The other day I had a call with a company, and a well respected company.

The conversation went like this.

Company: "What we want you to do is to 90 minute sessions with 20 of our people and using your expertise and powers of persuasion you will turn these 20 people into social sellers."

It always makes me smile when this happens.

Social transformation is what we do - it's all we do

For context, transforming businesses with social is what we do, we have been doing it for 5 years.  We live it, we breath it and we think we are pretty good at it.

We are NOT a "full service agency" this is where a company will do web design, content writing, telemarketing, you ask them to do something and they will turn their hand to it.  There is a saying "a jack of all trades and a master of none".

That isn't us, we focus totally on transforming businesses with social, this total focus allows us to be experts at what we do.  It allows us to innovate, to experiment, but it also allows us to focus.  Without being arrogant, we know what works and we know what does not work.

BMW is good at making cars

You don't go to BMW and say "I've been thinking, 4 cylinders seems to be too symmetrical, can I buy a 4 series with 5 cylinders?"  "Plus I was reading an article that spark plugs are so last year, I want the car with no spark plus."  "And I don't see the point of tyres, so I want the car delivered with no tyres."

You don't do that because you trust BMW, they totally focus on making cars, you trust the fact that if BMW deliver a car with 4 cylinders, spark plugs and tyres, there is a reason for it.  Regardless what you "think".

Social media is a strategy not a tactic

Back in 2014 and 2015 I worked at a large US software company and we wanted to get our sales team to use social selling.

Easy we thought, run a couple of webinars, present how people can make more money and job done.  We ran a number of webinars and guess what?  Nothing happened.

We paid an outside social media expert to come in and do a two hour "hints and tips" session and guess what?  Nothing happened.

We created a job called a "social selling evangelist" and guess what?  Nothing happened.

It's a path well trodden and I only mention it as I think you shouldn't make the same mistake.  Often people are betting their careers on moving the business to social.

Social media means that your team are going to do something different and this requires change, let's talk about some of the "usual" ways people implement social selling.

Death by Powerpoint

Many organisations still seem to think that "push training" is the way to learn.

I present to you a compelling message, share a load of "facts" through "100 power points" and somehow my audience is supposed to be convinced and their minds changed.  We all know life isn't like that. 

We've all been on these courses and we all know they don't work.  One of the reasons why that approach does not work is that knowing everything about social and getting up in the morning and being social are two very different things.

Social - The difference between learning and doing

Social is not what you know, it's based on what you do.

I can provide you with the best presentation in the world, but if you don't do anything, nothing will happen. 

In business, nothing "just happens".

  • People are scared of being fired.
  • People don't know what to do.
  • People might feel they can use Facebook and Instagram but are scared of LinkedIn.
  • People don't see it as a priority.
  • People are scared they might say the wrong thing.

How as humans how do we get new skills?

Let's talk about how we learn. 

Now I've never flown a plane, but really how hard can it be?  I'm joking.

When people learn a new skill, like flying a plane, we don't just give them 100 powerpoint presentations and then say "off you go".  We don't employ a person called a "pilot trainer" and hope all the people will become pilots.

We take people through a methodology.  Think about the way you learn best.

Somebody will show you some theory, then you try it out in a safe environment.  The coach will be there to make sure they can answer any questions.  You then get the ability to try it out in your normal day-to-day work, but knowing the coach is there at the end of the telephone, email, whatsapp.

If you think about how you become a pilot, you are given theory lessons on the ground.  You then fly with your coach.  The coach will then hand over the plane to you, but will be there to try things out.  You can then try (on the ground) flight simulators and then you can go back to the coach.

Knowing that the "theory" of flying and "doing" the flying are two different things.

What I have described above is a common learning framework, let's talk about what a learning framework is and how it will achieve getting your team to change. 

There is a learning framework called 70:20:10

The 70:20:10 model emphasizes the benefits of informal learning, it’s also a great methodology that encourages better employee engagement.

The methodology divides learning into three categories:

  • 70% – informal, on the job, experienced based
  • 20% – coaching, mentoring, developing through others (social learning)
  • 10% – formal learning interventions and structured courses

Of the organisations that have embraced the 70:20:10 framework:

  • 73% improved process
  • 72% improved efficiency
  • 63% improved productivity

Unless you (or your social selling supplier) is embracing, 70:20:10 for their social selling training, I'm sorry but a lot of money is going to be wasted and your management team are going to lose patience with you.

It's worth pointing out that a lot of social selling suppliers don't use 70:20:10 and they are more than happy to exploit your ignorance over this. 

We have talked a lot so far about making sure, your business does not make all the mistakes all the other companies make, the next one is should you build your own social selling program or buy one from an expert.

Build or Buy your social selling program?

When I first started in sales it was normal for the IT department to write all their applications.  Computers was in its infancy and writing your own package was the done thing.

Then people decided that this seemed to be a lot of hard work, it was difficult to find the people to cut the code, requirements changed, technology changed, legislation changed ... it was difficult to keep up and in most cases businesses didn't.

This is where the software market was born, where, a payroll software house, for example would write a payroll package and they would totally focus on that.  They would know all about payroll, they would be the experts and sort all the changes in legislation, taxes etc.

End use companies would then buy payroll packages from the experts, leaving the payroll company to focus on payroll and allow the end user company to focus on construction, insurance, banking or whatever they were good at.

This is the decision that companies need to make with social selling.

Do you build a social selling program, start from scratch, make all of the mistakes, not focus on what you do best and probably fail, OR

Get a company like DLA Ignite in and we can start on Monday.  We've made all is mistakes, know what works and what does not.  In fact, every time we run it we get 30% increase in revenue and a 40% reduction in the sales cycle.  

We can accelerate you to social selling and we can start on Monday.

Can you transform your team with two 90 minute sessions?  I doubt it, I'm sure there are plenty of people who don't care about you, who will take your money and shrug when nothing happens.  Because it won't.