Social networking yields results2005-01-21
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 destinationCRM.com, 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.”