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Steve Farnsworth is the Chief Digital Strategist at Jolt Digital Marketing where he consults mid to large organizations on communication strategies to create product preference and build customer communities that foster brand loyalty. With over 13 years as a senior executive, Steve writes, blogs, and speaks about how smart companies can effectively integrate social media, PR 2.0, and content marketing into their marketing mix. As a director with the Silicon Valley Brand Forum and an adviser to other professional organizations, Steve has moderated panels, spoken at or facilitated industry events at Intel, Yahoo!, HP, Sun Microsystems, Cisco, Adobe, Electronic Arts, Hewlett-Packard, and Stanford. In 2012, he Steve is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 31 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Social Business – Going from Qualitative to Quantitative

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In many organizations social business seems like a qualitative exercise. They think, “We need to do this because it will make our organization work better together.” Ed Brill says this perspective would be short-sighted.

Social Business Study

IBM decided to put some quantitative data around social business to find out if social was helping them as a business. Like most organization IBM has inside sales, which they call Teleweb since they use phone, email, etc. talking to customers. So, they decided to take a closer look at their Teleweb team and ask, “When using social, are they demonstrably more successful?”

IBM had Rutgers and Duke researchers come in, set up control groups, and then track metrics. They found the Teleweb team that used a combination of public social tools and internally deployed tools, like IBM’s Connections, were a lot more effective.

Social Sales Closed More Business
  • The inside sales team using social had 26% more leads.
  • Closed 3% to 7% more business.
  • Their cycle time was faster.

Based on these results they attribute this increased effectiveness to the sales reps having a better internal digital reputation.

For instance, in the past a product manager may only know a name of a sales rep. Now having the ability to get to know the sales rep virtually, the product manager is more inclined to help the sales rep since there is at least a digital relationship versus some random email they would have received in the prior generation of collaboration.

With the abundance of interconnections and collaboration there is more success with information self-service. Sales reps are finding the files they need, answers, or learning from other sales reps.

From the outside, customers who may not want to take a call from a rep can now check out what actual humans are saying on the website. They can read comments, insights, without marketing talk, and chat with other real customers. IBM has proven this combined approach of social business from the inside and outside outperforms the competition.

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Published at DZone with permission of Steve Farnsworth, author and DZone MVB.

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