How to Use the Networking ROI Tool for Sales and Business Owners

Measurement is Critical to Ongoing Business Success

If you don’t know what is working and what isn’t, you could be investing your time and money in the wrong places. This ROI tool was designed to help you assess if you are using these investments wisely.

To effectively measure a return on your networking investment you need to factor in two things:

  1. The time you are spending networking and your cost to do that. In other words, when you are networking, you are taking time away from other business activities and personal time. You need to calculate an estimated value of your time.
  2. The cost of networking. You should include any costs for all events you are attending and any related travel expenses such as gas and parking.

Click here to go directly to the Networking ROI Tool for Sales and Business Owners or continue to instructions and tips below.

When using this tool to calculate your networking ROI, take the following into consideration:

  •  How often should you measure your networking ROI?
    1. Since strategic networking is a relationship-based marketing approach, to accurately measure a realistic return on your time and money investment, you should measure over time.  You can’t expect to get business just by attending an event and meeting people for the first time. If you do, that is a bonus but generally not the norm. From the time you initially meet someone, establish rapport, follow-up regularly, it may take several months before he/she becomes a customer or a referral source. You should use the ROI tool to measure your networking efforts over a period of time, on a quarterly basis or what makes the most sense given your business model. For example, if you are attending 2-3 networking events a week, you may want to measure on a monthly basis. If you go to 2-3 networking events a month, then a quarterly view would be more appropriate.
    2. Another way to figure out how often to measure is to consider the length of your sales cycle.  When you meet someone, follow-up with that person and build a relationship, how long does it take for that relationship to turn into a business sale or referral? You can use your sales cycle to determine when to use the tool to calculate your return on networking investment. For example, if it takes about three months from the time you meet someone to get a sale, then you should calculate your return every three months or whatever makes sense.
    3. Finally, you can also use this tool for a specific event when you expect to meet a lot of people such as a large conference or tradeshow. To be proactive, you can estimate ahead of time to determine if the event will be an adequate event. This assumes that you have some historical information to draw upon. In addition, you can use this after an event to determine the event ROI.
  • Is your investment paying off? If you have a positive ROI, then your networking efforts are working. Now you need to understand if you are maximizing your investment.
    1. Are there things that you can do to further leverage the connections you are making?
    2. Are you following up with your contacts on a regular and consistent basis? If not, by being more proactive with your follow-up you could increase your ROI.
  • Are you losing money and wasting time? This is when you have a negative ROI from your networking efforts.
    1. If so, don’t immediately shut down your networking activities. You need to take the time to understand what is or isn’t working.
    2. Are you embracing strategic networking best practices? Review the contents of this toolkit to make sure you are fully utilizing all the steps in the process.
      • Is your personal brand distinctive and does it differentiate you from others?
      • Periodically test your elevator promise to ensure it is relevant and memorable. Have others evaluate your message including prospects.
      • Practice the principles of strategic networking
        • Mingle
        • Be a good conversationalist
        • Listen
    3. Evaluate your follow-up strategy. If you don’t have a solid process in place, you should implement one using the resources in step 4 of the networking toolkit
    4. Continue to measure your progress.

 

Exercise: Networking ROI Calculator for Sales and Business Owners