How important is speed to market or speed to revenue for you and your organization?
If it's a low priority and you seem to have dominant market share, you may actually consider to do the whole social selling program built in-house. However, for the majority of firms that are in market today, the competitive threat should propel them. It should compel them to drive faster to social and digital selling adoption.
It continues to boggle my mind when senior leaders placate to their fears, when they allow their fear of the unknown to cloud what is for the most part excellent stewardship of their departments and their businesses.
Social is absolutely in the confusion category. Ask yourself the following question, and this is as simple as it gets: If you have $100,000 to spend on a sports car, are you going to build your own sports car, or are you going to buy it from your local Mercedes dealership?
It sounds like an asinine question to ask, but this is literally, at the heart of it, the core of the analogy that can and should be applied.
When companies recognize that social is necessary but cannot muster their resources, the energy, and the speed at which to implement a successful program, turning to outside agencies and outside partners and vendors becomes a necessity.
WHAT'S HOLDING YOU BACK?
What I'm really getting to is the fact that most companies, for deep cultural reasons and obstacles, are afraid to commit to transformation. But even the toughest obstacles can be tackled with a shift in culture:
if you lack skills, tools won't help
Far too often, our society has now accustomed ourselves in treating our ills with pills versus the prevention of the disease in the first place.Why do I bring this up?
The purchase of social selling tools fits into this analogy. Buying the tool and expecting results without enabling the tool to be successful is also a foolhardy strategy.
There are many times where companies will invest in a tool only to find that the investment has been for naught, that it really does not have any usage or minimal at best, and they haven’t done a good job enabling the tool to shine for its true purpose.
Our own internal data shows 76% of salespeople with Navigator send zero InMails every month. That's a flat out waste of one of Sales Navigator's best features. And the salespeople's reasoning? Lack of training.
I think social selling pioneer Tim Hughes says it best: “LinkedIn does NOT equal being a social seller.”
You need services to ENABLE YOUR Skills
We have a lot of choices to make. As leaders, we have to understand that social and digital are here to stay. We have to understand that building a program internally and with the vendors’ help will get you to your end result faster. The two are not a dichotomy; they should be in harmony.
Also, consider that tools alone won't solve your problem. We're about to hit a paradigm shift with Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn to change this false perception that exists. Because Microsoft is such a channel-centric player, it is just a known fact that you don’t just buy a Microsoft tool. You need services to enable that tool, which is beneficial for organizations.
Similarly, people in the B2B sales world will begin to realize that it's not just about LinkedIn Sales Navigator. It's not just about social selling training. It's not just about Twitter or Facebook or the myriad of other platforms out there. It's about everything, and you’ll need to find a way strategically to wrap your head around all of this. So, consider the following:
Are you focused on cultural transformation? Or are you focused on intermediate pill popping solutions?