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.


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

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