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Want to Be Your Company’s Digital Mobilizer? Become An “Intrepreneur”

Posted by Jamie Shanks on Jan 2, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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Within the walls of thousands of organizations around the world, there are leaders looking at their company’s “Random Acts of Social” and they feel frustrated. Does this sound like you? Do you look at your sales team’s execution, and wonder how you can push everyone to focus on a greater digital sales transformation?

You have the desire to be “The Digital Mobilizer”

Of course, the CEB has done extensive research on the Mobilizer – but I want to reframe this as YOU are the Mobilizer, and you’re asking yourself, “What can I as the Mobilizer do to create driving change?”

When I meet Mobilizers, they remind me of entrepreneurs, but because they’re within the ecosystem of a company, they are “Intrepreneurs”. You share similar challenges, nay-sayers, detractors, budgetary constraints, lack of resources, it’s all the same things I faced when building Sales for Life.

One day (as per the advice of Jill Rowley) I’m going to build a course specifically for Mobilizers, based on my entrepreneurial experiences, but here are some high-level ideas and tactics to think about:

Step #1: Develop a thesis and pressure check it against anyone that will listen

Entrepreneurs argue all the time about sharing their “new business idea” with the world too early. Is it a secret, or should you pressure check to see if the idea is dumb?

Think like an entrepreneur, and use time to gather TONS of ideas, pitfalls, challenges, roadblocks – feel out the internal politics. Before you launch a company, you have to do research, research, and more research (although I broke this rule many times… bad idea!).

In my world as a business owner, my life savings are on the line. I have to pressure check! You as a Mobilizer, your reputation and career trajectory is on the line. Entrepreneurs know that a home run is life changing, and for you as a Mobilizer, if you bring new solutions into your business that are game changing, you’re on a career rocket ship. I’ve actually seen this happen in multiple customers of ours!

Step #2: Be relentless, and never, ever, ever give up!

Take some time to talk to everyone that will listen in your organization. Does your plan sound great, or like fantasy to them? Great entrepreneurs will gather all this information to better synthesize a plan, but it doesn’t stop us! It may only alter that path we take, but we ALWAYS walk through the scary forest on route to seeking OZ.

As John Chambers (ex CEO of Cisco said) “it's better that people change and leave our company, than remain status quo and stay.” Don’t give up your dream to make an impact. You have to preserver at all costs. You’ve heard the stories of Ray Kroc, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk being told NO. Change management is hard, I get it. But there are 99 excuses why you should “wait next quarter or next year,” or “not pull my sales reps out of the field because L&D is a distraction,” and only 1 reason to preserver on what you believe to be true.

Step #3: Craft an executive business plan to articulate your thesis

Your business plan needs to travel from the napkin to PowerPoint. Don’t write a standard 20 page business plan, but a 1-5 slide executive briefing. When us business owners pitch banks and VC’s for money, the shorter and more logical the better. Outline your business plan in the following slides:

  1. Problem
  2. Thesis / Hypothesis
  3. Recommended Solution
  4. Process, Deliverables, Outcomes
  5. Expected Results / ROI

5 slides will give every executive the information to weigh opportunity cost (the decision less forgone) against status quo. Don’t JUST have the 5-pager ready to go, have in your back pocket:

  1. Videos
  2. Competitive case studies
  3. Research
  4. Implementation roadmaps from other companies that have “done it.”

This is the Due Diligence section of raising money. If your executives as you to double-click into these slides with further details, you’re moving in the right direction.

Step #4: Round-up the stakeholders (other supporters and detractors)

Digital Sales Transformation is NOT a line item in your company’s business plan. There is no budget for this. You need to fight for money.

The best way to do this is the power of numbers, and a groundswell effect. Executives (in in the entrepreneurial world, banks and VC’s) fund projects from two parts of their brain: Conscience, Left-Brain that’s logical (time/value of $, ROI) and more even more powerful is Sub-Conscience, Right-Brain that’s emotional. Get other people on your team to pressure the organization, and emotional decisions get funded. People hate missing out on opportunities!

Step #5: Develop a Proof of Concept (M.V.P. – Minimum Viable Product)

We’ve written extensively on how to develop effect pilots – but essentially as a Mobilizer, you’re job is to see your organization as a chess board. You need to develop a pilot or proof of concept that reverse-engineers your final destination to a great starting position.

Choose the the right people to be involved wisely. The classic mistake here is that an RVP Sales, or Product Marketer of a specific business unit/region, decides to enable their sales team in a vacuum. The result is the same every time… digital sales transformation never gets past that initial team.

Others in the organization push back and argue the data isn’t comprehensive enough to prove it will work their “special circumstance.” They’ll use excuses on geography, international cultures, deal complexity, different buyer personas, or just the fact that you didn’t include them, as their excuse. Great Mobilizers can see the forest through the trees, and predict objections in advance.

Step #6: Analyze the results and craft a Business Case

Get this right in advance, and you’ll have a real business case that matters to executives. Get bogged down in superlative metrics like LinkedIn Social Selling Index score as your BIG REVEALING METRIC to executives, and your message will fall on deaf ears.

Learn about the Kirkpatrick Model and the development of Leading, Current and Lagging Indicators that you could show executives. The more that you can show a direct correlation that learning a new skill is actually changing sales behavior, and that sales behavior actually changes sales results… then it becomes a giant ROI spreadsheet calculation for executives. They start to realize that if they spend X in increase the yield/throughput of each Y seller, and enabled in Z amount of time, what is the increase of their sales quota attainment? Once you’re able to help them develop this story, budget magically appears out of thin air!

PS – LinkedIn Social Selling Index Score (SSI Score) is a Current Indicator within the Impact (Level 3) section of Kirkpatrick. SSI Score is only a small piece of a business case story. If you think it’s a definitive metric that funds projects, you’re going to get sorely mistaken come funding time.

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Jamie Shanks

About the Author

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leader all around the world.