In the very early days of social, many business-to-business (B2B) sales executives regarded such social networks as Twitter and LinkedIn with skepticism. Brand awareness, huge numbers of followers, and even the occasional sale might be nice, but business success is driven by predictable, scalable outcomes. Where was the measurable return on investment (ROI)?
As B2B companies partner with vendors, more success stories are emerging that link social-selling initiatives to increased pipeline velocity, lead conversions, and efficiency. Here are a few. Weight Watchers (Corporate Programs)
In addition to its consumer brand, Weight Watchers has added a corporate sales initiative targeted at companies wanting to offer employees the option to take part in the Weight Watchers program.
Duncan Ellis, national corporate sales manager at Weight Watchers Australasia, explains that the main challenge was how to build a targeted database of decision makers. "We had previously relied to a large extent on organic growth to drive corporate sales, but we needed a more proactive approach," Ellis explains.
By partnering with LinkedIn and adopting its Sales Navigator solution, Weight Watchers tripled its database of corporate sales leads within the first six months of adoption and saw an increase in both response rates (by 20 percent) and conversion rates. Says Ellis, "LinkedIn gave our corporate business managers the opportunity to have direct, high-level conversations with decision makers, which was a huge factor in building quality leads and an improved conversation rate."PayPal
Currently, more than 5.5 million Australian consumers rely on PayPal when transacting online or on a mobile device. Paul Weingarth, head of field sales at PayPal Australia, was looking for a quicker way to provide his team with more accurate leads and to move away from purchasing rich data that required costly data scrubbing.
"We don't need all that rich data, just a company name, and then we go to LinkedIn, search, and find the right person. It reduces sales cycles and provides more opportunities," says Weingarth.
In addition to achieving nearly 3,000 percent ROI on their investment in LinkedIn, PayPal reduced sales cycles by 25 percent and established multiple threading through its accounts. Weingarth explains this multithreaded approach
has helped eliminate the risk of losing opportunities, as in the past there was only one reliable key contact within any given account. Thanks to LinkedIn, the PayPal team now has a secure foothold, and accounts are not nearly as vulnerable to churn. SAVO
SAVO's on-demand application combines proven sales and marketing best practices to address all aspects of the sales-enablement challenge â spanning people, process, content, and technology. SAVO turned to LinkedIn to generate new leads more quickly and efficiently.
Using LinkedIn's TeamLink solution, the SAVO team is now able to share individual connections across the entire team, thus expanding the team's network of potential opportunities. Advanced search capabilities help SAVO team members gather intelligence on prospects and create more targeted and relevant pitches.
LinkedIn's Sales Navigator solution has also helped SAVO see net new revenue of $1 million over a period of 18 months. Says Eric Marcy, SAVO's vice president of marketing operations and business development, "Leveraging LinkedIn Sales Navigator has enabled our sales organization to gain access to our ideal customer profiles faster and more precisely. The net result is more quality leads in the pipeline, which helps us capture a greater share of the market."