Last Friday, I conducted a social media training class for some of our sales folks. There was a room with many folks on a Friday, which was surprising considering it was optional and before lunch.
First, I love teaching about social media because I like to explain the real power behind the posts and tweets. I go through my deck and then ask if there are any questions. Things are looking good until the end. Then, there were crickets. No response, which from my teaching days I can tell you that’s bad. Asking again, one of the more seasoned sales guys and let’s say outwardly outspoken said this, “Rachel, I attend this session before. I think I can summarize that most of use don’t know where to spend our time if we have any.”
Now, for some of you are reading this and saying “typical sales guy.” I heard opportunity in his response. I addressed his answer, but I think there is a lot to that statement that got me thinking about the lack of adoption for most organization. Why is getting social media adopted a hard sell?
From my perspective, adoption is worth you spending time on. It is why me and our other marketing folks focus on sales and professional service. Why? Sales people are the front line to your business. They talk with your current and prospective clients. Good sales and professional services people generally have their ear to the ground and hear things before I do. I think it would a huge mistake not involving them because employees are your brand ambassadors.
So, why do sales folks not want to participate?
1) Don’t see it as apart of their job.
While prospecting seems to go hand-and –hand with social, some sales folks stick with the traditional tried and true methods. Tip: Show Don’t Tell. I shared with the group how I research reporters and editors and then follow them on Twitter. Share their content. Send a note when I think a piece is awesome. It is a two-way conversation that doesn’t always have to be about my company.
2) Don’t know how
No one wants to admit they don’t know how to use Twitter or Linkedin publically. So, we created an intranet group to teach folks. Remind people of the resources they have. If you don’t have any create them. I always have to remind myself that as an early adopter, I am ahead of the curve and not everyone is there yet.
Tip: Teach and Teach some more. I honor every request from our internal folks on how to use social media tools like Twitter or LinkedIn. While it not my role, I do believe you have to be a teacher to help folks adopt social media.
3) Can figure out how to incorporate social media into their routine.
This is similar to point two, but I want to highlight that these folks have tried to incorporate social in the beginning of their excitement, then fall off the wagon. As Aristotle once said,“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
4) Say their target market isn’t on social media
This is one of my favorites. So, the way I answer it is this: While true your senior stakeholder may not use Twitter or LinkedIn, I bet one of his/her influencers does. Someone you don’t have to go straight the top of an organization if you know who influences decisions. While the boss may sign the checks, someone is usually advising the boss on what to do.
5) Not interested in learning
Not everyone wants to learn. Here my take on how to plan for it.
6) Their boss doesn’t use social media and therefore they don’t.
This is a pretty common problem with any social media adoption. Training for senior leaders to not only encourage, but to participate.
Ultimately, I think most adoption problems are issues with use (utility if you will). If I don’t use something, I don’t see the value and cannot maximize the return on using it. So, in order to get more folks to adopt social media, you have to get them to jump in with both feet. Show them how to listen. Teach them how to share. And pack your patience. It is going to be a long road to adoption.