t seems the only way to win a deal is on price. Ideas can run together and sound the same. When you present a solution you need competitive differentiation. You want your Buyers to say “I’ve never thought of that” or “that’s creative.”
Buyers and Sellers alike seek an innovative edge. We are in constant need of fresh ideas to be successful. To find this, we need to collaborate. This article discusses how to use social media to share ideas among your peers. I provide a Social Sharing Guide to help you share ideas more effectively.
The Value of Social Sharing
“Our ideas are products of our environment. They are influenced by the conversations around us.” – Clive Thompson, Smarter Than You Think
To be innovative, you must seek ideas outside of yourself. Combine these ideas with your own and vocalize them. While we participate in meaningful social dialog, a tide of ideas rises. As the tide rises, so too does your boat. You learn more in the process.
From a B2B Sales point-of-view, Social Sharing is beneficial for 4 reasons:
1. Thought Leadership. As we consume quality information, we become more informed. External influences improve our perspectives and the advice we give our clients. We become better Thought Leaders.
2. Customer-first Perspective. Learning from those around us forces us to question our own assumptions. We become exposed to new solutions. We focus on customers’ wants as opposed to products we are trying to push. Social Sharing helps us adopt a “Customer-first Perspective.”
3. Personal Pace of Evolution. When we read new things, we naturally become more creative problem solvers. Then we “pay it forward” by sharing our refreshed ideas with our Buyers. We develop a reputation with our Buyers of being “ahead of the curve.” We become quick learners.
4. Perfected Argument. Something called the “audience effect” improves our ability to present our ideas. Clive Thompson points to several research studies that demonstrate this effect. One research study focused on college students. “When students were asked to write for a real audience in another country, their essays had better organization and content than when they were writing for their teacher.” Simply expressing themselves to a larger audience made them more effective. The same is true for us when we “bounce” ideas off others.
How Do I Social Share?
Social Sharing is a two-way street. We must both listen and speak. To implement Social Sharing in an effective way, it requires willingness in 2 ways:
1. Be Influenced. Follow 20 or 30 respected thought leaders. Follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn. Read their daily feeds. When appropriate, apply their ideas to your customer’s needs.
2. Influence Others. Continually fill your network with quality connections. Then either re-share what you’ve heard, of provide your own new insights. Share your ideas internally with your colleagues (i.e. Chatter or Yammer) or to your entire network (i.e. Twitter or LinkedIn.
I’m a Manager, How Do I Create a Sharing Environment?
Creating a collaborative culture can be a challenge. It is behavior that must be reinforced and incented. Here are two tips to jump start your team to share more.
1. Gamification. Track sharing activity within your organization. Set up a contest that drives positive behavior. Provide a leaderboard that rewards top performers. Peer recognition goes a long way in a sales organization. A gift certificate or free dinner for a monthly winner will spur adoption.
2. Lead the Way. Without management support, initiatives fail. As a manager, you need to share your ideas more than anyone on your team. You need to demonstrate what “good looks like.”
Begin following respected thought leaders on Twitter or LinkedIn. Start bouncing ideas off your peers either over coffee or through social networks. Download the Social Sharing Style Guide. Use Chatter, Yammer, or a similar product to publically share your ideas within your company. Over time, you will uncover more innovation to share with your Buyers. You will find your competitive edge.