You’re a New CEO – Do You Have a Trusted Board of Advisors?

So you just moved into the CEO role for the first time. This is what you have been working for all these years, and now it has finally happened. You sit in the nice corner office with the view of the outside world and life is good. You got here because your skills, ability and aptitude set you apart from others, and established you as the go to person to run this company.

Well it’s now time for the reality check. You may have been a 10 out of 10 in some of your past roles, but ask yourself how you rate on a scale of 1 to 10 in your new role. If you are like most new CEO’s and are honest with yourself, you don’t rank really high on the scale. Most new CEO’s rank themselves 3.5 on average. Where do you see yourself? Take a good look in the mirror, because as of today; You’re in Charge!

Let’s talk about what has changed:

  1. You just discovered it is lonely at the top and good luck at getting the honest feedback from the peers you used to have.
  2. You just got a lot smarter, more handsome and funnier than you have ever been to those same employees.
  3. You just got a huge dose of humility, because you realize after looking in the mirror, you have a lot to learn about being a CEO.

Well given all of the above, you certainly aren’t going to get the learning you need to succeed from your direct reports. You need to find a new way to sharpen your saw, because the company success is up to you.

Lonely and self learning don’t have to be your new environment. The best way to combat this is to get yourself a trusted coach and Board of Advisors. Don’t make the mistakes they have already made, take your vision and thoughts to them, get their input, let them hold you accountable. They have all been where you are now, learn from them and at the same time experience the satisfaction of sharing your experiences and knowledge with them.

Who’s in Charge? You’re in charge! Now do some thing about it to ensure your and your company’s success.

CEO’s – Be An On-Purpose Communicator

Is your goal to drive your business to new heights and create a value that will provide a great income and exit price? If so, then in order for that to happen is you will not only need great people, but they will all have to be on the same page each step of the way.

I was working with a client recently and I asked him; “If I were to speak with your employees today, how many of them would be able to tell me what the top three objectives of the company are and how the company plans to get there”? “How many of your senior managers could do it”?

The simple answer is that although they may all be able to answer; the challenge is will they all say the same thing or will I get a variety of answers. The answer was that I would likely get a variety of answers.

Well then Who’s in Charge?

I worked with a CEO a couple of years ago who had just purchased a business. He knew going into it that he would need to communicate his expectations to ensure that the business accomplished his vision for it.

After developing a business plan and model, he began a series of Town Hall meetings every two weeks with his employees during lunch break. To ensure attendance he provided a complete lunch.

Once the meal was completed, he began updating the employees regarding the successes of the company and also the challenges. He was very transparent revealing everything but the most confidential information. Once he had updated the business, he reinforced the top three objectives of the company and also the role the employees would play in it, and what actions they would all undertake to complete the objectives. He did this meeting after meeting.

In every other company meeting or discussion with each individual employee, he would help them understand how the immediate discussion would relate to the objectives and the significant role they played in the success of the vision. These discussions took place every day.

In order for us to be successful leaders, our employees need to know what we are trying to accomplish, what they can do to support it, how to do their jobs better to accomplish it, and why it is important. It takes communication. Great leaders are great communicators.

Who’s in Charge means you need to ask yourself if you are playing this role. How would your employees answer the questions regarding the top three objectives in your company? If they can all say the same thing you are doing a great job of communicating. If they cannot, ask yourself; Who’s in Charge?

CEO’s Accept Responsibility

There was a disruption in your business recently and now it is time to do an analysis and report to your Board about the incident. This is your chance to be a Leader or demonstrate that you may not be in charge of your business.

I was working with a client recently and during a break I was having a quick conversation with their Director of Finance. He told me how much respect he had for the CEO, and I asked why. He told me that each month he attends the Board Meetings with the CEO to cover off the financial aspects of the business.

He told me that anytime the CEO needed to advise the Board on any recent challenges, he never once pointed the finger at any of the employees. The CEO’s only comment when asked who had the problem was that he is in charge and the buck stops here. The Director of Finance also told me that when there was a great accomplishment to discuss, the CEO always gave credit to the employee or employees involved.

After a few meetings, the Director of Finance mentioned what he was observing and hearing to his peers on the management team. They were stunned, they had never worked for a person who was quite like this CEO.

What a great example of a Leader!! Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself if you could be compared to that CEO.

If you are the CEO, President, Owner or Founder, you are in charge. Do you act like it? Do you have the kind of respect and trust that this CEO’s team and Board obviously have of him?

If not then Who’s in Charge?

Vinyl Records or Music Streaming – Cold calls or Social Selling

I am an avid collector of vinyl records. I have had a fascination with them since I first started collecting in the 1960’s. I was working for a rail company as a Redcap (carrying customer baggage for them), and I would get tips that I then converted into vinyl records. Everyday I would go into the record store and browse the thousands of records wondering which ones should I buy today. In those days LP records cost $2.98, so I was able to buy 2 every working day. I soon had a great collection and continued to add to it oven the ensuing years.

The came the fateful day in 1987. I was sitting on the veranda at the great Pinehurst Golf and Country Club in North Carolina and reading an article in the newspaper; The Death of Vinyl Records. I was stunned thinking this can’t be! It seemed at that time that a new form of recording was coming to the market called CD’s. I immediately decided that I would quote my Father when he said: “The Beatles will never last.” Of course, CD’s would not become the go to listening format.

Well as we all know, they did and now they are a thing of the past for the most part as well. Digital downloads and music streaming sites have taken over and who knows where it will lead to next.

I write this because I am seeing a similar disruption and transformation taking place in the world of Social Media today. Social Media is becoming the go to form of communicating, purchasing, researching, etc. for society. Whether we like it or not it, is here to stay and will continue to evolve and integrate itself into all areas of our life. The question is; will we embrace this form of media or will we continue to play our old vinyl records?

As a business person, I am continually surprised by the fact that business people use cell phones, email, online purchases, etc., but have not made the business transition to Social Selling and Marketing. They play those vinyl records without seeing that the world has moved on. Cold calling, emailing and unannounced drop by visits are old school. Business today is being done more and more on Social and if you are not there, then you are missing out on a high percentage of opportunities to grow your business.

This doesn’t mean that you abandon your sales force or marketing department. It means that you give them new tools to drive your business. There is still a need to make sales calls. There is still an need to educate from a marketing perspective. The difference is that the opportunities are uncovered using Social, because that is where your customers are today, and if you are not there, you will miss out.

What do some of those tools look like?

  • An online profile that speaks to who you are not what you sell.
  • Articles and posts that establish you as the educators in your industry.
  • An online presence in multiple social sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, etc.
  • An understanding of how to create relationships online the same way you did in the past, face to face.
  • Etc.

I have not abandoned my addiction to vinyl, but I also understand it is harder to find it (although it is making a bit of a comeback), and therefore I need to embrace music streaming, because the opportunity to listen to 100,000,000 songs is available to me as opposed to the limited opportunity I have with my vinyl collection. The same in business, we do not abandon the opportunity to meet with people and sell them our product, but the process of using social increases the number of opportunities to create new relationships and therefore the opportunity to drive our business.

Get Social!

If You’re on LinkedIn and Not Active………….. Why are You There?

Ask yourself this question: Would I go to a networking event and not take any business cards? Unless you are going to be a people watcher the answer is no. Ask your self this question: If I take business cards will they have the information people need to want to do a follow up call? The answer of course is yes. Then you would take the opportunity to engage with people and let them get to know you better.

Today in our enlightened world of Social Media you have joined the networking site LinkedIn. I am going to assume you are there for the purpose of attracting attention to you and your business, otherwise I would ask why be there. Given that you are there because you want to be seen and heard, how do you expect to do that with a profile that says nothing?

I am constantly looking for new connections on LinkedIn that I feel may be able to help me, or I may be able to help at some point. What I see in my searches is that the top executives have made very little or no effort at using this valuable tool the way it was meant to be used. There is no real headline, there is generally no summary and in many cases, there is no work history. Are you expecting others to fill the information for you?

In the social world today, most companies are looking for their suppliers through Social Media. They not only research companies, but they also research the people that lead and work at those companies. They form opinions of companies and people based on their social profiles and activity. As a CEO of a company can you afford to be the silent networker?

If you want to be serious about supporting your company and your employees in generating new business here are a few tips:

  1. Create a profile headline that draws people in and makes them want to read further. Tell them who you are, not what your position is. Start a relationship with them.
  2. Develop your summary to expand on who you are. What have you done and leaned from your life lessons that have provided you with the wisdom to support and lead others. If it is engaging they will move to your work history.
  3. Complete your work history and that means all of it. Tell people what you did, don’t just add a bunch of bullet points that state your accomplishments. How did you do it?
  4. Complete your educational history.
  5. Join some groups and post articles and posts on them to establish yourself as an expert in your business.

There is more you can be doing, but this will be a good start. Once you have done this, you will start to see results. It is hard work, but in the Social Selling world today it is a must.

Now ask yourself if you are not doing this to support your company and your people; Why are you there.”

Are You the Internets New Door to Door Sales Person?

I just got another new connection on LinkedIn. No sooner had I sent a message of thanks to the person, I immediately got a reply trying to sell me a service. Really!!! That is how you present yourself? I equate this to walking up to a person on the street and saying “hi how are you”, and the person replies; “hey do I have a great product/service to sell you”. Meet the new door to door sales person! The nice thing is that on the internet, it is so much easier to slam the door on the person’s foot.

The door to door sales person has gone the way of all extinct species, so why is it that some of the most professional people think that it is OK to revive it in a social setting? Because one of us out of 1,000 relied and they made a sale. They believe if they send enough messages, something has to click regardless. They don’t stop to think that their batting average is .001; they just know they got a sale and ROI doesn’t factor in their evaluation of their investment. As long as they get one out of 1,000, they are happy.

If this is how you sell today, the new rules for emailing in the European Union will be bad news for you. General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will be implemented on May 25, 2018. The European Union is bringing in extremely strict rules for email spamming and companies and individuals will be subject to significant fines:

  • a fine up to 10000000 EUR or up to 2% of the annual worldwide turnover of the preceding financial year in case of an enterprise, whichever is greater, where there has been an infringement of the following provisions (Article 83, Paragraph 4[18]):
    • the obligations of the controller and the processor pursuant to Articles 8, 11, 25 to 39 and 42 and 43,
    • the obligations of the certification body pursuant to Articles 42 and 43,
    • the obligations of the monitoring body pursuant to Article 41(4).
  • a fine up to 20000000 EUR or up to 4% of the annual worldwide turnover of the preceding financial year in case of an enterprise, whichever is greater, where there has been an infringement of the following provisions: (Article 83, Paragraph 5 & 6[18]).
    • the basic principles for processing, including conditions for consent, pursuant to Articles 5, 6, 7 and 9,
    • the data subjects’ rights pursuant to Articles 12 to 22,
    • the transfers of personal data to a recipient in a third country or an international organisation pursuant to Articles 44 to 49,
    • any obligations pursuant to Member State law adopted under Chapter IX,
    • non-compliance with an order or a temporary or definitive limitation on processing or the suspension of data flows by the supervisory authority pursuant to Article 58(2) or failure to provide access in violation of Article 58(1)

OK I know you are in North America and we don’t have those rules here. We will!! The more that people continue to send replies like the one I mentioned above, the more likely we are to get strict regulations. So, what should we be doing to ensure that when we want to sell our product the message will actually be heard? The following suggestions will help you in your efforts:

1. Create a Professional Image

In the same way that we dress for success, you need to create an online professional image that resonates with prospective customers. Be a person and create a relationship. When you walk into a prospective buyer’s office, you don’t walk in and act all stiff and business. You engage them, you begin a relationship and then at the right moment you get down to business. Do the same online, be a person, tell people who you are and something about you. Draw them in so that they will want to learn more about you.

2. Become Known as the Expert

In the new world of Social Buying companies are looking for people who are experts. Remember, they do not know you yet. The way to become relevant is to write articles about your industry and build your reputation as an expert. Don’t sell, become the knowledge broker. Be sure to share content as well. Re-share and Retweet articles about your industry and inform people. Buyers want to deal with experts and doing this will raise your profile.

3. Listen to the Customer

Go to your current customer web sites and prospective customer sites and see what they are saying and then develop content that speaks to their need. Once you have posted the content it will be seen and you will move up the food chain in their decision making.

4. Use Groups and Lists

Both LinkedIn and Twitter offer groups (LinkedIn) and lists (Twitter) to allow you to engage with people of similar interest. Join them and develop content to post there.

5. Research for Prospective Customers

Find prospective customers on various sites and make connections. Don’t sell! Look at their profiles and find something other than business you have in common to engage about. The same as you would do if meeting them in person for the first time. Build the relationship. They will ask you to engage on the business when they are comfortable doing so.

6. Monitor the Competition

What are they doing? Who are they connected to? Who is following them and who are they following? What articles are they posting? Get in front and make yourself known to the same audience.

These are a few tactics of many that can help you get the sale, but please don’t follow the door to door sales person technique, not if you want to build longevity into your career. One last tip; read up on GDPR and avoid problems by doing things right and now.

The Beatles Changed Their Business Model…. Will You?

I am a huge fan of The Beatles. From the first time I saw them on Ed Sullivan to this day, I regard them as the most inventive writers and musicians in rock/pop history. While I love the lyrics, melodies, harmonies and musicianship, they were far greater than the sum of those attributes. They were four people who loved music and created a soundtrack for our lives, but what is not generally recognized and appreciated is that all four of them were outstanding business people. Once they shed the yolk of Brian Epstein, they had to find a way, as newly minted entrepreneurs, to continue the success they had enjoyed over the years. Those later years were their most productive as they reinvented themselves as a band and as individuals.

As business people we can learn a lot from The Fab Four. The reason for longevity in any business is an ability to lead change and get there before the competition. From Rubber Soul and Revolver to Sergeant Pepper’s and on, they invented new sounds. Gone were the melodic sugar infused songs of the pop world to songs that engaged us as they described their and our lives. They told the rest of the music world, if you want to stay with us, you’re going to have to step up your game.

I am reminded of all of this, because business today is going through a disruptive and transformational change, as social activity infiltrates itself in our businesses. Like those early days of sweet pop music, how we engaged with our customers yesterday is becoming a dinosaur. Cold calling, emailing, networking events and trade shows have diminished significantly in their ability to get us business. Today Social Selling is the new music. It has reinvented the sales process and those who want to play the selling game the old way are being left behind.

Today decisions are being made and vendors are being sourced, based on a company’s ability to navigate the new world of Social Media. Today you need to build relationships (online), you need to become an expert (online), you need to be where your customers are (online). Those companies who support this new Social Selling Process, and support their sales team in learning how to use this process, are winning the sales game.

Like The Beatles, they are current and understand that there is a new way of thinking. The Sixties was a time of upheaval and protests etc. The Beatles saw that and created music and a persona that reflected that. By staying current they not only kept their following, but were able to bring new listeners who gravitated to the new sound.

If you are not gravitating to the new sound of selling, you will disappear like many of the other bands in the sixties that couldn’t keep pace with the new sound The Beatles created. Don’t let it happen. Step up your game and embrace Social Selling, invest in your sales team with Social Selling training. Use the money that you spend on PPC to do it. It is a much better investment and will keep you at the forefront of your industry, as The Beatles have done for six decades as a group and individually.

Is Your Social Selling Process Developmentally Delayed?

A Developmentally Delayed Social Selling organization is one that is missing an effective Social Selling System and as a result its management and employees are seriously impeded in their attempts to be productive and successful in today’s new social world. The organization typically faces a host of symptoms including:

  • over-defensiveness because sales direction and accountabilities are ambiguous;
  • increased revenue targets with no new tactics to achieve the increase;
  • fear of change in part because even the status quo is uncertain;
  • departmental silos and other forms of protectionism.

In a Developmentally Delayed Social Selling Organization, managers find themselves distracted from their necessary “30,000 foot” thinking, by having to spend their time trying to figure out how it is that the competition is beginning to get an edge. They run around barking out direction, identifying problems and getting people to perform processes that the organization has been doing for years. The absence of an effective Social Selling System is a major barrier to implementing organizational change required to compete in the new Social world. It is becoming a significant threat to organizations and their leaders, especially newly appointed CEOs who are trying to put their stamp and vision on their new host.

Leaders Need to Manage

Findings now are that organizations are more effective when leadership behavior (influencing the actions, motivation and priorities of people) is diffused throughout organizations when a Social Selling System that is part of the organization’s culture.

I believe that many organizational leaders, especially those recruited externally, presume that the sales organization they now lead, actually works. They assume that when they pronounce clear direction through a strategic plan, that the organization has the wherewithal to make it happen. But all too often, the organization is a Social Selling delayed organization. If you are facing challenges similar to the SSO symptoms listed at the beginning of this article, you might consider to what extent your organization is Social Selling Delayed, and whether you need to look into implementing a Social Selling System as quickly as possible. A Social Selling System needs to be part of your sales organization’s culture, and supported actively by you to make sure this happens.

CEOs ask me whether they really need to do this. The answer is “yes” you do have to do this – this is part of the leader’s role. Consider that your personal success as the CEO is dependent on your knowledge and skill at translating your intentions into reality. You need to know enough to judge the effectiveness of the Social Selling System and assess its adherence and use by your direct subordinates. And of course, you need to use it to manage your own direct reports, which includes the head of all departments. If you’re the CEO or President, that is your job.

Summary

I recommend to both the current and incoming Leaders of all organizations to ensure that your organization has an effective, Social Selling System.

Unfreeze/Refreeze: A Simple Change Model for Social Selling

The unfreeze/refreeze model is one of the simplest models for understanding organizational or social change. Kurt Lewin developed it; a physicist turned social scientist. Because of his professional background, he used physical science analogies to help explain social phenomena.

His analogy deals with changing the shape of a block of ice. Say your brother-in-law has a large cube-shaped block of ice. He brought it home with the intention of making a round tire-shaped ring of ice with cherries in it to float in a big punch bowl. You tell him, “Hey, that’s no good, it’s the wrong shape.” So, now he wants to change the shape.

If he attempts to force the ice into a round ring, he’s not going to have much success. He can squeeze it as much as he wants, or pound it with a hammer. Most likely it will shatter. If he tries to use force to make the change, it will be resisted. Why? Because that block of ice is a system made up of interrelated H2O crystals in a latticework that will resist being changed. So, what can he do to make the frozen H2O more receptive to a change in shape? Obviously, he can make it liquid. He melts it in a large pan on the stove and it ends up as a great big puddle of water. At least now, it is in a form that is amenable to change. But the shape he wants it to be in is a round ring. So, he pours the liquid water into a circular mold. It’s still the same chemical compound as it was when it was ice, but now it has a new shape. Unfortunately, it won’t hold this shape. If he picks it up (as your crazy brother-in-law might do), it will pour all over the floor. In order to make it keep its new shape, he refreezes it. He adds cherries to it and puts it in the freezer. After he refreezes it, he can take it out and plop it into his punch bowl. He has successfully converted a cube of H2O into a tire-shaped ring of ice with cherries around its circumference.

The three stages he went through are unfreezing, change and refreezing. You can use the same three stages to describe any change in an organization, and especially a social change. The problem is, in an organization, we often forget one of the three steps. Typically, we forget Step One, or Step Three. We remember Step Two — we make the change — but we are never successful because there are three stages to consider, not one.

Step One: Unfreezing

How do you unfreeze a sales organization so that it will accept change? In other words, how do you make the sales selling system receptive to change? How can the sales selling system be made to want to change if you are trying to install for example, a Social Selling program? The first thing you have to do is make the sales organization receptive to change, otherwise your sales organization, like that block of ice, will naturally resist change.

One strategy is focus on an area where there is already some feeling that things aren’t working out right, that is, to go where the hurt is. That where it will be more likely that change will be accepted. Another way of putting it is, “People gotta wanna change,” or there will be this natural resistance. Then go beyond it. Go not only to where the hurt is, but also to where the hurt should be felt, but may not be. What can you do to make your sales people recognize the need for change where it ought to be recognized? How can you get your sales people to see that there is something wrong, that there is need for change?

The Unfreezing Process

Let’s take a look at today’s sales situation. Today cold calling, spamming emails, unannounced sales calls and networking are ignored and distained. Companies are not providing their sales teams with the tools, know how and training to deal with this whole new world. So how do we unfreeze the current process?

Feeding back sales people’s opinions is one good way to begin the unfreezing process. The feedback technique makes the organization aware that there are problems, that people are upset, that morale is low, or that work attitudes and performance are not what they ought to be. That’s a form of unfreezing.

In a company, you could set up a committee to investigate a problem, to see if they can get enough data to unfreeze the organization. Or you could use a consultant to do the job.

Unfreezing is often missed in training programs, and particularly in sales training. People are simply sent to courses, but they don’t see any need to change and so unfreezing does not occur. They are not receptive to learning. Someone else is simply telling them that they should change their ways, but they don’t see any need to do so. Part of the problem is that the person may perceive the training program as focusing on changing her or him. In this person’s view, someone is saying, you have been doing the job wrong and you have to change.” Naturally, there is resistance. It is preferable by far, when the person sees it as an opportunity to learn new skills, to improve himself or herself or to do the job even better.

Management training often misses the mark because the person who is to learn new skills, or the organization that is to learn new skills wasn’t unfrozen. Some effort must be made to put the organization or individual in a state more receptive to change. They gotta wanna change.

Step Two: Making the Change

In Step 2 you actually make the change. You propose the solution to the problem (a Social Selling System) that you may have identified or highlighted in Step 1. Then you get people doing it. You start your diet. You learn new skills. You make the change. Installing this change is the subject of Step 3.

Step Three: Refreezing

This step is often missed. We get an employee to change his or her work habits, but then don’t refreeze that change. We put in a new Social Selling system in an organization, but we don’t refreeze the change. If we don’t refreeze, the change is likely to be temporary.

What’s refreezing? We have to do something to the system or the organization so that the change becomes a permanent part of its operation. We refroze the water so that it would hold its shape permanently. You have to do the same thing in an organization. Just because the change happened once doesn’t mean it will continually happen or that it will maintain itself. You’ve got to cement the change into the sales organization’s culture — into the way things are done in the sales organization.

As an example: once we have established a new Social Selling Process, we need to inspect. That means that we set expectations for each person:

  • Establishing a new online profile
  • Developing content for sharing
  • Monitoring what the competition is doing
  • Joining groups (LinkedIn) and lists (Twitter) and posting relevant content.
  • Mining new potential customers by using search tools.

There are other expectations that need to be developed as well, but once they have been set, just like any other objectives we need to monitor them to ensure that the refreezing sets.

This step is usually missed in management training programs. We teach people skills; we hope they will use them back on the job but we don’t build the use of these skills into the standard operating procedures of the sales organization. Suppose your organization wanted to implement Affirmative Action. How do you make the basic concepts and practices of Affirmative Action a permanent part of the organization’s work patterns? If you have a zero defects manufacturing program that you want to implement in your manufacturing plant, how do you make that change of focus in production a permanent part of the way things are done? By refreezing.

Guidelines for Change

The strength of the unfreeze, change, refreeze model is in its simplicity. I think it gives very clear guidelines for implementing change. You’ve got to go through all three stages. Some stages may be very quick. You may go through the unfreezing stage almost instantaneously with somebody by saying, “Unless you change, you lose your job.” That may put the person into a state rather quickly of wanting to accept change, but it is still a stage and it can’t be missed.

You have to get the sales organization receptive to change. People must see that there is a need for change. Then you make the change. Once it’s done, do something to build it in as a permanent part of the organization. With skill training, where employees learn specific skills to use on the job, refreezing can happen simply because the employee uses the skills. The feedback the employee gets is that the skills work. The results are positive and the employee is more likely to continue using his or her new skills because they have been reinforced. That is why quick successful use of skills after a training program helps to refreeze change into the individual’s personal practices.

Ensuring Sales Organizational Success and Progress

A critical responsibility of today’s CEO is to improve his or her sales organization’s ability to progress – i.e. the ability to implement change successfully. However, most of the barriers to successful sales organizational change and implementation are corporate characteristics. Rather than focusing on personal issues such as leadership style, the CEO needs to ensure that the capacity to change is built into the fabric of the sales organization, so that progress becomes a sales organization trait and an asset, and not dependent upon individual personalities.

All sales organizations change. New employees join and others leave, technology changes, clients change, the people themselves change, and the services or products tend to change. But not all sales organizations progress.

Progress means a purposeful planned change towards desired goals or objectives. A sales organization progresses if it heads in the right direction and its intentions become reality.

But your sales organization will progress only if both its plans for progress are good and these plans are successfully implemented. Your initiatives for change or what you want to have happen are obviously critical for progress. High quality plans usually head you in the right direction and poor plans will likely set you back or even ruin the venture.

But the more important factor determining your sales organization’s progress is its ability to implement change, whether or not the plans for change are of high quality. In fact, the quality of a plan or an initiative is only hypothetical until it is implemented. So faulty implementation can brand even your best plans as poor.

As a consequence, sales organizational leaders must devote as much attention “to the nitty-gritty of execution” as they do to creating plans and initiatives, if they ever hope to see their sales organizations progress.
It has been observed that “Even in the best run companies, it is too easy to feel that the work is done when the Big Idea is hatched.” For example, the return realized from the time and money you invest in strategic planning or new product development is ultimately determined by your sales organization’s being able to implement the strategic plan or successfully market the product.

This is critically important in the new world of Social Selling. If you want your sales organization to progress and implement successful change, you the CEO must ensure that your corporate characteristics support it.

Social Selling is the new world of sales. Companies are 57% of the way through a buying decisions process before you become aware of it. Companies have researched vendors prior to engaging with them in the buying process.

It doesn’t matter if you agree or do not, this is the new reality, and if you want a successful sales process and the ability to achieve your corporate revenue targets, you need to ensure the following:

  • You need to build the fabric for change into your sales process.
  • You need a high-quality plan to develop a Social Selling process.
  • You need to create an environment for successful Social Change implementation.
  • You need a plan and a process to follow up on the execution of the new plan.

Social Selling is here to stay. As mentioned above, your customers are already actively using Social in their buying process. They do not answer cold calls, reply to spamming emails and have gatekeepers guarding their doors. Ask your sales team to continue to do these things and you the CEO are impeding the sales team ability to deliver on the objectives you have set for them.

Social will not replace your sales force, but will give them the ability to do the following:

  • Build relationships with new and current customers.
  • Become educators and called upon for their industry knowledge.
  • Get to the finish line ahead of the competition.
  • Involve the entire company in the sales process.
  • Get the face to face meetings they need to build your business.

There are many more benefits, but to be sure if you do not move in this direction, you will find that year after year the same old will get you less.

Sales organizational change needs to become the usual, rather than the exception. Sales organizational leaders are no longer captains of slow moving ocean liners but pilots of combat jets, with the need to change direction continuously, both as a reaction to the chaos in the Social environment and as a planned strategy to survive.

Executive edicts, visioning and communication won’t bring about successful organizational change and progress. Change has to be “managed” to make it happen. “Attention to detail” and “gentle relentless pressure” aren’t attitudes familiar to many leaders, but they’re requirements for shepherding change into an organization.