We can often become smarter after initial missteps. This is exactly what our customer learned after an initial false start with a social advocacy tool they purchased for their sales force. Even though the initial program was well thought out and had plenty of support, it never quite got off the ground. They learned the hard way about Gartner’s Technology Curve. Hot technology (like Social Advocacy) is often quickly adopted but can then just as quickly plateau and even go into free-fall if it isn’t properly nurtured.
Additionally, for this customer, the social sellers who routinely used the tool were talking mainly to a very small audience. A post-mortem analysis showed that the reach of each social seller was under 300 people for both LinkedIn and Twitter combined!
The next time around, this technology customer had a clear vision for success and what they wanted from a Social Selling program. When they approached us, they wanted training, program management, content and a platform to measure how the sales team was doing with social. Before bringing in the new program they asked us to benchmark the adoption rate from the prior tool. Furthermore, they wanted us to research industry standards for Marketing tool active adoption rates over the first 6 months of a similar program. In order to get the second set of metrics, we reached out to a professional consultancy familiar with rolling out Marketing tools to large companies in the technology vertical. After implementing our training and comprehensive program, we measured the first 6 months of active user adoption. Here’s how the team performed against the benchmarks.
This information was vital in letting us know how the program was performing. We proved it wasn’t going to be another “flash in the pan” because it was solidly grounded in engaging original and curated content. We vigorously measured the ‘active’ users. This meant that each user was logging into the tool and sharing content on average once per week over a monthly period. Additionally, when the ‘Gartner Curve’ lull came (see first diagram above), we were ready. We did a second training to reinvigorate the social sellers. We gave concrete steps that beginners, intermediates and experts could follow to get more active and grow relevant followers online. We even showed experts how to create online Twitter and LinkedIn lists and how they could interact with them daily. This provided the following boost:
Finally, we wanted to measure growth of the sellers’ social media networks. We decided it would be more important to measure the network size as a function of how much they shared to better represent the efforts sales was making. Our ‘average reach per users’ metrics got to the heart of how big the sellers’ networks on social actually were. We also measured total reach for the group to provide a clear-cut Marketing ROI that we bench-marked against promoting posts or tweets on LinkedIn or Twitter.