesting blog and comment discussion over at 1to1 media around the ROI of social media initiatives. While the blog claims some ROI numbers and formulas are forthcoming, I predict the metrics will be less around sales conversions, but rather further back in the pipeline.

As Paul Greenberg notes, social media is not a closing tool. I mean, how many deals are going to commit via a Twitter message?

So, what kinds of metrics should be measured in terms of gauging social media success?

How about, how many “conversations” (not conversions) that lead to leads? How many opportunities were originated via a social media source? How much growth in a sales agents’ or department’s network or reach?

There are some more marketing focused metrics that could be analyzed as well – how many times does your brand pop up in keyword searches across social media like Twitter? How many followers do your branded accounts have – size of networks type analysis.

I think it would be dangerous to expect sales conversion rates to improve. Now, time to close and other metrics might – and I hope people start thinking about the intangible benefits as well as the tangible.

One thought on “Social Media ROI – It Won’t Be About Sales Numbers…

  1. Martin,
    Good points. As a sales person I agree completely and think it’s pie-in-the-sky stuff to try and correlate social media participation with increased sales.

    Your point about looking for digital fingerprints is the angle that we’ve been promoting – this is really looking to try and determine (or measure) the richness of a companies engagement with a customer or prospect via social media and how this impacts sales, customer retention, and cross-sell ratios. Are buyers connecting to the enterprise via blogs, communities, Twitter etc – this would give me a better and richer insight into how effective the organisation is in terms of connecting to buyers in different ways.

    If I can’t see prospects interacting with us outside of the traditional sales channel then I’d be very worried. For example, can I see evidence that a prospective buyer has been asking our R&D people questions via communities or Twitter or Facebook?

    To me, the better ROI will come from understanding the types of interaction and engagement so that the efforts of the whole enterprise can be aligned to where we know buyers are congregating – i.e. they are not lined up outside our front door…

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