The Emperor’s New Clothes

dannykayedannykayeDepends who you believe - but the term ‘social media’ has been around for 15 years - give or take.  Facebook launched in 2004. LinkedIN - the ‘grand daddy’ of social networks - was founded a couple of years before that. However you slice the cake ‘Socialxxx’ has not been around that long.

Of course that hasn’t stopped the self proclaimed gurus emerging and claiming their ‘expert witness’  title. Of course to become an expert only takes 10,000 hours, but being an expert in Social XXX does NOT qualify you to implement the associated and necessary change management  that a large organization would need, or any one of the other countless things that need to be thought about - it isn’t that simple. And there’s more - it absolutely is not ok to simply to throw away everything and start again.

That’s what happened with the last fad - outsourcing - but let’s not go there today.

My focus of my story today goes back to when I was a kid - and what was called ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’. Enough. The baby is getting hurt. Here’s what I mean.

The ‘gurus’ are out of control. Social XXX has emerged and we are forgetting core lessons.

Hands up if you are fed up with hearing things like

  • “Traditional business is dead - social is the way ALL business will happen in the future”
  • “If you are still sending email - your business is at risk”
  • “Business is being reinvented  - get on the bus before it is too late”

Here’s what I think - I agree. BUT - it isn’t that simple.

I wrote yesterday about a Forbes article that got me going on the topic of ‘cold calling is dead - long live social sales’ !! Now please - I don’t want to get carried away and just hammer on this single article. It is a fine article - as it goes - which unfortunately is nowhere. But I am focussed on it again so you dont need to read a different one. I am using it as a demonstration of how even the once august publication of Forbes is on a band wagon, there is no conductor and every member is playing a different tune.

Let me replay the graphic again:


Here’s the thing. It doesn’t make sense.

‘Traditional Sales’ - which is what is being dubbed ‘Sales 1.0’ in the diagram above absolutely incorporates cold calls, sales demos. and lead qualification - and a lot more besides.

BTW - so does ‘Sales 2.0’

Oh - and so does ‘Social Sales’

Those items are all part of the process of sales.

  • You may or may not cold call - but somehow the business is attempting to engage with a prospect.
  • You may or may not do a sales demo - but somehow the business is attempting to educate the prospect as to the value that you can deliver that business (well a good sales demo will do that anyway).
  • And absolutely you are always need to qualify leads - always - at least if you are going to succeed you are.

So the ‘Old Sales Model’ as depicted above is alive and well. The curious thing is that the ‘New Sales Model’ as described is actually not so new - it’s sales. Lets play a couple of those bullets again - this time with a different emphasis

  • You may or may not cold call - but somehow the business is attempting to engage with a prospect.
  • You may or may not do a ‘sales demo’ - but somehow the business is attempting to educate the prospect as to the value that you can deliver that business (well a good sales demo will do that anyway).

So the odd thing is that third circle - Social Networks.

Social Networks added - and qualification / measurement / process - lost.

Back in the 60s it was said that if The Beatles recorded the telephone directory - it would still be a hit. Meet Social Media/Networks.Sales/Enterprises/Businesses ….. all you need to do is mention the term - and improve the SEO of your website / blog at a stroke. Social Networks are hot. But they always have been.

Wikipedia :

A Social Network is a social structure made up of individuals (or organizations) called “nodes”, which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige

You are not going to like this - but that defines my dad’s rolodex, my address book, my guitar club when I was a kid ….. you name it … there is confusion - Social Networks are not new. What is new is that some very clever people have worked out how to build out technology platforms that support the concept of groups and like minded people.

What has also changed is how people, a business, a charity, a government, a very large corporation - each grapples with Social issues. It varies. It flattens the organisation. It puts the customer in the driving seat. It accelerates every process. In short order Social is creating a revolution. But the implementation needs to be an evolution. (BTW - evolution does not necessarily mean slow - just as revolution does not mean fast - just think of the sexual revolution of the 60s to work that one through.)

Bottom Line

  • Workout what you want to do with your business - and the necessary processes needed to achieve the goals
  • Workout how Social Engagement fits into those processes.
  • Understand what success looks like.
  • Know how you are going to measure that success to demonstrate that the changes worked.

…. and please please please surround yourself with people who have done the journey before, who can see the big picture, who aren’t just experts in a single discipline - and definitely find someone who is prepared to call out whether you are wearing clothes or not.

Video did not kill TV, TV did not kill the radio and radio did not kill the newspaper - but I would agree - they all have changed - and will continue to do so.

February 6, 2013