Saturday, 3 September 2011

The changing business landscape ,Selling and Social Networking – Implications for Employment relations in the era of Modern Selling 2.0

(Photos of garden  landscaping exhibits at British Museum, National Gallery and the Museum of Garden History )
Of the many changes in the selling landscape are the different ways that we try to divide up our lives – work/life balance.

We used to consider there was a clear difference between social, work and domestic life.

It is hard to beleive that one used to  asked the boss for permission to make a telephone call from the office to home. BMP (before mobile phones) a ‘road warrior ‘salesperson one regularly asked permission to use a customer’s phone to phone in orders , queries etc.

In some research* ( scroll down to end for link) this year I have been involved with, a quarter of Sales Managers with direct reports consider they have the right to call their sales team both within and beyond working hours. We live in an increasingly 24/7 world.

(Australian landscape outside the British Museum )

The three segments of work, social and domestic life are now merging into just two - on-line or off-line environments. In some ways with the proliferation of mobile smart phones it seems to me to becoming a world of ‘ eyes down on line- eyes up face to face’.

Employment relations expert Acas has recently drawn up guidelines to help businesses, staff and trade unions agree how to handle the use of the Internet, blogs and social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter inside and outside of work.

The ACAS/ Institute for Employment Studies Research study considers

1. How extensive is the use of social media in UK workplaces?

2. What challenges and opportunities do social media present for
management of employment relations?

3. What does good practice in this area look like?  Research paper

The number of people logging onto Facebook at work has ‘rocketed’ in the last ten years. Current estimates stand at 6 out of ten using the site during working hours.

Unwisely some people post derogatory comments about managers, colleagues or their company on their page.
John Taylor , Chief executive of Acas stipulates that “ On line conduct should not differ from offline conduct.”
“Employees should assume that everything they say on the Internet could be made public and should think whether they want their colleagues or boss to read it.”
Wall landscape of grasses outside National Gallery ,London )
“They might not mean it but what they post could end up being seen by billions of people worldwide”

“If an employer is too tough, it needs to consider the potential impact might cause bad feeling and be time consuming.”

Taylor adds: “Importantly, many companies want their employees to be up to date and comfortable with Internet working, as social media sites are increasingly a key part of business and marketing. Firms need to bear this in mind.”

Research by Spring Technology has shown that almost a quarter of the UK check their work emails at least once a day while supposedly taking time off.


For sales of course, we may have an employer boss but we also have a client who is our boss.
Indeed some argue now that customers are increasingly the ‘owner of our brand’.

Much as salespeople in their meeting preparation may Google to research about their clients and prospects so of course Buyers in their research or out of curiosity will Google us!

Similarly Buyers might look at face book, Linked In ,Twitter, Blogs and You tube traffic about potential Suppliers and their representatives.

Of course we cannot protect that easily what other people say about us and most clients will distinguish what may be gossip about us -  but they will certainly judge as to how we talk about our company and our clients in social media etc.

As products and services become more commoditised the UPOD (Unique Point of difference) may come down to whether we are to be trustworthy in the eyes of the web surfing client.
(The Knot Garden, Museum of Garden History, London with in the background the tomb (right) of John Tradescant the elder  c1570-1638 and his son also John 1608-1662. Both great gardeners, plant gatherers and collectors who also created a Museum called The Ark at their house in the parish of St- Mary-at –Lambeth. )

Part of that picture of trust  we build up is in both our corporate and personal brand image held on social media- LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, You tube, Blogs….

Perhaps Sales managers should consider adapting the ACAS guidelines to the Sales management and sales policy area.

Acas Recommendations

1: All employers should have a policy on Internet/social
media use.
2: An Internet/social media use policy must set out
clearly and explicitly the organisation’s expectations of and definitions of
acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, and the consequences of
violation. These should be consistent with disciplinary procedures and
cross-refer to them.
3: The policy on Internet/social media use need not be
complicated – the main message that online conduct should not differ
from offline conduct, with reference to existing conduct guidelines, may
4: The policy on Internet/social media use should be
drawn up in consultation with staff, either through their representatives,
if present, or directly, if no representatives are present.
5: A policy on Internet use needs to be communicated.
6: Organisations should make sure that there are
adequate mechanisms for employees to raise formal and informal
7: Organisations may wish to consider how they can
reap the business benefits of social networking.
8: Employers will need to keep up to date in
developments in employment law relating to social media.
9: Employers need to consider reviewing policies on
Internet use/social media on a regular basis.

Links relating to this post   Social Networking and How to develop a policy
Go to  for more details on Acas's guidance including practical tips for employers  Research paper

*The full research study -state of Sales Management in 2011  will be presented at the ISMM forum September 29th in Cheadle- De Vere Cheadle House, Royal Cresent, Cheadle Royal Business Park, Cheadle, Cheshire. SK8 3FS . Either book online or contact June Kelly at


  1. Valuable information It is nice opportunity for all interesting how to use social media to promote business,thank i am going to apply that to my business!

    1. Great, glad it has helped

      Good selling

  2. Excellent information provided for promoting business on social networks.

    1. Hi Richard

      Glad to be of help

      Good Selling

  3. Selling really matters a lot, after all, if your product would be sold then ultimately you are increasing your turnovers and hence more profit.

    1. Thanks Kripaluji

      Yes , I guess nothing really happens in business before a sale. I guess it is wht Sales is at the top of a profit and loss account.

      Good Selling

  4. It is better to deal with this subject like you did instead of around. I always like direct articles. Good job

    1. Many thanks

      I hope I write in the direct sense you favour. Sometimes I confess it may come across as blunt!

      Good selling