Like any other major change initiative, you must present a strong argument for the value and benefits to the organization. Social media is a new way of thinking and it is still being met with resistance. So, there is still evangelism and education to be done.
To secure management buy-in, I think it is very important to forget all the techno speak…present the business case for WHY developing/executing a social strategy is a critical business imperative. It’s important to focus on the number’s, the sales potential, how social selling shrinks the sales cycle and can be used to increase customer loyalty. Talk about how your sales people can use new media to differentiate the products and services they are selling. And, of course, point out that you can use these tools to gain competitive advantage. In other words, don’t lead with the technology. Before you jump on Twitter, you need to know why you are there.
Start with a clear vision, purpose and plan…then align the technology to your strategic objectives. Focus on measuring your results and build on them. Keep in mind that engaging everyone on your sales team will take time and needs to begin with active involvement from senior leadership. If management is asking their sales reps to use LinkedIn – they need to be acting participating themselves. Leaders model the way for their people!
This is another fundamental shift in how we approach the sales process. Don’t be fooled by the “quick fix” promises of thousands of followers over night. Numbers matter little if the followers aren’t your target customers. Integrating the right social tools will require much more than a few LinkedIn classes. Well…only if you want your financial investment to make a real difference.