Let’s talk about ROI, the sales funnel, and expectations for social media. Whenever I hear someone talk about ROI in social media, it almost always follows that they had ample opportunity and were simply unable to capitalize on it. It’s a classic case of blaming the tool for operator failure.
Every sales-oriented organization has its own version of the sales funnel. Regardless of the version, social media is an exceedingly good medium for filling the top of that sales funnel. In fact, it is a 100% certainty that social media will meet this particular expectation. From there, it’s all about how adept your organization is at engaging and converting opportunities within your particular sales funnel.
In the social media world, 1 fan equals 1 opportunity. If you are able to capitalize on that opportunity, then that fan becomes a customer/advocate. And here’s where it gets interesting: not all customers are created equal, even at the same price points. A customer with 10,000 Twitter followers is more valuable and holds far more opportunity than a customer with 100 Twitter followers. The value of a customer/advocate increases with their social influence. And that’s the paydirt social media can provide. In that light, it doesn’t take too many customers/advocates to produce thousands of new opportunities….so long as you know how to identify them and convert them into customer/advocates.
Early in your social media marketing efforts, you are buying opportunity, not customers. During this time, when hardly anyone is a social media pro, ROI should be viewed in terms of cost per opportunity. If your organization is skilled at initial communications, fact finding, developing and proposing solutions, negotiating, and closing the deal, then social media will be a relatively easy win for you. You’ll be able to convert opportunities to customers/advocates fairly quickly. If not, or if your organization is geared to a lower stage of the sales funnel, then it’s going to take some effort and some adaptation on your part.
Fans and followers are not cold leads. Neither are they warm leads. They have taken an action…vis a vis liking you or following you…but you don’t know what the particular motivation for that action was. Fans and followers fall somewhere between warm and cold leads…I call them passive warm leads. In the head-hunting world, they call them “passive candidates”, or professionals who aren’t looking for a job but might entertain an offer if the right one comes along. Treating a passive warm lead in the same manner that you would treat a cold lead or a warm lead will not produce success. You must develop a unique approach to these passive warm leads in order to capitalize on your social media opportunities.
If a member of the opposite sex smiles at you across a crowded room (that’s the safest equivalent assumption of a consumer liking a brand on Facebook), that doesn’t equate to a marriage proposal or even an invitation to dinner. It simply means that maybe they will talk to you if you make the right effort and don’t screw it up.
In a similar manner, you can’t assume that fans or followers of your business of your business are ready to purchase, but you also know they aren’t totally apathetic. They’re somewhere in between. Passive warm leads. The point is that the translation from your traditional sales process to a social media sales process is not always natural or smooth. Sometimes it takes work.
If your organization is particularly gifted in making initial contact with warm and cold leads, then social media will be a natural extension of your existing sales process, requiring only slight adjustments to your approach. If, however, your organization is accustomed to receiving warm leads without initiating that first contact, then you will have to adjust a good bit in order to be effective and generate a significant ROI in the social realm.
Knowing and understanding where your strengths lie within the sales funnel is key to making social media selling work for you. Being able to adapt your approach to passive warm leads is critical.
Mojoloco’s job is to deliver opportunities and to assist in initial communication, fact-finding, and developing solutions. We can and will do our job well. As your organization adapts to the social media funnel and gains skill at converting opportunities to customers/advocates, then you can begin to view your ROI in terms of cost per customer.
If this scenario describes you, let’s talk…and when we meet, let’s speak clearly about goals, objectives, expectations, and what a positive ROI looks like for your organization.