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Last week was not a good week, not a good week at all.

Last week was not a good week, not a good week at all.

by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

Last week our dear friend Reggie Bradford lost his battle with cancer and the world will be a significantly emptier and less exciting place as a result.

Reading the testimonials from people at their discovery of his passing is fascinating because what I saw and knew was exactly what everyone saw and knew. His overwhelming kindness and a sense that he always had time for you and an interest in YOU the person instead of just what your connection with him might generate.

I met Reggie whilst I worked at Oracle. He was a Senior Vice President, I was a relatively new hire. We met at a client VIP visit where he was a guest speaker and he was there “to woo and impress” the clients, which he certainly did with a typically charismatic and humorous keynote speech. After the event we all went our for dinner and I ended up sitting with Reggie and we talked…and talked…and talked…and as clients and staff gradually drifted away as the evening drew to a close, we continued to talk late in to the night.

Before that evening we had never met, after that evening we were friends. From then on we often used to go for coffee or a meal when schedules allowed. Sometimes in London, sometimes in Istanbul or Dubai, but we would always get together if we could. After I left Oracle we still continued to meet-up and Reggie was always happy to be an advisor and sounding board for new ideas and he offered great advice but never instruction.

His role heading up the Oracle Global Startup Ecosystem meant that in my travels when I met someone who needed his guidance I would introduce them to Reggie and the feedback was always the same. Wow what a smart guy…what a lovely guy.

I know that Tim has a similar story to me. It seems that everyone has a similar story to me.

He was a serial entrepreneur who was massively successful. He was a hugely intelligent, smart and well read man. He was charismatic and gentle in equal measures. But above all he was a kind and thoughtful human being and a good friend.

We at Digital Leadership Associates and all of our network that we connected to Reggie will miss him enormously.

If you never had the privilege of meeting Reggie, read this…it’s a great legacy which might help you and will give you some insight in to a truly great man. 

RIP – Reggie Bradford 

Sales and Marketing Is it Time to Merge?

Sales and Marketing Is it Time to Merge?

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

When, Adam, Hugo and I started writing our new book “SMarketing” which is available from Amazon the 3rd October we spent time re-looking at the marketing and sales process.

Classic process is that marketing create leads and then hand them to sales, who then say they are rubbish. So sales go off and create their own. Then if you are lucky, some sort of qualification process is put in place in the marketing handoff.

Either way there is a handoff or often worse there is a massive gap between the two departments.

The thing is, that with the advent of the internet sales and marketing is changing. And it has to as people are buying differently.

Traditionally marketing was involved in brand and lead generation, now with the advent of social selling and employee advocacy sales and HR are in control of the brand and sales is control of the lead generation. Which is why we are advocating a merger of the two departments.

That’s all very well but there are too many books that talk about a “why” but not a “How”. In my book “Social Selling – techniques to influence buyers and changemakers” I wrote a handbook on how to social sell. With Smarketing, we have done the same and written a book on how to create a Smarketing environment within your business.

The Book Structure

The book opens with an Introduction to the current state of sales and marketing as we see it. From the macro issues that are driving digital transformation to the micro issues in the way that the internet has totally changed the way we buy.

We then embark on two chapters that look at why sales and marketing isn’t currently working, building up to the main meat of the book which explains how to implement a Smarketing program

When we say implement this is real “nuts and bolts” stuff and we take you through the actual steps if you are a leader or a person on the “shop floor” that will be doing the work.

We include, diagrams, questions to ask yourself and your colleagues (as you travel on your Smarketing journey) as well as creating an on-line community for you to ask questions of. We couldn’t write a book without social media being involved, could we? 

It wouldn’t be right not to set out a chapter on where things can go wrong. You are going to be part of a change program and people won’t want to change. You need to be equipped with what issues you will face and how to deal with them.

There is a chapter on the tools you might like to look at to support your program and we look at intent data as well as other supporting tools.

The final chapter before the conclusion is on how to start your own Account Based Marketing (ABM) program. Pretty much a whistle stop tour, but it will equip you with the processes to make your ABM program a success.

In the conclusion we take you through where we see Smarketing and Marketing will be in the future.

All written in a work book style that you will want to get “off the shelf” time and time again. Note there is a Kindle version, as there is any electronic version you might want, it’s just it’s easier to get a book off the shelf. In my humble opinion.

People who read this article also read these:

The Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) – Marketing Flywheel

Marketers need to wake up and smell the coffee.

Have you been social selling for longer than you thought?







Smarketing: How to Achieve Competitive Advantage through Blended Sales and Marketing” is available on all Amazon platforms click here


Blowing your own trumpet?

Blowing your own trumpet?

by Phil Stubbs | @PhilStubbs14 | LinkedIn

It’s not big and it’s not clever but social media is awash with self-proclaimed experts. Yes, I’ve covered this before but there’s so much blowing of one’s own trumpets by so many, I have an idea – all get together and see if you can join the LSU Tigers Marching Band as they love a bit of trumpet blowing. Check them out here.

LinkedIn and Twitter aren’t the place to harp on about how great you are, would you do that every time you were talking to family and friends? Telling everyone how you are the world’s best sales trainer that was born at 1103am on a Tuesday. How you were voted the number 1 social nobody, or the world’s best bore.

Having a huge number of twitter followers means zip because if it meant something they would all be buying into your preaching, paying for your overpriced training or your book that actually tells them nothing new. Which means you wouldn’t have to fill every available piece of social profile real estate with banners proclaiming your greatness – you actually wouldn’t need to.

Like most people I prefer a LinkedIn profile that has a head shot and a hero image that isn’t branded or has a rah-rah ‘I love me’ banner (see a previous article).

If you’re an influencer and you are great at what you do then your reputation will precede you in a positive way. Splashing your alleged greatness across our screens can have the opposite effect.

Sir Richard Branson doesn’t bang on about how he is an English business magnate, investor, author and philanthropist. Or how he founded the Virgin Group, which controls more than 400 companies.

Ok, we may not be in his league but think about this – success means you don’t have to talk about yourself all the time. Conversely, talk about yourself all the time and it says ‘actually, this person most probably isn’t the best’. If we are interested in you, we would use Google to find out what the world thinks of you – not what you think of yourself.

You want your google search to show what others say about you, or interesting content you have written. Not ‘stuff’ written and posted by you on your own website and profile pages that’s just a lot of trumpet blowing. Keep that for when you’re on your own.

People who read this article also read these:

Account Based Marketing (ABM) in a Smarketing Environment

More people see your content on social media than you could ever imagine

Why a programmatic approach to social selling?

Why you Need to Merge not Align Sales and Marketing

Why you Need to Merge not Align Sales and Marketing

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

In our research for the book Smarketing we looked at the current state of sales and marketing and the way that the empowered buyer was changing and impacting on those traditional roles.

Before we dive into this its worth saying that sales and marketing has been on a constant direction of change. How many of us still send out mailshots? Or direct mail pieces (dmps)? Technology and an evolving buying has forced us or even made us evolve ourselves.

Marketing has always owned brand and to a certain amount of lead generation. But times have changed, none of us read advertising, we dont read corporate marketing and we avoid B2B websites as they are all the same. Everybody says the same thing, we are the best”, “we are number one. It all merges into one and is just noise.

The brand is now owned by the people of the organisation. We know that people buy people and the collective standing of all your employees represent the brand and they do this on-line. With the empowered employee now taking responsibility for the on-line presence.  Think about it, you don’t need to get all of your staff talking about the company every day.  One 500 word blog a month and this will slowly shout out the competition.

There is No Pipeline Anymore

In our research for the book we look at the current state of sales and marketing and there is a gap between marketing and sales.  This gap is one that often customers and prospects often fall through.  The pipe is now starts at awareness and goes through to close.  The people that will will engage with with pipe change as the buyers more through the buying process.

Buyers will go on-line and search for products and services, so you need to track intent data.  This will feed into a content creation process.  With buyers looking for insightful and educational content, marketing can still create this.  That said, buyers are also looking for people who will be the solutions to their problems, which it is so important that sales, marketing, HR etc are involved in the content creation process.

Here at Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) we publish a new piece of unique content everyday.

Different People at Different Stages in the Pipe

I’m not going to say that we need Marketing people at the start of the pipeline and sales people at the end of the pipe because in a new merged departments sales people are marketers as they use marketing techniques (we have after all always done this) to prospect.

Marketing people can start using analytics, using social media listening, using intent data, providing the advice and guidance to sales people as they use content and blogging as the new prospecting.

Smarketing: How to Achieve Competitive Advantage through Blended Sales and Marketing” is available on all Amazon platforms click here

People who read this article also read these:

The saturation of social media marketplace and a question for you to answer

Smarketing – Merge or Die – 4 Reasons to Merge Sales and Marketing

Why you should NEVER listen to your trusted advisor when it comes to social


The saturation of social media marketplace and a question for you to answer

The saturation of social media marketplace and a question for you to answer

by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

This week our good friend Simon Kemp came out with his “state of the nation” report – 2018 Q4 Global Digital Statshot which for us is a fantastic tool to see how the macro shifts in behaviour influence what we and our clients do at a more micro level. (you can see the report here)

One of the things that I notice straight off the bat is that the indications are that social media has reached saturation level. Facebook and Google identified that this was starting to happen 3 years ago that there was a ceiling of the number of social media users and that the only meaningful chance they have of increasing their reach is to increase the number of people with internet access. This makes the growth of social channels both slower (which we are seeing) and far more costly as it becomes an infrastructure project.

So, in the last quarter the percentage of internet users who are active on social media has actually decreased slightly, but the number of social media users has [again] increased.

However, as common sense tells you, as the percentage of people on social media increases there are fewer and fewer people left to convert to social media users and therefore growth is bound to slow.

So, as of this month there are 4,176,000,000 internet users and of those 3,397,000,000 are ACTIVE social media users. That means just over 81.3% of people with an internet connection are active on social media. Now consider this. People over 75 generally aren’t active on social channels, and children under the age of 8 aren’t either so that means that those portions of society (all of whom have internet connections) are counted in the 18.7% that aren’t active on social.

So this means that pretty much everyone (certainly everyone we want to talk to from a business perspective) is there now.

Another interesting fact is this (millions):

  • Facebook 2,234
  • YouTube 1,900
  • China 1,415
  • India 1,354
  • Instagram 1,000
  • QZone 548
  • Douyin 500
  • Sina Weibo 431
  • Twitter 335
  • US 326

Of the top 10 most populous places on earth only 3 of them are now countries, the rest are social media networks (if we chose to include messenger apps in this list then there would only be 2 – China and India – ranking 4 & 5).

So where once you might say that “my customers aren’t on social media” or perhaps “my customers’ aren’t influenced by social media” this isn’t true. Now, EVERYONE is on social media and we are all influenced by it..

Given that all of the evidence seems to suggest this position, I would pose the following question to YOU.

As adoption of social media continues to increase, as dwell time on social networks keeps rising, as the influence that these networks has on people both micro (clothing purchasing) and macro (democratically electing leaders/referendums) continues to rise… Why would you make social media and how you and your company are perceived and act on an adjunct to your company, sales and communications strategies rather than central to them?

People who read this article also read these:

The greatest challenge of marketing beyond 2018

Why A Good Blog Isn’t Measured on Word Count

Holiday reps of yesteryear – were like the cold callers of today.


It’s Two Years Since we Started Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) And ….

It’s Two Years Since we Started Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) And ….

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

It’s two years since Adam and I started Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) and everyday we are achieving our purpose, which is to change the world.

I was very lucky to work on a sales transformation at my last company where we took 2,000 sales people and 2,000 pre-sales (Sales Consultants) across Europe through a digital transformation and sales transformation. As a business we had seen massive, and I don’t use that word lightly, massive changes in the sales process. As a traditional “On Premise” software company we had to to pivot the business to being a SaaS/Cloud company. We saw sales cycles drop from 18 months to 8 weeks (the shortest sales cycles in Public Sector!). And new empowered buyer…I recall somebody from the Human Resources (HR) team coming back into the office and saying “that was a tough meeting, the client knew more than I did.” No shit Sherlock!

A great experience to draw upon when we set up DLA.

So what have we achieved?

I’m pleased to say that every client is using social to sell and Adam and I have been lucky that we are able to work with clients that want to make a difference in the world, and they do.

Some highlights:-

  1. Client that made 150% uplift in 2 months.
  2. SAP that are public saying that have created €1 Billion in pipeline
  3. Salesperson that got a $1 Million deal at only our second session.Anybody that tells you social selling takes a long time, does not what they are talking about!
  4. Loads of meetings with CEOs of companies through using social.
  5. Sale of two $300,000 all terrain vehicles and $1.4 Million of pipeline through one of our North American reseller clients.
  6. A client saving £45-60k in recruitment fees within two days of starting a project with us

Not bad considering 3 years ago the cold calling gurus said there was no ROI in social selling. These are the sort of figures that most companies would love to have.

What Does This Mean? – Increased Revenue – Less Cost

We are seeing companies increasing revenues by 20 – 30%, that is new / incremental revenue. Not to be sneezed at considering many marketers are saying to us “nothing works anymore”.

Our programs also mean less cost. We are seeing Marketers spending money on Advertising, Email Marketing, Corporate Marketing, Influencer Marketing, SEO, PPC and our social program means you can reduce your reliance on paid media and reduce your budget. Where we are working with the CMO of a business, rather than the Sales Director, we are seeing budget being moved from Advertising, Email Marketing, Corporate Marketing, Influencer Marketing, SEO, PPC to social.

Social is Self Financing

Based on the ROI above you can see that after running the initial pilot for social, the revenue it generates can then be invested, creating more revenue. Certainly the innovative and entrepreneurial companies we work with see this too.

What Lessons Are There in All of This?

At my previous company we tried webinars, nothing happened. We have also been called into sort social selling programs where people have tried to do it with webinars. Surely a digital program needs a digital response? I hear you ask. No!

Further from the point. We have all sat through webinars and not been interested and read the paper, eaten our lunch, caught up with email, catch up on sleep. That’s the problem. webinars don’t active all the people and that’s why we don’t use them.

DLA provide a process that we have now proven out at both large and small companies. It gives our clients with repeatability and they can be sure of the output. Not something you can do remotely.

Proud of Our Clients

I’m very proud of our clients, I’m also very proud of our team. A bunch of committed and dedicated people and you can see that from the innovative way they use social. I’m also very proud to say that every single one of our clients has seen a return on their investment and a positive ROI.

Social selling for many has now become business as usual, but the best is yet to come.

The Future

On the 3rd of October 2018, Adam, Hugo and I publish the book “Smarketing: How to Achieve Competitive Advantage through Blended Sales and Marketing,” available on Amazon here.

This book is based on two years of research.  In the book we publish the future state operating model for sales and marketing. When Matt and I wrote “Social Selling – Influencing Buyers and Changemakers” (available on Amazon here) it was the first book on social selling.  We wanted to change the narrative on social selling and we did.

The book, Smarketing is the future of sales and marketing.

Exciting times.

So …

If you would like to work for us, send me a note with your LinkedIn profile, I don’t need a CV, your LinkedIn profile will say it all.

Want to be a reseller, get in touch, we are looking for resellers, world-wide to join us on our journey.

Be a client, if you would like more revenue at less cost (and who wouldn’t) then give us a call my mobile is 00 44 7823 534 557 if you are outside the UK or 07823-534557 if you are in the UK. Or contact me on social or email me at

People who read this article also read these:

We’re hiring

The secret of creating content.

I waited and waited but as the days passed, no one phoned me.