This week, at a client meeting with the top executives of a global firm based in Europe, we were drafting an approach to a Social Selling coaching program, spanning the sessions over 3 months. “So you guys would be like Social Selling personal trainers”, the VP of sales commented.

I actually liked that. They were acknowledging that they had a situation (like when you decide that you need to improve your fitness by stretching muscles at the gym), that they needed a solution (like signing up for the gym) and that they would need help along the way in order to consolidate the advances and incorporate them to their routines and culture. The implication is that, as with the gym case, signing up only will not get you results. You need determination, perseverance and will. A training program with a personal trainer helps you get there and not give up along the way.

Personal Trainer

Let’s bring the Social Selling personal trainer in!

In the case of Social Selling, it really requires a change of culture for most companies: move away from a transaction-based sale to building a relationship that entitles a buying advice. Jill Rowley, the Social Selling princess, often comments that she “does not sell, but she helps clients in their buying process”.

That brings me to the case of Jill, a former Oracle executive in charge of the global Social Selling strategy for the firm, fired over strategic discrepancies. What’s most relevant to me about this case is how a company recognizes that has a situation and that needs help to fix culture; Hires an executive to get things done and transform the company; Fires the executive after a few months for “not being a good fit” for the culture of the company. Well, wasn’t that the WHOLE point?

It’s not the first and will not be the last case of poor management, but it really highlights one of the main blocks on the road for Social Selling: It’s not tools, processes or information that need your main efforts, it’s people, organization and culture.

Let me finish with Jill Rowley’s much celebrated “If you suck offline, you are going to suck more online”.

Have you experienced any of these issues?