Research Summary: Demystifying Social Business - Optimizing the Lead to Deal Process (Sales)

Forward And Commentary
Constellation Research pioneered the complete set of front office and back office use cases for social business in 2010. This report provides insight into a key mega-area -- lead to deal use cases. This best practices research report offers insight into two of Constellation’s primary research themes, the Next-Generation Customer Experience and the Consumerization of Information Technology/The New C-Suite.
A. Introduction
Social business initiatives have gained acceptance as a key driver in business innovation. Since 2010, organizations have experimented and successfully deployed social business initiatives across a variety of business processes. In Constellation’s recent 2013 survey of 237 social business adopters, more than a majority (57.8 percent) of the market leaders and fast follower respondents had moved from experimentation to scaling social business initiatives to match demand. This trend signifies the successful growth of social business across a number of use cases.
With over 50 use cases identified in the survey, organizations now have defined entry points to begin social business initiatives. Consequently, many businesses can learn from the experience of market leaders and fast followers. Constellation has curated eight mega-use cases for social business that cover key business processes such as:

  • Campaign to lead
  • Lead to deal
  • Incident to resolution
  • Kick off to delivery
  • Concept to production
  • Sourcing to acceptance
  • Hire to retire
  • Invoice to payment

This report focuses on the lead to deal mega-use case, which includes both traditional business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) situations such as territory management, collaborative selling, partner selling, crowdsourced intelligence, matrix commerce, save the deal and steal the deal. These use cases should provide a starting point for mapping out the sales journey.
B. Research Findings – As Adoption Progresses, Seven Major Use Cases Emerge for Sales Processes
The recent 2013 survey of 237 global social business adopters shows 57.8 percent of the market leaders and fast follower respondents scaling social business initiatives to match demand (see Figure 1). This shift from choosing the right go-forward platform in 2012 highlights a move from Level 3 (Evangelization) to Level 4 (Pervasiveness).  This first wave of people has started to see the benefits of social business initiatives and intends to scale them out throughout their organizations and value networks.  They have succeeded by finding executive sponsors, measuring metrics that matter and aligning with business processes.
Figure 1. Social Business Adoption Moves From Platform Consolidation to Scale

(right click to view image)
Seven Key Use Cases Emerge in Lead to Deal

The lead to deal use cases focus on how social business can improve sales team efficiency, reduce sales cycle time, foster collaboration and drive revenue. Lead to deal is a very popular place to begin social business initiatives as the management objectives for many organizations focus on operational efficiency and revenue growth. Constellation identifies seven use cases in lead to deal (see Figure 2):

  1. Territory assignment focuses on relationships not geographies.
  2. Collaborative selling taps into the entire organization’s network.
  3. Partner selling creates force multipliers in the sales force.
  4. Crowdsourced deal intelligence improves win rates.
  5. Matrix commerce creates a buyer-centric approach.
  6. Save the deal tracks customers through the sales funnel.
  7. Steal the deal uses influence to take deals from competitors.

Figure 2. Constellation's Lead to Deal Social Business Use Cases

The Bottom Line: Social Business Is Here To Stay
The moniker “social business” will disappear over the next 24 months. However, the concepts underlying social business will provide the foundation for good business strategy. The new abilities to take social, mobile, cloud and Big Data will converge to create new opportunities. The result - social business is just good business strategy.
C. Report Links
See the objectives, metrics, and starting points market leaders and fast followers use to begin their social business initiatives in lead to deal.  Buy the full research report on the Constellation Research website.
Your POV.
Ready to test out social business for your lead to deal process? Have as success or failure story? Any advice from your experience?  Add your comments to the blog or send us a comment at R (at) SoftwareInsider (dot) org or R (at) ConstellationR (dot) com
Please let us know if you need help with your Social Business efforts.  Sign up for a Constellation Academy Workshop or let us assist with:

  • Assessing readiness
  • Developing your social business strategy
  • Vendor selection
  • Implementation partner selection
  • Connecting with other pioneers

Reprints can be purchased through Constellation Research, Inc. To request official reprints in PDF format, please contact sales (at) ConstellationRG (dot) com.
Related Research:

Although we work closely with many mega software vendors, we want you to trust us. For the full disclosure policy, stay tuned for the full client list on the Constellation Research website.
Copyright © 2001 – 2013 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC All rights reserved.