At a Glance
Timothy Hughes, Co-Founder & CEO, DLA Ignite
Focus Areas: Customer Experience, Marketing, Social, Sales
Thinkers360 In-Depth Profile & Portfolio: Timothy Hughes
Availability: Check Timothy’s Availability for consulting
Thought Leader Interview
Thinkers360 thought leader interviews profile prominent members of the Thinkers360 community who embody the power of ideas in their work. In this edition, we speak with Timothy Hughes, Co-Founder & CEO of DLA Ignite. Timothy brings over 7 years of extensive experience in the field of social selling from the fields of Customer Experience, Marketing, and Digital Transformation. He is also a consultant, author, speaker, and entrepreneur that provides businesses with techniques to use social media strategically.
Tim is the author of the book “Selling: Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers” which is available on Amazon. He was featured in the Thinkers360 article 100 B2B Thought Leaders and Influencers You Should Follow in 2021 as well as Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Customer Experience (November 2020).
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Thinkers360: Tell us a bit about your background and areas of expertise
TH: I was part of a social selling rollout at a large U.S. software house back in 2014. Part of my role, was to roll out social selling across 4,000 sales and pre-sales people in Europe. Following that, I wrote my first book “Social Selling – Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers” which is available on Amazon. During this time, we realised that social media had changed the world of business and society. The problem was that business still took social media tactically. We looked for a consultancy that could help businesses use social media strategically, but couldn’t find one. In 2016, my business partner, Adam Gray, and I set up DLA Ignite, a business that works with businesses so they can use social media strategically. We are still the only business in the world that does this. While we are known for social selling; our social transformation programs cover; sales, procurement, human resources, customer care, finance, supply chain, etc, etc.
What do I mean? So many people seem to think that social media is about “fluff”. Posting photos of your lunch or cat photos. Most companies will say they are “on social” because they post a photo or a blog every two weeks. This is just a random act of social and is probably a cost to your business. We are the only company that connects social media with profit and revenue. We believe that every company should know how much business (in $’s) they generate through social media and in fact, every keystroke should be connected to profit and growth for your company.
Thinkers360: What are your current responsibilities and what’s a typical day look like?
TH: I am the CEO of DLA Ignite. Typically my day covers many responsibilities. We have a very clear mission and have taken a lot of time in creating a delegated culture so people feel they are empowered to contribute, experiment and innovate. It is this constant evolution that has enabled us to accelerate away from the competition.
I am responsible for overall direction of the business, for day to day leadership of our associates and partners. This will involve supporting the associates and partners in their go-to-market as well as training them. Training is really important to us and we provide 3 hours of training every week. Some of this is achieved through social training and we also provide one to one coaching. We work as a team and associates and partners also share their learnings so that we all share best practice, which means our customers get access to global learnings.
My role also involves recruiting new associates and partners and if anybody wishes to talk about how they can come and work in our team they should contact me. Everybody in DLA Ignite is responsible for their own “social selling” we have never spent a $ on advertising, we have never spent a $ on email marketing, (we deleted our email database in 2018 to comply with GDPR) and we have never spent a $ on cold calling. We believe that a company should eat it’s own dog food. My day is therefore spent, creating content, building and running my podcast as well as attending podcasts.
Thinkers360: What’s the favorite part of your current role?
TH: Back in 2014, I decided that I no longer wanted to sell cloud based accounting systems anymore and I wanted to change the world and be able to see the change in people when they start using social media.
By far the number one exciting thing for me is seeing the change in business and the people as they move from using social media tactically and see the power of using it strategically. We have since upped the game and innovated ahead of any competition by offering to our clients the possibility that they become digitally dominant. We are able to totally drown out any competition on digital. You can imagine this has a massive impact on a clients EBITDA and competitive advantage. But for me, it’s watching people change.
Thinkers360: How do you utilize Thinkers360?
TH: I always use Thinkers360 in my Twitter training and especially where we are training people to be influencers and dominating their industry or market sector. Thinkers360 is a jigsaw piece that you have to have in place if you want to connect social media to cash, as a business and as an individual contributor.
Editor’s Note: See Timothy’s Thinkers360 In-Depth Profile & Portfolio.
Thinkers360: How do you like to work with brands who wish to engage you as a thought leader?
TH: I like to work with brands that see Influencers as human beings and are looking to create something exciting and innovative, within my niche. Too many brands see Influencers as another part of “paid media” where the brand wants me to be an advert for their product and service. That doesn’t work for us.
Thinkers360: What’s your main advice for upcoming thought leaders?
TH: Being a thought leader takes hard work and resilience. I’ve seen so many people try and be an influencer and then after six months disappear. My advice is to find your niche, get in your swim lane and create as much insightful and educational content as you can.
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