By Amy Turner, The Community Roundtable
Need some help convincing executives why your organization needs to be more active in social media and community? TheCR Network spoke with Jaime Punishill and discussed practical strategies for selling these important social functions to the C-Suite.
Set the Control Function Areas of the Organization Up for “Wins”
The control function areas refer to legal, compliance, fraud, risk, information security, IT, etc. These folks see everything that you are presenting to them in terms of risk and thus have trouble absorbing the opportunity sets. Therefore, Jaime’s strategy is to deal with these groups first, realizing they are perceived to be the blockage to all business so you can move forward versus continually jumping hurdles.
Ask for Probability and Worst Case Magnitude
When dealing with these control functions, be aware that for every objection they give you, it will be framed up as a 100% probability and the worst case magnitude. A best practice in this instance is to always lead with the question: “Give me probability of magnitude.” When you actually press them on it and get to real probability and magnitude, now you have the ability to frame a business case around opportunity vs. cost vs. risk.
Translate Social Media to the Organization’s Business Objectives
Always present your case in relation to your business objectives. It is the only language that the C-Suite understands. Furthermore, when faced with presenting a crash course in social media and community to help get executives or the control functions on board, do not overwhelm them with too much information. The critical thing is to convince them that you know how to translate social media and community into business objectives.
Frame up the Risk
Sometimes, legal will ask you to put disclosures and disclaimers on everything that is the printed word. That just is not going to work, but they will push for it without even a valid argument. If this happens, tell them to frame up the size and the risk of doing it or not doing it. Then, armed with that information, you can present your case to a business head and see if they are willing to accept the risk.
Show the C-Suite What your Competitors are Doing with Social Media
Show all the things that competitors are doing wrong and that you would never do. This gives legal and the executives a sense of the broad sets of activities, and that you are responsible, careful, cautious and understanding the legal concerns. It also simultaneously shows how you are trailing behind the competition.
Skinny Down the Ask
How do you handle the second stage of social media, i.e. to garner the funds to help the community grow? Jaime explained that the best way to do this is to get creative and “skinny down the ask” to make it small enough to do the initial experiment that proves the business case. Also, gain an understanding of how your organization manages the P&L and find a business case that people can rally around.
Remember, it takes a risk-taker to sell social media and community to the C-Suite. If that is not you, find a risk-taker in your organization who can support you. Are you that risk-taker, or do you take a team approach to selling to the C-Suite? Share your tips and insights with us!