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by Alex Low | @Alexander_Low

But we have always done it this way. Feels like the William Wallace cry for freedom in Braveheart, except this is not a cry for freedom, more like an excuse. To protect their job. 

People for the most part, especially under the watchful eye of management, don’t really like to cause problems or upset the apple cart if you will. Tow the party line, keep management happy and all will be well. There is however a problem with this approach; when management start to understand that there may well be a more effective way of achieving an outcome, and they have either learnt this themselves, by reading about what the competition is doing differently or, when an external consultant shares the latest insight and thinking with them, they will start to question why are the people we employ to advise us on this, not advising us. 

In my case, I am that Consultant. The outcome I want to help you achieve is more effective inbound business opportunities or outbound business development / account development; all built around a social selling framework. This is built on my 15years plus experience in sales & marketing, 5 years’ experience in social selling, including leading the first ever social selling programme in the commercial real estate sector. I have worked across 4 different industries, primarily in the professional services. 

Yet it is telling when I meet with potential clients, walk them through some facts, insight and data about the business they work for overall in terms of their social behaviour, some of the technology platforms available, which they may already have – there is usually a pause, followed by – Why is our marketing department / social media / sales enablement team not bringing this latest thinking to us.?

It is never a problem that they may not necessarily have the skills / experience / bandwidth to actually deliver; but the fact that we are not even being challenged by them on any of this, this is where the problem lies. 

“It is evident they are just in job protection mode, and it is just not good enough anymore” – word for word this is what one of my clients said to me. 

This is not a blog bashing the hard-working teams in the aforementioned departments. There will be a few reasons, in my experience, of why this is so :

  1. Blind ignorance – they just don’t know, and don’t know where to look to learn
  2. No real desire to learn – happy with the 9-5 and keep their life simple
  3. They do not feel empowered by the business to challenge and explore new ideas for fear of failure

Employee 1, they may well be able to be taught, or given licence to be able to learn; however experience tells me that this is just how they are and will be unlikely to affect any real change

Employee 2, well, what can I say. If this is what you are happy with, then great. If not, then some hard conversations ahead. In this time of unprecedented change in processes & technology, you need to employ sponges who have a desire to be at the (b)leading edge of what is happening.

Employee 3 – these are you change makers, and you need to find them & nurture them. Empower them to go out there and take the business out of it’s comfort zone. Failure is not a problem, as long as it is quick and you learn from it.

If you want to try a little test to see where your teams are on this, ask them for the last 3 months of web & social traffic data to the website because you would like to understand what content people are consuming to help guide your sales strategy based on the intent data – then let me know what the answer is.

Before I became a consultant, my mantra at my previous employers was this – “I will know when I am executing my role really well, because there will be no need for my role” – what I meant by this was this, I saw my role as helping the organisation understand the behaviour changes, help with the processes and show how technology can support all of this, to the point where I am not needed any more.

This is still how I see my role as a Consultant – if myself & my colleagues Tim & Adam are doing a job well for you, then we should have a finite relationship with you & your team.

People who read this article also read these:

The fundamental cornerstones of a successful social seller

It’s time to be brave

Social Selling and Machine Learning

Digital Leadership Associates: We are Global Social Media Management Consultancy. We do three things: Social Media StrategySocial Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email or call one of our founders on 00 44 7823 534 557 and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.

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