Social Business for Sales, MarketingIf you are trying to find the best social business tool for your organization or simply looking to glean best practices and insights from those who have been there, there was a lot to learn from our recent webinar: How Social Business Tools are Accelerating Sales and Marketing. Read on for the webinar summary and the full event recording.

The webinar featured Elizabeth Brigham, Jive Software's product marketing manager overseeing social marketing and sales, as well as Jackie Bartolotta and Deepa Ramesh from Millward Brown, a leading market research company and Jive customer whose 5,500 member workforce are almost universally invested in the company's intranet, codenamed Greenhouse.

The State of Social Business

Brigham gave us some background on the Jive platform, but also a solid overview of social business in general. She highlight an often touted McKinsey study about how much time workers waste in meetings and shuffling through email. The Social Economy report makes a strong case indeed for the value of social tools, and Brigham pointed out the tools are simply a way to unlock people's potential.

"It's less about automation and more about unleashing people's real talents."

"Think about who that person within the company is that just knows lots of good stuff. How do we get to the core of that institutional knowledge?"

Social business tools seek to couple people with the information, resources and expertise they need, and Brigham highlighted three specific use cases where it can be truly effective. They are:

  1. Responding to requests for proposals (RFPs) faster
  2. Improving marketing campaign ROI
  3. Speeding up the on-boarding and ramping of new projects.

For those working with partners in their intranet/portal, it's important to tear down walls between those entities, Brigham said. "With social, we have a single war room for us to work together in."

Before companies dive into a program like this though, they need a strategy to be in place. Benchmarks need to be identified and culture sometimes has to be changed to get people out of email and into the social platform, Brigham said.

Build Your Own Greenhouse

Millward Brown, a market research company focused on advertising and brand building, started up its Jive social intranet system, dubbed "Greenhouse", 16 months ago. Greenhouse has a high rate of use, and so far, great track record, Jackie Bartolotta and Deepa Ramesh revealed in the webinar.

Millward Brown does a lot of ad copy testing, for example, and it's been using social tools for many years in the form of an older intranet system. Their previous system was simply outdated, and like many still in use today, made it rather difficult to find assets. The company looked around and chose Jive because it was scalable, mobile ready and trusted by large analyst firms, Bartolotta, Millward Brown's director of knowledge services said.

The company is a bit different than many in that in choosing its social business tools it had a mandate from the executive board to get it done. This is often the reverse case for many, and executive buy in is critical to success with social business tools. That being said, Greenhouse was implemented not for the Millward Brown workers, but by them.

Having them help build it created some pre launch buzz, Brigham noted, and within the first month of launch, 80% of employees were logged in.

The company asked workers what they wanted to see there via a survey, conducted quarterly updates and even built a pilot program with a large partner to test it out.

From there, product ambassadors were appointed, and office champions selected in each of the over 80 offices to help with training and answering questions.

Greenhouse by the Numbers.

Congratulations, You're Engaged!

Greenhouse has kept its members engaged because of how easy it is to access knowledge, Deepa Ramesh, Millward Brown's global community manager said. The old system made it hard to connect with people in other regions, for example, and now employees can quickly get perspectives from colleagues around the world.

Greenhouse is mostly a stock Jive layout with only a few customizations to make it look like Millward Brown's, Ramesh said, and keeping content fresh and relevant is key to engagement.

Another tool the company uses is a section called Can You Help. It allows anyone to drop in and answer questions people post more or less at random. It keeps people engaged and it allows others to see who is sharing what, and what topics are generally being discussed.

When the company celebrated its first year of the Greenhouse, a lively infographic was built that ended up going nearly viral, and it generally kept people involved in a new way.

"The Greenhouse has completely changed how we do work," Ramesh said.

It is part of people's routine and we always hear people say, 'oh that's in the Greenhouse' or 'look in the Greenhouse.' It's just Greenhouse, Greenhouse, Greenhouse all the time!"

Social Business Q&A

There were a great number of questions asked before the webinar completed. Here are a few insights shared:

Q: How did you build the business case and secure executive buy in for a social intranet?

Bartolotta: "We were in a unique position where the executive board came to us and said please do this. We didn't have to secure their buy in, but we did draw up a business case."

Q: How did you encourage internal adoption of your social business platform?

Bartolotta: "We had lots of content at the beginning and got lots of excitement going early. The first day we had people post updates from each region around the world as the day went on. We met with teams on a small basis, and answered their questions right away."

Q: Who or what department in your company owns or is responsible for overseeing and managing the Greenhouse? Who's responsible for technical resources, content creation, and who does the editing and the moderating?

Ramesh: "I report to the global head of solutions, because the Greenhouse was created for knowledge purposes. I run the Greenhouse together with three other members in the UK and I have an enterprise community manager and our head of knowledge. So, I manage all the content, and our enterprise manager actually does a lot of the technical things, but there's basically a team of four of us. We have a meeting every week, and most decisions we are able to make as a team."

Bartolotta: "People just go to Deepa and say, how do I get this up in an hour? People can email questions and any of the leaders can answer them from that email."

Q: Is the executive steering committee still involved after the one year mark? What gaps do they still see?

Ramesh: "They were more involved before the launch, but my boss is on the executive board."

Bartolotta: "Executives want to see more people involved. There are some who just aren't as active as others for whatever, sometimes personal (being shy, for example) reasons."

Q: How can a similar model be used for smaller businesses?

Elizabeth Brigham (Jive): "Smaller businesses often use it for more specific uses. Even large companies sometimes only use Jive for certain teams. Our latest release has been built with templates specifically for SMBs and small teams, for example."

Q: How did your HR dept manage [sensitive] social content? (privacy, etc)

Bartolotta: "Our HR team is not using personally identifiable content in the Greenhouse."

Ramesh: "Private stuff stays in private groups. Admins can see those groups, but they are private. Our global HR person is active there, and she is on top of the updates."

Q: How frequently does the senior executive team engage with employees and provide feedback to content shared by employees in the Greenhouse?

Bartolotta: "Very frequently. More than half the team are there on a daily basis. Employees are excited by that because they don't often have physical access to that group."

The entire session is below, so bookmark it and feel free to leave comments or questions about social business, Jive, our webinar format or anything you think will move the discussion forward.