How Social Selling Transformed Three Organizations

See how adopting social selling increased opportunities, shortened sales cycles, and lead to more closed deals for industry leaders SAP, Hyland, and PTC.

May 7, 2015


The best transformation stories inspire us because they show how hard work can reveal hidden potential. We root for the mechanic who sees the sleek race car hiding in the average sedan. We applaud the home re-modeler who reveals the showplace home within the unassuming house. When the results are amazing, it proves the transformational process was worth the time and effort.

Does your sales organization have a more efficient, more profitable organization just waiting to be unleashed? Adopting social selling across sales and marketing is a good way to start tapping into that potential. Read on to see what happened when three organizations put in the effort to transform their sales and marketing processes.

1. SAP Expands Their Pipeline

The Organization: SAP is the world leader in enterprise software and software-related services, with a presence in over 130 countries. Today, SAP is the biggest provider of cloud solutions, with 80% of Fortune 1000 companies using the organization’s software. We’ll look specifically at their social selling approach in the Asia Pacific region.

The Challenge: Because cloud solutions buyers tend to make decisions quickly without contacting multiple vendors, SAP’s APJ(Asia Pacific Japan) organization needed to get to buyers quickly and establish themselves as subject matter experts. They also sought pipeline management to nurture relationships with prospects who are not ready to buy yet, and to expand reps’ contacts within client organizations.

The Process: Sales executives took the initiative to champion social selling across the company. Sales managers underwent social selling training to ensure social selling KPIs were part of the review process. Sales teams received local training, on-demand tutorials and videos, and attended social selling workshops. Recognition programs helped to turn early adopters into regional role models.

The Results: SAP’s sales pipeline increased by 40% in the APJ region. SAP estimates over $4 million in revenue is directly attributable to the first stage of the social selling rollout.

The Takeaway: “The most impressive results come when they start posting content. Search has been hugely useful, but there’s also an appetite amongst our reps to take things to the next level and become thought-leading contributors.” Mark Ghaderi, APJ Sales Productivity & Enablement lead, SAP

2. Hyland Cuts Sales Cycles in Half

The Organization: Hyland is the creator of OnBase, a software suite of document, process, and case-management solutions that help organizations streamline processes and become more efficient. Over 12,900 organizations use the software worldwide.

The Challenge: Out-of-date info made it difficult to find key decision makers. An average OnBase purchase involves six to eight buyers and it was taking 12-18 months to finalize a deal.

The Process: Hyland’s sales team adopted social selling with LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator. Internal networking allowed sales pros to double or triple their number of contacts at target accounts. Social selling enabled the team to more effectively identify and engage key decision makers while staying abreast of changes that might impact the sales cycle.

The Results: Hyland shortened their average sales cycle by 60%. What’s more, Hyland’s sales pros report that social selling has cut their prospecting time in half.

The Takeaway: “So we've reduced sales cycles … 30 [to] 60 percent, which has been huge for us when you consider [it’s usually] 12 to 18 months. If you can condense that to four to seven months, that's a big deal.” --Mike Cachat, Industry Account Manager, Insurance Solutions Group

3. PTC Discovers Millions of Dollars in New Business

The Organization: PTC delivers technology solutions that transform the way products are created and serviced. The work of their 6,000 employees has allowed over 28,000 businesses to cut costs, reduce risks, and drive growth.

The Challenge: PTC needed to identify the right decision makers and build strong relationships early in the buying process, before buyers made key decisions with incomplete information.

The Process: PTC went all in on their social selling transformation with a sizeable global deployment. Their salesenablement team rolled out 501 Sales Navigator licenses across its global sales operations, using a regional sales enablement structure to make sure reps got the most out of Sales Navigator.

PTC then tailored Sales Navigator training to align with where different regions and reps were in their educational journey.They enlisted their high-profile sales executives to champion social selling and leverage their networks, which helped to provide warm introductions for the sales team. PTC also distributed materials for sales pros to share and adopted LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI) to guide their best practices.

The Results: More than $4.5 million in closed deals were influenced or supported by LinkedIn, with an additional $44 million LinkedIn-supported deals in open pipeline. PTC’s sales team has also reached over 2,000 prospects and booked 260 meetings through LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

The Takeaway: “It’s all about sharing those insights and proving we have domain knowledge and thought leadership in key areas. We’ve established great support channels to share content and build professional brands for our reps.” –Julian Lee, Sales Enablement Director EMEA

There’s no denying that transformations take effort. It’s one of the reasons these before-and-after stories are so compelling; we know it took time and work to make the transformation happen, which makes the picture of the retooled sports car or remodeled house even more striking.

In the same way, adopting social selling involves commitment from sales leaders and sales teams to make it happen. Fortunately, it’s worth the effort. As these case studies show, adopting social selling can lead to increased opportunities, shorter sales cycles, and more closed deals. For more tips on getting started on your transformation, download our eBook, How to Move Your Team to Social Selling.