Social networking yields results

Posted on January 21, 2005 9:08 am by | Social Networking

CSO Insights partner Jim Dickie was skeptical when he tapped into the LinkedIn social network in search of some work-related results. Dickie, who writes about the experience at, started off with a genuine work need. Research his company conducted led him to wonder why some customer relationship management (CRM) tools were producing better results than others.

Social networking software was his first target. “These systems claim to increase the productivity of sales and marketing professionals by leveraging the theory of six degrees of separation, allowing users to tap into the existing affiliations of other professionals. Good theory, but does it work?” To find out, he wanted to talk to some executives using it.

Dickie already had a LinkedIn account, but had never used it.

I selected 30 sales executives I wanted to interview, and using LinkedIn I asked my network members to facilitate an introduction to these people I had never met. To my surprise 29 of these individuals accepted my request and passed it on to their contacts with a personal note of introduction. What then shocked me was that 23 of those targeted executives (including people in Europe and the Far East) accepted my request, and offered to consider helping with my research effort.

At this point I now had information on how to directly contact these sales execs. In following up with these individuals I was able to convince 18 of them to help me with my project. It equates to a 60 percent hit rate—compared with results from cold calling, this is very impressive.

The executives he interviewed also reported favorable results using social networking for CRM, particularly for “recruiting sales and marketing professionals, conducting market research, and helping with lead generation efforts.”

01/21/05 | 2 Comments | Social networking yields results



  • 1.I've thought for some time that social networking is the next new, new thing and LinkedIn does an excellent job of hitting the key targets a relational database offering needs to hit to grow: it's free; it's easy to enroll; it's value-added is obvious. LinkedIn also made a really smart move in allowing users maximum flexibility in how to tell their professional story, even if this results in some variation in profilie lengths, and so on. But I think the really big story will be when these relational databases move inside the organization and start to replace traditional org charts as a primary conduit linking functions and workflow. At the risk of shameless self-promotion, here's more on this from my blog:

    David Kippen | January 2005

  • 2.David, I couldn't agree with you more! Imagine a large company the size of a Hewlett Packard or General Motors. An employee looking to find someone who has experience with a certain problem can use the social network to find someone he's never heard of via the six-degrees concept. In fact, this was identified as one of the top tech trends for 2004 (that's not a typo -- 2004), but it was perhaps a bit optimistic. I wouldn't even call it a top trend for 2005. But it's inevitable that social networking will have a huge impact on organizations internally.

    I enjoyed your blog post, by the way.

    Shel Holtz | January 2005 | Concord, CA

Comment Form
What is the three-letter acronym for the podcast For Immediate Release?

« Back