Social Selling is the use of social media to interact directly with prospects, to answer questions and offer thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy. It’s about discovering people who may eventually be interested in what you’re selling – then making yourself useful to them.
Case studies range from Fortune 500 companies to start ups. Size doesn’t matter. Steps to success always include:
Listening to social media for key topics that indicate an unmet need or pain point
Giving out relevant content or advice without worrying about getting something in return
Demonstrating the wherewithal to stay connected
Does Social Selling “Show me the money?” Here are 6 case studies that prove Social Selling ROI.
AT&T: Put together a new sales team to re-build business relationships with a Fortune 100 company in Atlanta. They decided to take an entirely new approach that heavily favored building relationships through social media. They had to try something new. Relationships with a key client had suffered in the past five years, creating strain and sales had dried up. With training from Mark Schaefer and support from our internal team, they began implementing a content strategy aimed at strategic “persons of interest” from the former customer. Inside of 18 months $47 million in brand new business was awarded to AT&T, directly attributable to social media outreach.
IBM: Traditional ways of finding B2B customers for hardware and software products – telemarketing and email – were not producing the same results when applied to selling web-based services such as cloud computing and data security. IBM launched a program called “intelligent listening” within social media to learn what conversations about cloud computing were going on, what trends and issues were being discussed, and what the hot-button topics in the field were for users. Sales reps could simply check an RSS feed, find some content that fit the context of any discussion they were seeing, and upload them to social media and also to their new individual rep profile pages within the IBM site. The result was 10 orders the first day, and orders for product during the quarter that were 4X higher than during the same time the year before.
INCONTACT: A call center software company, trained half their team to learn and engage with customers through Social Selling using LinkedIn and the marketing automation software, Eloqua. Within a year, the half of the team that was trained saw a 122% increase in revenue for those sales reps using LinkedIn; 157% increase in revenue for those sales reps using LinkedIn & Eloqua. Now the entire company is trained in Social Selling Here is a brief video to explain the story.
INDIUM: Social Media in manufacturing is a rarity. Several of their engineers (17 or so, and 73 blogs.) write blog articles to share their expertise with customers, prospects and people who have questions about the technical applications related to solder. They shifted from traditional white papers to blog articles, supported by extensive measurements. Video is part of the mix too, to develop high value conversations, and this rolls over into trade show attendance. The video highlights key points for success and insights. SEO improved significantly. Leads increased significantly while trade-show costs decreased 75%.
HUBSPOT: Focused social media on solving customers’ problems as a way to earn leads. For example, HubSpot is first to release guidebooks their target market needs to create success. When something changes in online marketing, HubSpot is there with a guide to manage the change. They share the best advice, fast and have earned a reputation as THE educational resource for the market they serve. They give knowledge and advice (content) away free and make sure it’s the very best stuff possible. This (now) famous software start-up exploded onto the scene in 2006. Two years later they hit $2.2 million in sales and $52 million 4 years later.
LOGMYCALLS: A call tracking service, practiced a“150 Blog Posts in 50 Days” effort. “With a company our size, the commitment has to be significant in order to produce 3 unique and useful blog posts a day,” says Inbound Marketing Manager, McKay Allen. “After all, we also produce 2 original marketing webinars each week, monthly case studies, a variety of marketing White Papers, and some humorous and awesome marketing call tracking videos.” The result of this original and relevant content: An 400% increase in leads within 90 days.
Do these case studies prove the ROI of Social Selling to you? Could your organization benefit from Social Selling training?
Social Selling is the use of social media to interact directly with prospects, to answer questions and offer thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.
Social selling is not hard selling. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s about discovering people who may eventually be interested in what you’re selling – then making yourself useful to them. For salespeople, especially in B2B industries, its purpose is to establish relevance to prospects rather than interrupt their daily lives with cold calls and sales pitches.
It’s not a buzzword. It’s a real way for generating revenue and results. Here are 27 facts about salespeople who are Social Selling.
IBM saw an Increase of 400% in sales in a Social Selling Pilot Program (source: IBM)
Native Advertising is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it’s placed.
In 2011, it didn’t exist as a paid media channel.
In 2013, native advertising is a $3.7 billion media industry, 56% larger than social display ads (source: eMarketer),
But, for all the money being poured into native advertising, does it generates revenue for the businesses that use it? Does it “Show Me the Money” to advertisers and marketers?
Here are 4 native advertising case studies that prove ROI.
DIGITAL MARKETER: has an offering called Authority ROI. It is a course designed to teach bloggers how to make money for their blogs by treating them like media properties They use Twitter’s Promoted Tweets for this campaign. Because the ads are “native”, they look just like any other tweet. There’s no mention of a product. There’s no selling. They build three “native worthy” landing pages with informative articles. The ROI of Twitter Promoted Tweets is +198% based on the :
9.71K Engagements (this benefits us on Twitter well beyond this campaign)
$0.27 Cost Per Engagement
$7,937.85 in Revenue
GE: is showcasing young innovators on the Jimmy Fallon show in a native property called “GE Fallonvention.” As GE’s executive director of global brand marketing, Linda Boff, explained, GE is “leaning in” to native advertising more and more. The multinational conglomerate has been one of the early adopters of the “brand as content creator” trend, using social media platforms and online media partnerships to establish itself as more than a brand that makes big machines, but rather a brand that cultivates and supports a culture of innovation and invention. “Great content can come from a lot of different places, but funnily enough, it seems to be traditional media can get a little more attention when it comes to native,” she said. The first segment has gotten 333,106 views on YouTube so far, and, according to Boff, the video completion rate is 92 percent.
MINI USA: has a program with BuzzFeed since 2012. BuzzFeed COO Jon Steinberg explains the objective on SlideShare: “The primary goals of MINI’s collaboration with BuzzFeed were to continue broadening awareness for the brand slogan ‘Not Normal’, emotionally engage with its audience, and enhance perception of MINI as a fun brand.” On BuzzFeed alone, the first articles has more than 100,000 likes, is shared 35,000 times and were tweeted 7,000 times. As a result of the native ad campaign, the number of those who would consider buying a MINI as their next car has increased by 35.8%. The statement ‘MINI is a brand that stands for fun’ was supported by over 50% more test participants at the end of the campaign.
NEWS CRED: is a B2B SaaS company that use LinkedIn Sponsored Updates, other native advertising and Google Adwords. They are looking for these vehicles to drive: 1) Names: At the earliest stage of the sales cycle, they identify names and contact info of prospects, 2) Leads: Names converts to a lead when the person expresses real sales interest, 3) Opportunities: Leads convert to opportunities when the have successful meetings with leads who show intent to buy and 4) Closed Won Deals: Opportunities convert to closed won deals when contracts have been signed. In terms of ROI, for every $1 spent on LinkedIn Updates, News Cred earned $17.60 in revenue; for other native advertising, the ROI was $1 returned $14.60 and for Google Adwords the ROI was $1 returned $3.10.
If you’re interested in native advertising and ROI, the IAB is conducting a Native Advertising eCourse beginning August 5th. It consists of three online course of one hour each.
Do these case studies convince you of the ROI of native advertising? Do they tell you, for native advertising to “Show Me the Money,” marketers has to spend money or have a strategy for how that money makes money?
Content marketing is the marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience. Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant, and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action.
How important is content marketing to profitably running a business?
The marketing decisions any company on the internet has to make is how to invest between “owned,” (a website, video, CRM system), “earned,” (communications that commented, liked and/or shared) and “paid” (ads – search, display, banner, native) properties. Anything a company can do is going to fit in one of these areas.
What sort of return should your company expect from content marketing investments in these areas? Here are 30 hard facts about the content marketing to drive ROI.
A brand voice is how a brand speaks to its audiences.
It connects a vision, mission and values to a personality; done well, it’s is relevant, timely and builds relationships that last. It’s the human face for a business or company. It’s an expression of the people behind the brand. It sets your company apart and builds trust.
Particularly in the digital channel, with the depth of information on a website and publishing opportunities available through social media, it is an essential consideration to your brand platform
Here are 11 ways to find your brand voice.
GET IN THE PRACTICE OF STORYTELLING: In marketing a product, you search for a “unique selling proposition.” For your brand voice, you tell your “unique story.” Every brand has one. They just have to find it. Tell it is small, manageable chapters to learn what resonates with your audience. Don’t be afraid to re-tell it.. If it means something to your audience, they’ll want to hear it again.
LOOK FOR YOUR ARCHETYPE: To help tell your story, the term “archetypes”, as it is used in marketing, has its origins in Carl Gustav Jung’s theories. He believed that universal, mythic characters— archetypes—reside within the collective subconscious of people the world over. Archetypal images represent fundamental human desires and evoke deep emotions. There are 12 archetypes which symbolizes a basic human need, aspiration or motivation. For example, Disney is the Innocent; Jeep is the Explorer and Nike is the Hero. There is an archetype that is a fit with your brand to guide in telling your unique story.
DEVELOP YOUR LANGUAGE: To address the needs of our audience, develop the language that stands for the problems your brand solves. Your expertise. What your business does, or makes or provides better than anyone else. It’s not only your differentiation but the keywords help be found on the internet.
CREATE BUYER PERSONAS: A representation of your ideal buyers based on market research and real data about your existing customers are buyer personas. They provide tremendous structure and insight for your company. Buyer Personas help you to have better conversations that attract the most valuable visitors, leads, and customers to your business
SHOW YOUR AUDIENCE YOU SHARE THEIR VALUES: How you relate to your audience is not just what you offer but the values you have in common. They are established through conversation, dialogue and action. They form bonds that can carry you through a crisis.
DEFINE YOUR COMMUNICATION CHANNELS: 54% of people find a website through natural search; 32% through social networks and 28% from links from other websites according to Forrester. While it’s important to broadcast, it is more more to know the different benefits of each channel. For example, Twitter may be the best channel for spreading your content, Facebook for sharing, LinkedIn for comments and email marketing for speaking to key customers. This help to manage your time and expectations.
PRACTICE THE 80/20 RULE: There is an 80/20 rule the Content Marketing Institute finds to me true about content for brands. 80% of content should be about your customers and trying to solve customer challenges. 20% can be sales-related and talk about products and services. This is a good guideline to observe.
BE AUTHENTIC, CONSISTENT AND HUMAN: Regardless of what product or service you offer, customers are drawn to brands that deliver on honesty and authenticity. Whether it’s through tweets, blogposts, webinars, or any other type of communication, make sure you’re a true problem-solver. Since it plays a crucial role in ensuring brands come through on that act of integrity, brands need to engage in conversations to build long-term relationships.
LISTEN TO YOUR AUDIENCE: If you ask someone what they need, they might not know. But if you listen carefully to what problems they are having, then you just might figure out what they’d really like to see from you.
BE WILLING TO CHANGE: There’s something to be said for staying consistent, but, if you learn something new by listening, be willing to change. An enduring brand voice is one that stays relevant because is able to adapt to changing needs and tastes..
WALK YOUR TALK: Substantiate your voice with your actions. Respond to detractors when they come out. Get back to people in a timely manner. Offer proof points that you deliver on what you say. Do unto your audience as you would like them to do unto you.
Does you brand have a voice? What is it that sets it apart? How does your business tell its unique story?