TALKING SALES 201: "ROI on Social Selling"

John Smibert

      "Identify the digital activities that contributed to successful sales" - Interview with John Smibert                                                               (Image adapted from m2social image)

Are you concerned about the investment of time and resource that social selling demands of you?  Are you getting a return on investment (ROI)?

In my experience a lot of organisations and individuals have invested too much into social selling without getting a reasonable return.  While some get an enormous return. What are the latter doing right.

Adam FraserI asked social media expert Adam Fraser for his advice on these questions.

He firstly emphasised that "There's no longer such a thing as digital marketing; we're marketing in a digital world. And we all know the buyer's journey has changed so much, digital has become so pervasive. The ultimate question is do you want to be where your buyers are researching your products and services?"

Digital and social selling activities need to be aligned to the buying journey and then measured and analytics applied to ensure we are maximising our ROI.

In this discussion Adam went on to provide insight on this subject.

If you are working on a content strategy in order to educate and influence your clients and and recognise the need to measure your ROI I encourage you to watch the short video discussion or read the transcript to learn more.


Adam Fraser is the founder of Echo Junction who help organisations and businesses leverage value from marketing and social media technology.


John: Hello, I've got Adam Fraser with me again - welcome back, Adam!

Adam: Thanks a lot, John!

John: Hey Adam, there's a big objection a lot of people raise to me about social media; they find they've put a lot of time and effort into it and they can't see the return. Now, I also know some customers of mine that get enormous return on their social media. But the biggest issue... Going back to the old days of marketing, the CEO would say, "I'm sure the marketing is producing a lot of revenue in the bottom line at the end of the day, but which 50% of the marketing is doing that?" A little bit the same in social media, isn't it?

Social Selling ROI 01 - cartoonAdam: I think so. I want to make a quote, that 50% of my marketing's wasted, I just don't know which 50%. But John, I had a guest on the podcast recently that said, "There's no longer such a thing as digital marketing; we're marketing in a digital world." And we all know the buyer's journey has changed so much, digital has become so pervasive. The ultimate question is do you want to be where your buyers are researching your products and services?

John: And that's a really valid point, and some of the discussions we've had today are all about that. Particularly as salespeople, we need to be there, monitoring, listening and producing good, valuable content when the buyer starts going through their journey, right?

Adam: Yes, that's right.

John: So, my point is if you're doing that and investing a lot in doing that, looking for the triggers and influencing and all of that, how do you know that that is creating revenue at the other end?

Adam: You're talking about attribution, John, and it's a very complex, tricky topic. There's multiple touch points and multiple factors that will go into any sale process, whether that's toothpaste, a car, or as you're talking about on more complex, long-term B2B sales process. There's truckloads of stats from Forrester and Gartner and many others about the B2B buyer journey, and we do know that digital is playing an increasingly important part, and social is an important subset of that.

Social Selling ROI 02 - conductorJohn: A lot of those stats are 50/50 thing, the 50%. We know it is creating revenue, but which 50% is creating that revenue? But there's some great tools out there and great concepts to be able to measure. I can tell you in a B2B environment, if I'm selling million dollar deals, when I close a million dollar deal, in this day and age we should be able to trace all the way back through the buyer journey, the sales and buyer journey, and identifying all the attributes. What were the touch-points that happened 6, 12, 18 months ago that started that process, and what happened along the process? And then we can accredit out social media strategy and the value it delivered to the end result.

Adam: Absolutely. And, again, a theme of our conversations today, John, is how marketing and sales is becoming a more technology-driven function. It's also big data and analytics are becoming increasingly pervasive. Whether it's the number of white papers that we've downloaded, the click-through rates on newsletters, likes and vanity metrics on some of the social media publications, engagement rates, the data is all there and the tools now exist to be able to pull that together and track it.

John: But I can tell you, if I put out a document and then get a million likes but it only generates one order at the end of the day, I need to measure whether the cost of getting that million likes was worth the one million dollar order at the end of the day. So that's what we have to measure, that whole journey and the investment we've made all the way along that, in social media and other activities of course.

Adam: Yes.

John: And that's not what a lot of us are doing, but in this day and age we have the capability to do that. We can measure every activity along the journey, and when we do get revenue we can track back and see what drove that revenue, right back to where the status quo was upset in the customer environment.

Social Selling ROI 03 - dollarAdam: Absolutely. Look, John, that's got to be the objective, demonstrating return on investment, tracking metrics, statistical analysis. The buyer journey, as we know, is a lot more multifaceted and it's no longer the straight line that it once was, but that shouldn't stop us attempting to do exactly what you're saying.

John: I think it's essential. In this day and age, with the data we have available and the analytics we have available, we can identify exactly what's giving us a return on investment on our social media strategy.

Adam: Absolutely.

John: We need to do it.

Adam: Correct.

John: Thank you very much - I'm glad you agree with me, Adam!

Adam: Thanks a lot, John!

Go to @adamf2014 or to see and hear more of Adam.


More TALKING SALES discussions with Adam Fraser:



Your Invitation: I invite you to join the Sales Leader Forum group on LinkedIn where you can experience informative discussions with your peers and sales thought leaders on subjects like the one we have discussed here. I also invite you to subscribe to the

   - Sales Leader Resource Centre here

   - Sales Leader YouTube channel here (300+ sales leadership videos)

Please Share: If you valued this article, please share via your Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook social media platforms. I encourage you to join the conversation or ask questions. So feel free to add a comment on this post - I promise to respond. If inclined please follow my LinkedIn post page here.

Want to touch base? If you have questions please feel free to contact me - email: john.smibert(at), Phone: +61 404857893 or Skype: john.smibert

Your B2B Sales Library

Need resources to help you sell or manage more effectively?

Ever wished you could find a wide range of B2B sales Resources in one library?

Check out the library here

It's packed with articles, videos, keynote speeches, Tools, templates, training materials, eBooks and eGuides.​

Subscribe to the Library Here


European Peer Group Chair Wanted

We have a number of new enquiries from sales leaders based in the UK, Europe and South Africa who are looking to join a peer group.

We need a Chair to facilitate this new on-line group. This is a valuable role that will be rewarded.

If interested read "Is a Forum Role for you?" and if the answer is "yes" please Contact Us


A Sales Leader Forum provides you with the opportunity to connect with your peers and create a support network of like-minded individuals to learn how they have dealt with the same challenges, issues and problems that you’re facing.



1000's of sales articles, videos and sales tools.  Sales leaders and their teams can access most of it free - simply subscribe.

This site brings you some of the latest expert thought leadership content on business to business (B2B) sales from specialists, sales leaders and sales professionals.