During a press conference to announce Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia, Nokia CEO Stephen Elon ended his speech saying, “we didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost.”

Upon this conclusion, it is reported that he and the entire management team publicly wept.

Blockbuster, Toys R Us, Kodak, Maplin, Borders, Compaq, Polaroid, Comet…the list goes on.

We have all seen some of the most seemingly successful companies of the past become victims of transformation, whatever those transformations maybe.

Most organisations now recognise that not changing is the kiss of death…

Common failure points:

  • Analysis paralysis
  • Stuck in the status quo
  • Followed the same strategy year after year
  • Didn’t take challengers seriously
  • Dismissed anything new as a fad…

Do you recognise any of those traits? I know I do…

I was inspired to write this after re-watching Matt Murray, Wall Street journal Editor in Chief, interview Elon Musk on WSJ CEO Council, in which Musk said…

“A company is an assembly of people gathered together to create a product or a service and deliver that product or service….and sometimes people lose sight of that”.

He went on to say…

“A company has no value in and of itself, it only has value to the degree that is efficient allocation of resources to create business services that are of grater value than the inputs.”

Matt Murray and Elon Musk...

Powerful words from Musk and worthy of great thought and debate. He made these statements in what has come to be known as “Elon Musk describes the MBA-iszation of America”.

He urged CEOs to:

“Spend less time on finance, spend less time in conference rooms, less time on PowerPoint and more time just trying to make your product as amazing as possible”.

Each week we meet with company leaders, to unpack the state of play, the main issues and how we might help.

There are several common themes that come from these meetings. Notwithstanding the wellbeing of the teams, the headline issues are…

  • Sales pipeline
  • Order Intake
  • Cash Flow

Sales Pipeline converting to Order Intake - Order Intake converting to Cash Flow

To take Elon Musk’s perspective on this, if the leadership team are focussed on how to make the product as amazing as possible, we need an amazing pipeline generator to keep up.

So what amazing pipeline generator method do you have?

We hear it all the time “we prefer the phone and email” – “we like the old school methods”.…this is worrying.

Recently, I’ve had conversations with seasoned Sales, Marketing and BD veterans, people that have done this for a living for 25 years +. Qualified and experienced people that were at the top of their game and now admit that, although it sounds romantic to cling on the old-fashioned techniques dressed up in faux digital clothes, they categorically do not work.

Many of the articles we create are linked to reports and studies showing you how Social Selling & Influence outperforms all other techniques, processes, and methods these days. We need to do this less and less because the body of evidence and case studies are so strong, it’s all there for you to see.  We are at the turning point now where you can’t be in a b2b Leadership role, a Marketing role, a Sales, or BD role and now understand the impact of Social Selling. 

The issue is now not whether this ‘works’, its whether organisations have the foresight, the curiosity, the culture and mindset to adopt such a transformation into their business.

 In the b2b world today, there are a few different types of organisation:

The ‘Analogues’:  

Not digital, not Social. Stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide.

Reliant on old fashioned outdated methods and techniques to drive business. Cold Calling, paying for adverts and spamming with email marketing campaigns.

Common sayings: “We prefer to do things the old-fashioned way”, “we are old school”, “we don’t do Social Media much”, “It’s all about our black book…”.

Common issues: Increased costs, Decreased sales pipelines, Order intake down…

The ‘Random Socials’:

A few people post a few bits and pieces on LinkedIn every now and then.

They don’t use Social to drive business but think they do. They use old fashioned outdated methods and techniques to drive business.  Still Cold Calling, paying for adverts and spamming with email marketing campaigns.

Common sayings: “We do some bits and pieces on LinkedIn”, “we do a bit more on Social Media these days”, “we have tried social media, but we are still on the fence”.

Common issues: Increased costs, Decreased sales pipelines, Order intake down…

The ‘Tactical Socials’:

Several people posting on Social Media Platforms, no strategy or structure.

Not using Social to drive business but, the leadership team believe they are Social Selling. Still using old fashioned outdated methods and techniques to drive business with occasional inbound.  Still Cold Calling and spamming with email marketing campaigns but paying more attention to Social Media, now running paid ads on LinkedIn.

Common sayings: “We already do Social Selling”, “we are all over Social”, “we decided this year to put much more focus on Social and (insert name) has been doing this with great results…”

Common issues: Increased costs, Decreased sales pipelines, Order intake down.


The ‘Socials’:

Defined Social Media strategy. mission and structure.

Training programme in Social Selling & Influence in place. 

Optimised profiles, using content strategy to best effect, connecting, and having conversations at scale.

New metrics, new language, new way of working – new gains.

Driving most or all business through Social Media.

Common sayings: “We anticipate all of our deals this year will come from Social”, “We have a defined process which means we are confident in what we do”, “We measure ourselves differently, our language has changed”.

Common issues: Decreased costs, increased sales pipelines, Order intake up…

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Most ‘analogues’ are actually open to transformation. When we show what needs to be done and what will happen, they tend to go with it. 

The conversations are usually tougher with the ‘Random and Tactical groups - Those that are not Social Selling, but think they are.

Someone in the organisation has convinced the leadership team that “we already do this; we are all over Social Media” the leadership team have not made time to check, and this has been accepted. 

In this case, all the business benefits that come with well organised, Strategic Social Media management are blocked. The ability to have an open conversation is blocked and opportunities are missed.

Our reason for being is to get you and your team Strategic with Social media, so you see the benefits. This is what you would expect to see if you were “already doing this and all-over Social Media.”:

  • Decreased Marketing costs: Zero-value activity stripped out of the business.
  • Visibility:  Not simply being seen, being understood and appreciated.
  • Own the ‘Share of Voice’ in your sectors: Turning your volume up and the competition down.
  • Trusted advisor status: Becoming the trusted voice in what you do.
  • Pipeline, growth & inbound: More conversations, more proposals, more commercial activity…
  • Recruitment opportunities:  You need people, and you want them to want to work with you.
  • Employee engagement & shared sense of purpose: A new sense of ownership within the team..

If you don’t see this, you are not ‘already doing it’ and are not ‘all over it’ – here are 7 questions to ask for verification:

  1. When were we all trained?
  2. Where is our strategy?
  3. When were our profiles optimised?
  4. How do we get leads for our Sales team?
  5. How much revenue to do attribute to our Social Media presence and activity?
  6. What are our Social Media metrics?
  7. Who owns the digital share of voice in our sector?

Recently, another type of company has emerged, it is the company that understands Social Media is the answer and wants all the benefit but isn’t prepared to put the work in...

The ‘Silver Bullets’:

This company want all the benefits that Social Brings but have been convinced that there is an easy road – Outsourcing or automation.

They have all the spamming tech and/or have outsourced their effort. They have people running email spam campaigns, people creating content, they even have people managing their accounts.

Common sayings: “We are killing at Social Selling”, “we are all over Social”, “we are fully Social” ...

Common issues: Massively increased costs, Decreased sales pipelines, Order intake down. Annoyed prospects, damaged reputation.

Do you really want your team and your brand to be associated with spamming and bot fatigue? Being Social is about a connection and conversation.

How do you do this with a bot? How do you do this with a spam email campaign? How to you do this with a paid advert? How do you do this when someone else is pretending to be you?

Do you believe that putting your relationship with your precious client base in the hands of someone pretending to be you or even worse, a bot, is a good idea?

So which type are you - Analogues? Randoms? Tacticals? The Socials or the Silver Bullets..?

Social Selling is about you and me, we put in the hard work and we claim the benefits.

 We have been transforming teams to Social Media for years; we know what works and what doesn’t. 

We put in the focus and energy make our product as amazing as possible so that you get an amazing outcome and, we make it fun.  Don’t take my word for it, take our clients…

I’m happy to walk you and your team through what it looks like any time.

Live Social '21

Eric Doyle

Crux / DLA Ignite