Social Business – Going from Qualitative to Quantitative

Posted on March 27, 2013

Social Business Study

In many organizations social business seems like a qualitative exercise. They think, “We need to do this because it will make our organization work better together.” Ed Brill says this perspective would be short-sighted.

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★ Social Business – Going from Qualitative to Quantitative

Social Business Study

IBM decided to put some quantitative data around social business to find out if social was helping them as a business. Like most organization IBM has inside sales, which they call Teleweb since they use phone, email, etc. talking to customers. So, they decided to take a closer look at their Teleweb team and ask, “When using social, are they demonstrably more successful?”

IBM had Rutgers and Duke researchers come in, set up control groups, and then track metrics. They found the Teleweb team that used a combination of public social tools and internally deployed tools, like IBM’s Connections, were a lot more effective.


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Social Sales Closed More Business

  • The inside sales team using social had 26% more leads.
  • Closed 3% to 7% more business.
  • Their cycle time was faster.

Based on these results they attribute this increased effectiveness to the sales reps having a better internal digital reputation.

For instance, in the past a product manager may only know a name of a sales rep. Now having the ability to get to know the sales rep virtually, the product manager is more inclined to help the sales rep since there is at least a digital relationship versus some random email they would have received in the prior generation of collaboration.

With the abundance of interconnections and collaboration there is more success with information self-service. Sales reps are finding the files they need, answers, or learning from other sales reps.

From the outside, customers who may not want to take a call from a rep can now check out what actual humans are saying on the website. They can read comments, insights, without marketing talk, and chat with other real customers. IBM has proven this combined approach of social business from the inside and outside outperforms the competition.

Watch The Video Here

Ed Brill
Author of Opting In: Lessons in Social Business from a Fortune 500 Product Manager
Director, MobileFirst
IBMThis post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.


About Steve Farnsworth @Steveology

Mid and large technology-based companies hire Steve to implement strategic initiatives that generate demand and leads through targeted content, social, and digital channels. He uses all of a company’s digital touch points to increase demand for their products, build brand preference, shorten sales cycles, and grow customer loyalty. To contact him call (650) 331-0594.