I started out professional life in Electrical engineering.
I worked in Offshore Drilling for 16 years and then moved into Health, Safety and Quality.
Then into Sales, Marketing and Business Development.
From there to General management in the Energy Industry service Sector.
Then to senior leadership roles - Managing Director and Board member.
It’s been an interesting and diverse journey, but I now see there are linkages along the way, it all tied together.
I first noticed something was changing in 2017/18.
Our Sales, Marketing and Business Development efforts that once served us well, were in decline.
We were spending money on the website, events and adverts but couldn’t see a return.
We were doing all the things we used to do in Sales, but pipeline was shrinking.
Back then I only used Social Media for fun….pictures of mountain biking and BBQ’s on Facebook. For me, LinkedIn was where I kept an eye on our competitors and looked to see if there was anyone worth poaching over to our team.
Our marketing strategy had a line item for digital:
“Marketing will post twice a week on LinkedIn, and everyone should share the posts”.
That was it…
Social Media Strategy ticked…✅
We didn’t know any better.
Lost in traditional Sales and Marketing approaches...
Then something happened that was the start of a significant life change.
One of our prospects posted a technical question on LinkedIn.
I noticed our competitors had replied with solutions, equipment availability, almost hinting at pricing.
I did something I’d never done before; I grabbed by keyboard to leave a comment…
I wrote “we would take a different approach; your problem is a technical problem that requires technical thinking and analysis before we start jumping to any solutions…”.
That response triggered a series of events:
Direct message from the client, an invitation to come over to their HQ, a discussion, technical packages exchanged, solutions presented, proposals. purchase orders, project execution, project extension.
A very healthy, unforecast project that was all triggered by an interaction on Social Media.
This amazed me…
None of our traditional Sales and Marketing processes were involved in this and I wanted to know what it was called and, how we could do more of it.
I learned that Id stumbled into something called Social Selling in an albeit clumsy and unstructured way.
I started reading this book and that, but none of it made sense in and energy/engineering environment.
Then I read Social Selling (first edition) by Timothy (Tim) Hughes 提姆·休斯 , and it all clicked.
I left the corporate job, set up CRUX and got in touch with Tim.
I decided to go all in.
I trained with Tim and Adam Gray for 6 months and then came back to the Energy industries, ready and armed to take them into the Digital Commercial age…
And this is what happened…
I was writing about Social Selling & Influence and the tidal shift in Digital commerce, I was excited and producing a lot of content about the topic.
I took a lot of flak from those that were passionate about the old ways:
👉“this is just a fad”
👉“I’ve been teaching these traditional Sales and Marketing methods to organisations for 25 years and you have the audacity to claim they are dead?”
👉“Are you seriously suggesting that ‘Marketing as we know it is dead’? This is ridiculous…”
I stayed on topic and stuck to the data.
Then some curious leaders came forward…they wanted to know more.
They bought into our programme, and we were off..!
We did some great work with great companies and their commercial worlds changed.
Word started to spread and gradually the inbound started...
👉“Hi Eric, ***** was telling us about your programme, could you come and speak to our management team?”.
👉“Hi Eric, we read your recent blog about ******, that’s exactly the issue we have, could you show us more please?”
👉“Hi Eric, we are struggling and would like to talk to you about your Social Media programme”.
We were training all sorts of teams with all sorts of dynamics:
✅People who knew nothing about social media
✅People who didn’t like Social Media
✅People who knew a bit about Social Media but didn’t know how to convert it to commercial interaction.
We have worked with Energy service companies, others in Technology, IT, Inspection, Marine, Saas, Engineering, Marketing and Communications. There has been some deep learning for us along the way.
Here are some key learnings we’ve gained over the years:
Candidate selection is key:
This isn’t for everyone and there is no point in trying to force it – You will waste your money and everyone’s time. Pushing people to do something they don’t want to do will have an adverse effect on your relationship with them.
We now work with our clients to help them select a cohort of people who are willing to put the effort in and make the behavioural changes.
This way we ‘hit the deck running’ and the entire process is smoother, and yields results quickly.
The end of the programme is the start of your Digital Commercial journey:
Our programme is a 12-week development process designed to allow candidates to make the behavioural changes to allow them to access the Digital Twin of their sector.
When we finish the programme, the work starts.
We see candidates during training who meet new people, start new conversations, enter into commercial interaction and win work…during training!
Most pick up from where we leave them and go on to flourish, other fade away.
The key is commitment.
You don’t have to be creative to succeed on Social:
Many join our programme thinking that they are going to have to become video producers or amazing storytellers from day 1.
Its about finding out who you are and how we can showcase your experience, your specialism, and your personality on your terms.
Its not about forcing you to become someone you are not….it’s about you as you are.
It has nothing to do with your age…
The is a misconception that all this Social Media stuff is for young people.
Some of our most successful candidates are people you wouldn’t suspect from day 1.
They start with small networks and grow them, they start to put out insightful content, they start conversations, networking, and prospecting…and it all comes together.
Technical people do well on Social Media:
Because your technical prospect base love to hear your thought leadership and expereince on the topics that they see day in and day out.
The biggest doubters will often be the most successful:
We have worked with client who had people on the team that approached this will deep cynicism. We ask them to park any preconceptions they have and do what we ask them to do for at least the duration of the programme.
Confidence comes with practise and committed application:
We often meet people who are really concerned about “outing themselves out there”.
By the end of the programme, they are speaking a different language, they are experimenting with content and have found their voice.
One size doesn’t fit all:
Everyone learns and progresses at their own pace an in their own way. The key is to ‘meet people where they are’ not to simply throw lots of stuff at everyone and hope they pick it up. 1 to 1 coaching is key.
In the early days we were doing a lot of convincing before we got into the topic, that has changed recently. We find that organisations need less convincing about Digital Commercial shifts and just want to know how to get into it.
We are gearing up for a new year with new clients in new sectors, opening new chapters in the Digital Commercial Development book we are writing on the way.
If you’d like to discuss more of our learning or find out more about Digital Commercial Transformation, I’d be happy to show you how it all works.
Live Social ’22-‘23