Let’s face it, governance is not near the top of the list of hot topics for B2B sales professionals. The word alone sounds political and therefore irrelevant. In this context however, it’s highly relevant. And, it’s not political.

The governance word, if considered at all by B2B sales people, ranges from boring to intimidating to misunderstood. The most common misperception of governance is that it serves to handcuff sales people.

When governance is implemented properly, it can be a B2B sales person’s friend. And, it can be the C-Suite’s best friend too.

Driving a Car Requires Governance

To consider the logic of governance in sales, just look no further than the rules of the road. Imagine what it would be like if there were no rules of the road, no traffic signals, speed limits, lanes, etc. Governance in the context of driving a car allows us to drive with confidence because we know what is permitted and not permitted. In other words, it works in our favor as a society.

What does governance have to do with sales?

If you’re in B2B sales and you want to use social media to engage with prospects and buyers, don’t you want to avoid doing something that would get you in trouble in your company? And, don’t you want to avoid getting your company in trouble?

While the governance topic can be intimidating or unclear to some, consider the four Ps of governance, as explained to me by Ed Terpening on episode 42 of my Social Business Engine podcast. On this episode, Ed summarized governance from a research report published by Altimeter Group: Social Business Governance: A Framework to Execute Social Business Strategy.

Ed describes the 4 Ps of governance:

  1. People
  2. Policy
  3. Process
  4. Practice

For a full explanation of the 4 Ps of governance, I encourage you to listen to that podcast episode.

How does governance work in sales?

The lawyers in your company primarily care about you staying out of trouble when using social media. They especially want to avoid a situation where you get your company in trouble because of something you post on social media.

A good governance policy will be written in plain language so that it’s easy to understand. A governance policy should give you confidence because you know how to stay out of trouble, sort of like the rules of the road. It should also help you stay in compliance with your industry regulations.

Use Common Sense

While you should know your company’s social media policy, you can also apply the rule of common sense. For example, endorsing a third party product, using slanderous language and otherwise behaving in a prejudiced manner, can get you in trouble. Also consider that the lines are bit gray between your personal and professional social media activity.

On episode 122 Why Legal Should be your Best Friend, Ryan Garcia, Legal Director at Dell explains the importance of disclosure of your relationship with your employer in order to comply with FTC regulations in the U.S. For example, Dell employees commonly use the hashtag #IWorkforDell when posting something pertaining to Dell products.

The 2 Ways to Avoid Getting in Trouble

If your company doesn’t have a formal governance policy, ask for one in writing. Read it. In some cases, the employee handbook can suffice as the governance plan. Always defer to legal guidance provided by your company on the topic of governance.

Training on the governance plan is a must. Ryan Garcia points out that training is the most effective element of having a good governance policy.

Catch my Poolside Sales Chat video above that I recorded live in San Francisco on this topic.

Feature image courtesy of Pexels.