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The Business Case for Social Selling and Social Transformation


The Business Case for Social Selling and Social Transformation

Before we get into the business case for social media and social transformation let’s look at…

The Business Case for Email!

A friend of mine was telling me the story about how he was paid by a company to build a business case for email.  Now before you spit out your coffee and say how what utter rubbish and move onto the next blog.  This was in the day, before the internet and before everybody had an email address.  Stick with me there is a point to this.

The management was totally against it. What would happen to the typing pool? Would this mean the management would need to learn to type? They didn’t have time for this.

Also having a personal assistant they could dictate letters to and would make the coffee it was also a status symbol.

Email was just a shiny new object that would just go away. Anyway emails were not legally binding, the only way you could contact any company, bank, lawyer, was via letter.

My friend went on to tell me that his business case for email was rejected and they decided not to move ahead as it would never catch on.

But Progress Happens

I remember the day our typing pool was made redundant. Next day our 386 laptops arrived with Amipro word processing application and Lotus 123 spreadsheet on them.  (The techies told us that Microsoft Word and Excel would never catch on.)

Of course senior management still had their emails printed out, they wrote on the paper copy and the personal assistants types the comments back into email and sent the emails back.  None of the senior managed used their laptops.  I know companies where it still happens.

What has this got to do with social?

The Business case for social

Was recently in a meeting and person turns to me and said, yes we are doing Social Selling.

“Are you?” I said

And they turned their note book around for me to read.

“Yeah, I’ve just got off a call and made these notes”.

The notes were:

  • Have a photo in your LinkedIn profile.
  • Have a buyer centric job title.
  • Compete the summary on LinkedIn and fill out your job description.
  • Link to people.
  • Post content everyday.
  • Pretty much what you get in the Forbes articles …. so that’s social selling then?

No.  But the fact this person has been on a call, had written this down in a note book, meant she WAS a social seller. Bingo!  How difficult can it be?

Well it depends….

If you want few results and the project to be deemed a failure, carry on.

Social Selling requires, intent. Senior Management sponsorship. Clear objectives and measures. It is great that well meaning people run webinars, but the first thing the attendees do after these webinars is go back to their desks and do what they did before.  After all, we all know that the phones rings there are other priorities.

Related: 5 Attitudes That Say Your Organisation’s Not Ready for All-Out Social Media

As Brain Solis said “We tried digital transformation, but ended up in meetings.”

So what should companies do?

  1. Get Board / C-Level buy in and commitment. This means that if anybody stops one of the board members and says “what is this social stuff all about” that person can clearly articulate the social mission of the company.
  2. Note if you board don’t get social, then we would recommend a bottom up approach. Still requires management support. Some say it’s the future of the company at stake here.
  3. You can now move to the departments, sales, marketing or Human Resources probably the first. As mention above, there needs to be clear objectives and understanding.

As with any change program, DLA is not sure that most companies can do this alone. Realise we are biased but there are too many empires, chiefdoms and people who want to keep the “typing pool.”

When Tim and Adam set up DLA they did because when the spoke to the “you know who professional services companies” they talked a good story but when pushed they didn’t actually know Social.

For example one company we know that talks a good story about transformation externally actually refuses to change themselves.

So if you do decide to make the journey yourself then please ask your short list….

  1. How has social transformation worked for your company, look the team members up on Social do their social profiles look like leaders?
  2. Also ask them “When you start on Monday, what will you do?” Don’t forget to have the BS detector switched on.

If you are unsure, give us a call. We are big enough to help but small enough to care.

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