Today was our second Board meeting through Zoom.
As a start up, we decided early on not to have an office. We couldn't justify the expense of a WeWork office, they wanted $31,000 a year. We could do so much more with that, like hire a person.
We would meet at our Chairman's office. I actually enjoyed meeting my fellow Directors, not just for the ability to move the business forward but the sociability.
Now the Board meetings come to me.
I get to spend more time with my Partner and I get to spend more time do what I like to do around the house. Work / life balance I guess.
The Virtual Board Meeting
While the virtual Board meeting works for us, for other people I can imagine it has all been a bit of a shock.
But if the UK Parliament can run virtually, then so can a Board of a company.
I'm sure with many Board meetings they HAD to take place face-to-face, now they don't.
Why This is Important
It means that more of us are comfortable with being online. I spotted this the other day, which made me think.
Stéphanie Genin, vice president of global enterprise marketing at social media management firm Hootsuite
“After weeks of adapting to Zoom parties, video appointments with doctors, online schooling, social distancing and tapping into social media for virtually everything, will people be happy to go back to their old ways of working and engaging with each other?”
“The answer will be no. Social media has been holding communities together and organisations will need to assess how to manage the new normal.”
The Old Question About Leaders and Social Media Bubbles up
I also spotted this quote on Alex Low's Linkedin page
"Half of the businesses in the FTSE 100 and 67% of top 100 companies in the S&P 500* currently have CEOs with a presence on social media and while not all of these are regularly posting content, for those that are, the benefits of active engagement are clear."
The research is here
We Are All Online Has Our Company Caught Up
Everybody is now online. Churches, Schools, Working Out, Retail, Food, Sales and Marketing, my Mum's (82) Wine Group and even the Board's of companies.
So why isn't the rest of the business?
We know our prospects, customers, employees and future employees are online and on social, but we refuse to admit it and refuse to direct our prospecting and recruiting efforts at it.
The Networked (Digital) Leader
I've been in sales a few years now, started cold calling and sending letters and then sent emails when email took off. I wrote my first book "Social Selling - techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers" where I put forward what I could see in the sales community that buyers were now on social networks. You could contact them, within reason and sell stuff.
Things seem to have accelerated.
"It is a remarkable time in this particular moment in human history, where most organizations have become almost entirely distributed, yet for the first time still remain largely functional."
In other words, we are all working remotely; we have all got used to it; and work (and life) still goes on.
We, are, all of us, buyers and sellers, as Dion would say "living through a wifi connection".
Dion explains how we are gaining certain skills, the use of social media in our daily lives. We use Slack here at DLA Ignite, but that could also be Teams by Microsoft. I love Slack as it makes communication a short form, where as email is such a "time suck".
At my last company we ran the business on social and it was an eye opener. With email people can look busy, with social you can see who is and who is not contributing to the business.
We All have Network Leadership Skills Now
The last few months has required us to learn "network leadership".
Where as, you used to "wonder down the corridor" to see somebody, you now communicate with a colleague through a social network. Switching that around, there are leaders leaving their Zoom links open, should somebody want to drop by. Instead of my office door is always open, my Zoom link is always open.
A number of organisations are using video to send messages. Whereas, before Covid_19 you would have "stuck your head around a door" now people send 2 minute videos. We have a client, whose sales people send 2 minute videos as to what they have done that week. You get the information you need, it saves time and is more efficient. The Coronavirus is driving cost out of a business and making it a better place to work.
At my last organisation, we used social networks to enable maternity returners to contribute quicker, to get new starters to contribute quicker, to increase efficiency of current employees by 25%. All ways that social and network leadership enabled us to increase efficiency, strip out cost and provide better working conditions. I make no apology that those case studies will have a business $ contribution, but that was how the management thought and how we could prove business impact.
We can all see that now in our Covid19 world, we can also see the mental health benefits and the employee experience benefits.
The Connected (Digital) Leader and Buyer
These digital networking skills we are gaining we will of course put into everyday practice. What do I mean?
We now expect our employees to be on networks, so we will expect our prospects, customers, employees, suppliers, etc to be on networks.
It won't take long for people to make the "jump" from Slack to Linkedin for example. As we are comfortable working in a decentralised way on Slack, so we can do this on Linkedin. The skills we have picked up during Covid_19 using social internally and transferable to a professional network such as LinkedIn.
I always thought that people would get use to Linkedin and then migrate to Slack. But Covid19 has forced the evolution the other way. We are used to Network working and the skills we are using today, in lockdown will be driven onto social media.
The Analogue Selling Conundrum
The longer Covid-19 goes on, the more we will build "network" skills and the more we will expect the people selling to us to behave in the same way.
The more cold calling, cold emails and advertising seems to be from a bygone age. (Well in fact advertising if from the 1930s, cold calling from the 1980s and cold emails from the 1990s).
Where as, I mentioned in my book that people need to get these skills, now everyone has network and social selling. And it seems defacto, just like Powerpoint, Excel, Teams and Zoom skills.
Dion closes his article by saying "everyone can get started on network leadership these days." in fact I'm not even sure I remember a time before working remotely through Zoom and Social. Will we go back, of course not this is the new normal!
Getting Your Sales Team on Social
I'm going to have to talk about the "elephant in the room" which is about your own sales team and the fact they are NOT social.
Social is not posting, social is not posting corporate content that marketing have told you to post. Social is not having emojis in your Linkedin profile, something that actually impacts the algorithm negatively. Social Selling (often called Modern Selling) is a methodology to enable you to sell more, or right now in the Covid-19 world to sell.
Take a look at your sales people's Linkedin profiles are they working hard for them? Do they stand out from the competition or do they look like every other salesperson? Are they using their Linkedin profile to qualify deals, so they only sell to the people who will buy from them? Think of the efficiency saving if you stop chasing business you cannot close / win.
Are they using content to accelerate deals through the pipe? Are they using social to prospect? Are they using social to close deals?
Selling has been reinvented, not by me or by any of us at DLA Ignite, but by your buyers.
If you want to chat about how we can transform your sales team, you can contact me here
These days they are slumming it along with salaried hoi polloi. That means sharing a small box on a computer screen along with their fellow board members, where each meeting resembles the opening credits of the Brady Bunch (with whom many directors share a vintage — though the board itself will likely have less gender diversity).