Social Media and Sales

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Talk is cheap. You need to turn conversations into actions, not just interactions with your customers and prospects. In this case study, learn how to achieve tangible and more effective sales results by reallocating resources from traditional sales channels to the new emerging social media.



Not everything in social media is about the fancy fan pages, strange video clips or fun campaigns exciting the masses. The EMANON Group (company name was changed by the author) decided to engage in social media to outperform the competition and reduce the cost of sales.

Social Media without the fanciness
This organization of about 250 employees understood that their current sales approach was not leading to expected results. However the product seemed to be well received by their existing customers. A young sales rep blazed his own path and engaged with his customers through Facebook, Twitter and an industry specific Yahoo group. This sales rep was pretty successful, but the rest of the team did “business as usual”.

Business as usual for EMANON Group meant sending email shots to their address database, buying new addresses and sending out introductions to the company and invitations to webinars. An inside sales team followed up hoping some of the emails resonated with potential clients. On a typical day, each rep made 40 – 60 calls, trying to leave voice mails and hoping to get 3 – 5 conversations per day per rep. Their objective: make an appointment for the field sales organization, confirm attendance at a webinar or otherwise gather positive feedback.

How corporations use social media to gain market share
The strategic engagement began in March 2009. After some review meetings, we included a few customers as advisers to the new social media strategy development. In May 2009, the strategy was simplified and reduced to one sentence:
“Create a superior customer experience.”

After the development of a social media-leveraged sales strategy, the sales team reduced their email volume dramatically and used cold calling only in cases where they could not find their clients in the social web – LinkedIn, Xing, Facebook, etc. The team that used to do mostly cold calls is now engaging with clients on the social web. After some training, the team was able to reach about 200 people per rep per day and they have approximately 30 – 50 interactions. Success is now measured by how many clients are touched, the number of responses and how many resulted in an engagement. Within six months, the sales team found their best practice model for the market and effectively reduced the cost of sales by 4%, which contributed to a 20% increase in profitability.

Current Social Media Engagement
Still today, the company has no fan page, only a few video clips that provide service handling information. There are no Twitter campaigns and no social media marketing initiatives. But the team is highly engaged with their clients and prospects leveraging social networks, communities, and social media monitoring tools for lead generation. A social media business application is handling the relationship management part and provides reports to management.

So far the company has achieved two objectives:
1) The customer advocacy level has grown and, in combination with the more effective sales team, market share seems to have grown as well – we will see more quantitative details by the end of this year. Indicators of growing market share include new clients who come from competing brands, motivated in part by existing customers.

2) Cost of sales per unit has decreased and revenue increased with no additional sales people. Sales headcount was reduced insignificantly. Three sales people left because of the new sales model. Apparently it wasn’t attractive for the hard core hunters to move to a more collaborative engagement model.


This document “Social Media under One Roof: Integrate Social Media with the TCE Model” is composed of nine sections. Three sections are written by Sampson Lee, and experts in each specific domain contributed the other six sections: Wendy Soucie from Wendy Soucie Consulting; Karl Havard from pownum; Jim Sterne from Web Analytics Association; Axel Schultze from Xeesm; Rick Mans from Capgemini; and Guy Stephens from Foviance.

Section ONE: Where Social Media meets Customer Life Stages
Section TWO: Social Media and Research & Development
Section THREE: Social Media and Branding/Public Relations
Section FOUR: Social Media and Marketing
Section FIVE: Social Media and Sales
Section SIX: Social Media and Operations
Section SEVEN: Social Media and Customer Service
Section EIGHT: Integrating Social Media with Total Customer Experience
Section NINE: Managing Your Brand and Social Media with One System

Click here to read the complete document in PDF format.

Axel Schultze
CEO of Society3. Our S3 Buzz technology is empowering business teams to create buzz campaigns and increase mentions and reach. S3 Buzz provides specific solutions for event buzz, products and brand buzz, partner buzz and talent acquisition buzz campaigns. We helped creating campaigns with up to 100 Million in reach. Silicon Valley entrepreneur, published author, frequent speaker, and winner of the 2008 SF Entrepreneur award. Former CEO of BlueRoads, Infinigate, Computer2000. XeeMe.com/AxelS

1 COMMENT

  1. Axel: I read this blog with great interest. The comparison between two of your thoughts is especially interesting: The company decided to “engage in social media to outperform the competition and reduce the cost of sales.”

    and

    “Success is now measured by how many clients are touched, the number of responses and how many resulted in an engagement.”

    Gaining clients from competitors is meaningful if the rate of attrition exceeds the rate of market growth. In the right context, social media can enable that, and I am impressed that your client has achieved it without diving into often-trendy Twitter and Facebook initiatives that risk little strategic return. However, based on your blog, I think it’s because they’re effective at something that’s harder for most companies to achieve: finding the right connections, and delivering communications and conversations that are both valuable and effective in advancing the buying process.

    When the social media dust settles, people will find that the most successful companies have developed proprietary advantage in identifying the right people to converse with, and in providing valuable engagement with them. (Say goodbye to email blasts that promote the latest special offer or wish clients a happy new year!) As you point out, social media offers an extraordinary efficiency advantage–most of that is manifest in its unprecedented ability to reach (not just target) the right people with the right messages.

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