If you were going to send someone on your team out to explore "digital influence solutions", who would it be?
Did you default to "the marketing team"?
In my corporate experience, this was definitely the case. It was the marketing team's responsibility to find new ways to become visible in the market.
But let's be honest. Visibility is ONE of the contributors to digital influence, but it is by no means the ONLY contributor.
As I've mentioned in articles before (maybe all my articles ????) is that every person in your organization can either contribute or take away from digital influence. And today, I want to look at some stats that can help us understand the danger of leaving digital influence solely up to the marketing team.
I'll be using the public numbers provided by MicroStrategy for the sake of this example, but I would encourage you plug in your own numbers by department:
Off the cuff, you can notice the percentage of employees who are in the marketing department (10/76). About 13% of the organization.
So let's say that all of those marketing employees are all-in on building digital influence for the business...that means 87% of the company is best case, not impacting digital influence, and worst case, diminishing the digital influence of the organization.
Most of you might think, without a specific mandate to do so, that employees fall into the former group. But in this day and age of “quiet quitting”, it's actually much more likely that employees are falling into the latter group. And then, a culture of minimum viable starts to exist...and you can't help but pass that vibe on to the customers at some point ????
So, what can we do?
We can HELP our team understand their critical role in the organization, AND we can help them find ways to share it ????
Let's do a break down by department of how that might go.
Sales is all about building relationships, listening, and solving problems.
Legit...at the end of the day, that's what sales is.
And with the sales team being such an important contributing piece to people's first impression of the business, it's critical to bring these peeps into the fold.
Now, I know that sales is a heavily KPI'd part of the business. We measure the number of sales touches, the number of meetings, the number of proposals, the number of closed deals. But how often do we touch base with the sales reps to see how they FEEL about those numbers and how to reach them?
Are you doing it enough?
I'll let you answer that one, but if your answer was NO, then that's a great KPI to add. And here's why.
When people who up to do tasks JUST to do tasks, other people can feel it. And when the other people feeling it are potential clients...well, are YOU excited to give your money to someone who's just showing up?
Or would you rather give your money to someone who's SUPER passionate about what they do and how they can help you?
I know which one I would choose.
Often, when we hire "experienced" sales people, we assume they can create this way of being for themselves. And some can. But it's difficult to do if your culture doesn't prioritize it. Even more difficult if your culture doesn't REWARD it.
So, what if, with our sales teams, we could:
Well, THEN we would have a sales team that's contributing to building our digital influence instead of actively dismantling it.
And that would get us up to about 28% of our team positively contributing to building digital influence ↗️
OK, there are a LOT of problems in the customer support arena. This is the number one area where I see people suffer because their "golden handcuffs" - you know, the corporate policies that won't allow you to do what's right? - won't allow them to actually help people.
Daily it seems like there are more and more digital solutions coming online for this group.
So, they are showing up in the digital environment.
But having the best chat solution manned by people who have lost their desire to actually help people, doesn't build anything for your business. Except the sense that people want to avoid doing business with you.
So, what could it look like for the customer support team to contribute to digital influence?
The number one thing that comes to mind for me is: let the people who want to help, ACTUALLY HELP.
This is about empowerment. It's about trust. It's about letting go of perfection (we're humans, not robots) in exchange of real human relationships.
Because if your customer support team is proud of their work, they'll be more likely to share it...and so will their happy customers. Can you say referrals?
And that's with only 33% of our peeps contributing ????
How many of us have worked for businesses where finances were always behind the scenes?
And while I'm not talking about sharing public data digitally, there are still PEOPLE behind the finances who care significantly for your business.
And we can't forget that vendors, clients, partners and employees are all impacted by the finance teams...and where there is a touch, there is an opportunity to make or break a relationship.
We often assume that people in fields like finance and accounting LIKE to be behind the scenes, so we just keep them there. But how beneficial could it be to have your accounting team, credit managers and finance peeps out there building connections with all of the parties who impact the revenues of your business?
Plus, in this scenario, that takes us up to 47% of the team contributing...but we're still not even at 50%.
Human Resources is another department that seems to mostly operate behind the scenes. We set them up so they can support people internally, but that's really where it stops.
But these peeps have SO much insight into the experience the company creates for people.
PLUS...they are the number 1 touch point for new employees.
Wouldn't it make sense for the people who are going to be joining the company to be able to see what their representatives care about?
It makes it WAY easier for people to know what kind of company you are, so the right people can find you.
Not just employees...but clients and partners as well.
But that's only if the people get to show up as people.
And if we aren't going to support the Human Resources peeps do that, then are we REALLY going to let anyone do that?
I would say it's the MOST important for this team to create a human experiences...after all, that is their job, isn't it?
For a lot of companies, this last statement isn't something they would be able to defend. For many organizations, HR is about protecting the company. It's important for you to be honest with yourself about what the goal of each of your teams is. But in this scenario, we're asking questions about how each of your teams COULD contribute to building digital influence.
For those of you who DID agree with the human experiences focus, let's look at the numbers again...and YES! We've finally hit over 50% of our team contributing.
And we could stop at 53%...but what if we didn't?
As we continue to build more and more digital solutions, technical teams at any given organization also continue to grow. For a software development company, likely you will always have close to 50% of your staff working technical gigs.
And if we were behind the scenes with HR and Finance, we're WAY behind the scenes with the software developers.
But we're still talking about HUMAN software developers, not robots.
Humans who have a desire for connection. For community. A desire to be seen.
Especially for companies which have a technical product or solution, they are also the team on which we are building confidence in the market.
How much do these people REALLY know about the problem they are solving, and the technology they are using to create the solutions?
Wouldn't it be helpful for the market to know those things?
What if it wasn't only helpful, but it helped you build that critical level of trust without which digital influence doesn't exist?
Now THAT's what we can get when we don't stop at 53%...we create space for everyone to OWN their unique contribution to the company, and empower them to share it.
In their own way of course.
It's not about FORCING people to create content. It's about celebrating their unique contributions in a way that empowers them to do the same.
It's not about creating a single PROCESS for people to share their expertise. It's about trusting your people to share what they think matters.
It's not about buying a software system that allows all your employees to re-share your company content. It's about tapping into the unique experiences of each employee to build a unique experience of your brand.
It's not about changing all your job descriptions to include content creation. It's about creating a community of people who are excited to talk about your business.
The old ways of doing business - of standardizing and proceduralizing everything to keep the business "safe" - WON'T work here.
A focus on creating digital influence is the start. And a belief that everyone bringing their personal brand to work (like the Lego mini's in the image) is a win
If you believe that, and you're ready to go on the journey, let's chat!