As a solutions engineer at Sprout Social, I work with our customers to help them uncover the power of social across their business, from optimizing digital workflows to making the most of the tools in their martech stack.
The customers I speak to daily, especially those in the B2B space, are always concerned about proving their return on investment for social media. There are no impulse buys in the B2B SaaS industry and quantifying the impact of social media within the buyer’s journey is not always straightforward.
At Sprout, we’re dedicated to shaping solutions that amplify sophisticated social strategies, creating a direct link from social insights to return on investment. The Total Economic Impact™ of Sprout Social, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Sprout, found that a composite organization, based on real interviewed customers, realized a 233% return on investment (ROI) and $1.3M in savings over three years.
I spoke with Loren Siegel Atlassian’s Community and Social Engagement Senior Team Lead to learn how Sprout helps her team execute premier social customer care, boost team productivity and understand their audience to craft better community connections.
Atlassian started using Sprout Listening in 2019. In 2021, the company incorporated the Smart Inbox and Publishing add-ons. They currently have 55 users across various teams including product marketing, corporate communications, product communications and community.
Loren says there are many moving parts in B2B software companies, but our platform helps nurture a more connected experience.
“Sprout removes the curtain of mystery between all teams that touch social media. It really helps bring visibility between the marketing, customer care, communications and brand teams,” she says.
Using Sprout reporting to define and measure success
Before using Sprout, measuring performance was a convoluted task for Siegel’s team.
“I really struggled with pinpointing key performance indicators (KPIs) and health metrics for the team. Before Sprout, I didn’t have access to easy-to-use reporting or the ability to share reports with internal stakeholders,” she says.
Siegel says proving ROI is a primary focus, and she uses our platform to help her set goals and craft social strategy. Sprout makes reporting and understanding performance more efficient and digestible.
“Sprout helps me set KPIs and discover goals that are attainable and data-supported,” she says.
She uses Sprout to guide and define her team’s three main KPIs: average first reply time, response rate and increasing “Brand Love,” which refers to the engagement rate on positive brand interactions. Brand Love is also the social team’s primary OKR.
Siegel selected these KPIs based on data available in Sprout through reporting.
She uses Atlassian team collaboration software like Jira and Confluence in conjunction with Sprout’s reporting features to share her team’s successes. On a weekly basis, Loren provides updates on her Jira tickets to keep leadership and stakeholders informed on how the team is performing toward its goals. Along with weekly updates, Siegel uses Confluence to collaborate with her team for their monthly business review. Finally, each quarter Loren publishes a quarterly health report in Confluence using data from Sprout to share across the organization.
“The quarterly health report goes into more detail about the tactics that we used throughout the quarter to reach our goals. In Sprout, I find examples of successful moments that helped us achieve our goals. It’s been a nice way to show what my team has accomplished and what we’re thinking about for the future,” she says.
Supercharging customer care
Siegel says her team was originally—and still is at its core—a social customer care team. She explains one of Atlassian’s values is “Don’t f*** the customer,” and that’s always at the heart of everything they do, especially when it comes to customer care.
To keep response times low, Siegel has a framework for her team that allows them to work by network and product line across various channels. But she notes that Sprout’s user-friendly reporting provided the insights her team needed to become faster.
“In the first eight to nine months of using Sprout, before I was tracking the average first reply KPI, we were averaging about seven and a half hours for a first reply,” she says.
“When I recently checked, the team had an average reply time of two and a half hours. We shaved so much time off our response time. This was amidst other major projects, including a conference, so there was a lot of activity on social media,” she says.
Insights from Sprout also help Loren dig deeper into Atlassian’s social customer care performance.
“I discovered in Sprout that of all the incoming messages, it takes my team the longest to provide a response to technical questions,” she says, “We identified this by exporting data from the Smart Inbox, using tags and average first reply time to filter down and better understand our opportunities to improve,” she says.
The team’s first reply goal is four hours, but the data showed it was taking between 16 and 19 hours to provide a first response for technical questions.
“We were even able to drill down into how long it takes us to respond to technical Jira questions versus technical Confluence questions,” she says.
This data allowed us to look at alternative solutions to shorten that response time, from ensuring we have more detailed technical FAQs to having closer links to support engineers.
“[I want to] create a way for my team to get users seeking help on social into our support portal as effortlessly as possible,” she says, “If it takes us 19 hours to respond to a technical question on Twitter, that’s effing the customer. The data helps me make that business case to bring our trained support engineers into the process,” says Loren.
“My team acts as more of a concierge or front door rather than technical support. It would be impossible to train my team on all of the technical intricacies of our products, so I would rather they provide a really great customer experience,” she adds.
Saving time with collaborative tools
Sprout’s user-friendliness also saves time onboarding new teammates and streamlines collaboration, especially for Atlassian’s marketing managers. Here are just a few of the tools Loren and her team rely on to save time and increase productivity.
Maintaining transparency in the Smart Inbox
“My team lives out of the Smart Inbox,” she says.
Instead of using another platform to communicate internally or with audiences on social, everything is available within one centralized channel.
Her team also uses various custom Inbox Views to organize incoming messages.
“In some cases, we’re looking at the people who are @-mentioning all of our handles. We have other views set up with brand keywords, automated tags or VIP lists. [Seperation] allows us to segment the people who are talking directly at us versus those who are talking about us,” she says.
“We have a host of marketing managers for each [Atlassian] product and they each have their own group within Sprout. Everyone has their own swim lane, but at the same time there’s a lot of visibility,” she says.
Supporting a global team with Conversations
Sprout Conversations also streamline asynchronous communication for Siegel’s global team. They can quickly see who published a post in case there is feedback later on, such as a broken link or typo, and coordinate updates.
She explained that if a teammate in another country looks into an audience message, they may not get a response in real time, but they can leave a comment in the team Conversation and @-mention the next team member who’s coming online.
“[They] might link the Slack message in the Conversation so there’s a historical record of what everyone has done, everyone who has touched the message, and the status of where they’re getting help or where they’re trying to find the answer,” she says.
She also expressed that if one person on the team is out of office, someone else on the team can swiftly jump in to support them. Her example is just one testament of the collaborative workspace tools that customers tell me they enjoy when using Sprout.
Taking ownership with Tagging
Siegel also notes how using Tags in the Smart Inbox allows her to influence strategy and internal change management.
“We’re able to hand over tasks that are better suited for another team or department, and I have the data to show why,” she says.
For example, over the past few months, her team noticed a lot of Brand Love for Trello that the team wasn’t able to easily see and might miss. She had her team go into the Smart Inbox and tag all of the opportunities for easy visibility. In one month, there were over 200 messages of Brand Love which would have been hard to track, respond to and could easily have been missed.
“Using Sprout enabled me to show strong examples of opportunities that empowered and up-leveled the team to help boost the brand,” she says.
“I was able to make that case because of Sprout. I was able to pull strong examples of opportunities that could have helped boost the brand,” she says.
Championing community management
Siegel’s team also uses Sprout to reinforce their community-first mindset and provide a memorable customer experience. Siegel explained that her team is in the early stages of using Social Listening to power community management, but they have plans to incorporate it more in the future.
“We jump in on conversations that are happening about teamwork, work management or agile development—not necessarily our products,” she says, “We have three listening reports looking at the markets that we’re in. We will eventually use these reports to identify [specific] people talking about the market or the industries we want to break into.”
For instance, they have a query set up to listen for specific game developers on Twitter.
“We want to listen to what they’re talking about and provide solutions when they’re talking about Jira, Confluence and [other Atlassian] products to build their relationship with the brand. It’s been a fun new path for my team to focus on building community with a particular segment of professionals,” she says.
Siegel explains the Atlassian community started organically, but it’s up to her team to act as a lever of support to help it flourish.
“It’s really important to nurture [our community] and make sure they know that you’re listening and they can connect with you. That’s the biggest aspect for me—I want to make sure my team is creating connections and identifies the next step in the journey for them,” she says.
For instance, when customers complete an Atlassian University training course and post about it on LinkedIn, her team congratulates them and links them to next steps in the skill building journey, whether it’s another course, joining a community chapter or attending a virtual community event. They use UTM links to track the customer’s path beyond the LinkedIn post.
“We’re here to celebrate and promote their accomplishments and give them the tools they need to be successful with our products internally,” she says.
Unearthing bolder paths to ROI
My conversation with Siegel is similar to many discussions I have with our customers about proving the ROI of social.
With a solution that increases team productivity, makes customer service teams more efficient and removes the need for manual data aggregation and reporting, Atlassian unearths clearer connections between social and the bottom line.
To learn more about how Sprout’s platform helps customers drive business outcomes with social, read the Total Economic Impact™ of Sprout Social.