social business imageSo your CFO doesn’t want your company to participate on the world’s global communication platforms, otherwise known as, ‘Social’?

Welcome to the 21st century. According to@IBMBigData, poor #custex resulted in an estimated $83 billion in lost annual revenue in United States alone. Everyone is selling their initiatives with better data and they are doing it across all digital properties, including the social platforms. A large business taking a defensive posture towards social media might have been thought of as conservative and wise in the late 2000′s, but more and more it is being interpreted as arrogant and eroding relevance. Your company, once like a gated community, has the opportunity to open up, like a shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon. With social platforms your company has the chance to meet your potential partners, and existing clients in a day-to-day conversation.

Doubting digital #CustEx spending in social channels today, is like doubting the telephone’s value at the dawn of the 20th century. The first metric I share with anyone about #social #custex, is: You exist now. If you don’t have a presence digitally, your existence is degrading day-by-day as generation C — ‘The Connected Generation’ — matures into adulthood. If you are trying to sell your CFO on the ROI of social, I have a few suggestions:

  • Calculating the minimal ROI of Digital is a simple equation: Take your known site conversion rate and multiply it by the increase in traffic directly from social platform properties.
  • Deliver some leads, some happy customer stories, and show them some money!
  • Show the CFO meaningful engagement with targeted people, which translates to warm phone calls and the eventual ringing of the register.

Companies must change or end up like Blockbuster. The power to convince your CFO is in illustrating a story backed by financial data. It is the business intelligence they need to see the value of and, embrace #CustEx innovation.

Today’s customers are stakeholders, there are many implications on the future of the enterprise, and now they have a voice through social platforms. Roadmaps can’t be like the Magic 8 Ball, where customers ask their sales rep a question, then shake them for an answer. Customers deserve, and expect, the TRUTH on product releases. Vendors can’t sell multi-year $1M+ deals on “Maybe we’ll get around to your product improvement requests” anymore. In the social era, the customer is as educated on your product features as your sales reps, and there is simply too much visibility into other products to claim your competition can’t become a solution for them. As well, vendors can no longer hide behind a sales process that is more complex than the IRS tax code. In the social era, customers have as much visibility as the vendor does to the public; therefore, enterprises must think like their customers and respond appropriately with speed and agility. Vendors can decrease churn by meeting real customer needs that surface in social platform discussions; ultimately, those met needs turn into positive customer stories, instead of cancerous complaints. And that is a result anyone in C-Suite can get behind.