How to craft a social selling business case to revolutionize digital marketing

How to craft a social selling business case to revolutionize digital marketing

By Ready For Social | Dec 4, 2023

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Over the last three weeks, we explained how to start with a social selling program to increase your return on investment, gave you tips and tricks on reaching your goals in 2024 and beyond

and covered what ROI you can expect from social selling 

While the benefits of social selling are clear for every informed marketer, many still struggle to make the case for investing in social selling initiatives, especially at companies in more traditional industries like manufacturing.

But don’t worry. In the fourth part of our ROI special, we teach you how to build the business case for investing in this critical area of digital marketing and help you take advantage of the potential of using social media for sales by unlocking the power of social selling. 

It’s time to get down to business!

Why does your business need a social selling program?

Social selling offers many benefits for businesses looking to strengthen their (digital) marketing efforts. By engaging with potential customers directly on social media channels, companies can increase brand awareness and generate qualified leads that can be nurtured over time into sales opportunities. Additionally, social selling provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate thought leadership in your industry while showcasing your products or services more personally than other forms of advertising or marketing. Consider the social media profiles of your salespeople at your 24-hour trade show booth. (P.S.: We’ve borrowed this idea from Mary Keough at Gorilla76 and The Manufacturing Marketer Podcast). 

What does social selling cost?

Social selling for B2B encompasses a range of costs, typically varying based on factors like the scale of the program, the number of salespeople involved, and the level of sophistication in technology and training. We went into detail in our last blog article .

From our experience, businesses can expect costs per seat per month, ranging roughly between $100 and $200 for each participating salesperson. This estimate covers a comprehensive array of elements, including internal resources, technology investments, and payouts to suppliers and vendors. This figure does not include Sales Navigator licenses, those would be on top.[GU1]  It’s important to note that larger programs involving many salespeople often benefit from economies of scale, potentially lowering per-seat costs. Conversely, smaller programs may lean toward the upper end of this cost spectrum.

How do you make the business case for social selling?

Establishing tangible objectives that effectively showcase the ROI in social selling is a fundamental cornerstone for success. While each business may harbor slightly distinct goals, the universal metric for measuring success in social selling lies in a shared set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). While numerous organizations allocate funds from their marketing budgets for socially-driven selling endeavors, we advocate for a more expansive perspective, treating it as a synergistic fusion of marketing and sales efforts. In quantifying success, align your metrics with the holistic impact generated by this combined force.

  • Awareness: This is a relatively simple calculation, as it requires you to measure the reach of your posts and how many times they have been viewed on different platforms. You can even put a price tag on it by referencing similar marketing efforts on LinkedIn or through the cost of ad space purchases via Google Ads. Assessing this kind of data for an entire team (e.g., your sales force) can be daunting, but most social selling solutions have analytics features that make it easier to compile data like this. As your sales reps expand and strengthen their relationships with current and potential customers on social media, the value of your social impressions is increasing due to its connection to an incredibly relevant audience: your sales team’s network.
  • Engagement and conversion: Interactions like likes, shares,comments, and clicks[GU2]  are valuable as they let you know what interests your audience. Furthermore, these actions can be the beginning of a relevant touchpoint on your customers’ buyer journey. This journey can be entirely digital or blended with events such as web conferences or physical gatherings. It can also simply be a conversation with one of your sales reps.
  • New deals or deal value: Eventually, social selling will contribute to your sales team closing new business. The way to close the deal can look different every time since there is a range of possible social selling contributions. These can range from deals that start with a single post or a conversation with a social contact who has not been interested in your product or service before to situations in which customers have been nurtured across different marketing channels, including social media. Are you wondering how to assess the attribution that social selling has had to specific deals? This part can be complicated, but it is not impossible. When considering social selling’s contribution to new business, give yourself a range. Assuming your range was 10% to 20 %, let’s evaluate your case and analyze the result. Would social selling still make economic sense?

How long does it take until you see social selling results? 

Social selling is a marathon, not a sprint, so give yourself time. This mindset is especially critical to remember at the beginning of your social selling journey. 

Refrain from overly precise projections and expectations at the outset of your program. Instead, embrace a margin that resonates with the dynamic nature of the endeavor. Success in social selling is a gradual journey, typically maturing over three to six months before yielding the initial results. Allow yourself and your sales team the time to work some social magic, track the progress, and modify strategies as necessary. Remember, the artistry of social selling flourishes with patience, consistency, and strategic refinement[GU3] .

What numbers can you expect from social selling?

We know you want to see some facts and black-and-white numbers, so let’s assume you have a group of 30 enthusiastic sellers with whom to start your social selling program. If approximately 60% of them (around 20 salespeople) stick with the program and share four posts per week, each person posts 200 times a year. Our rule of thumb is that you should see roughly two relevant engagements per post. We define relevant engagements as engagements by existing or prospective customers. This strategy promises you around 400 relevant engagements per year per social seller. Imagine that approximately 5% of these engagements turn into conversations with potential clients and 10% of these conversations into new deals. Depending on your deal value, this can be significant additional revenue for your company (as we’ve illustrated in the graphic below). 

Now or never: Take action to unlock the power of digital marketing through social selling!

Are you ready to have some critical conversations with your leadership to make the business case for social selling? You now have all the information you need to set your business up for social selling success. Remember our input on key factors such as measurement options and tactics used to evaluate success, and feel free to contact us if you’re interested in a more personal conversation about your business, measurements, or expected results. We are happy to set up a personal call and help one-on-one.