Tim Hughes




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Tim Hughes is universally recognized as the world’s leading pioneer and exponent of social selling, and he is currently ranked No. 1 by Onalytica as the most influential social selling person in the world.

He is also co-founder and CEO of DLA Ignite and co-author of the bestselling books “Social Selling: Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers” and “Smarketing: How to Achieve Competitive Advantage through Blended Sales and Marketing”.

Both are published by Kogan Page.

Company Website: DLAIgnite.com

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/timothyhughessocialselling/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Timothy_Hughes

You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/c/TimothyHughes1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TimHughesSocialSelling/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tim_hughes1/

The phonetic pronunciation of my last name is here.


Pronounced as Hewz—rhymes with amusement

How did you start out as a marketer?

I have no idea why people started thinking of me as a “marketer”, My background is in sales.

I have no marketing qualifications, but I just appeared on a list of the ten most influential marketers in the world, so maybe I know something about marketing after all.

I’m flattered that people ask that question, and having worked in the world of social, digital, virtual, and remote selling for the last 5 years, I guess some marketing knowledge has rubbed off on me.

That said, marketing has changed. Social media has changed the world, it has changed society, and it has changed the way we do business.

The days of marketers using interrupt marketing (advertising, email, and cold calling) are over, and people have to find an alternative. That alternative is social media.

In terms of digital advertising, the following figures are engagement rates for digital advertising:

1.61% Facebook

1.91% Google

0.35% programmatic (this is where ads follow you around when you browse).

That means that digital advertising has a 98.81% failure rate, and based on the amount of money that is spent on digital advertising, that means that $265 billion is wasted on digital advertising every year.

According to Hubspot, the response rate to emails fell to a record low of 2.1% in April 2020. Said differently, 98% of our efforts to reach new prospects failed.

This is what we mean when we say that marketing just isn’t working anymore.

Looking back, what was your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?

I moved into sales in my twenties and knew I needed to create pipelines and prospects, so I read every marketing book I could lay my hands on, searching for answers.

The turning point for me was 21 years ago, when I read the Seth Godin book “Permission Marketing”.

Even back then, I think people had enough of interrupting marketing. I guess that is why Seth Godin wrote the book.

But it’s taken twenty-one years and a pandemic to finally nail the lid on interrupt marketing’s coffin.

How did you get your first client back then, and what kind of service did you do for them?

Back in the 1980s, I used cold calling; mass email hadn’t been “invented” by then; it wasn’t until the 1990s that mass email took off.

In terms of the question, I spent the 1980s and the 1990s cold calling.

Of course, the world has changed, and nobody likes being interrupted by advertisements, cold calls, or emails.

As we didn’t have the internet, the only way you could get information about a product or service was by talking to a salesperson.

Now you can get your mobile out and search for any information you want.

And you don’t need to talk to a salesperson; in fact, people actively avoid them.

What do you find most rewarding about what you do?

We love the work we do here at DLA Ignite, as we are transforming sales and marketing into a new way of working.

Nobody looks at ads; everybody hates cold calls, and we can block the callers using iOS 13. We also hate being emailed, which is why we unsubscribe and block certain types of emails.

In terms of rewarding, we run two and a half hours of training each week for our Associates and Partners, and it’s great to see the team sharing with each other.

For us to remain market leaders, we have to continue to innovate and to continue offering our clients the best team of people.

I love seeing how the global team members grow and continue to grow over time with us.

It is also great to hear feedback and learnings from across the world.

Why have we invested in global capabilities? We see too many companies taking an American view of sales and marketing, which is then rolled out as a US view cookie cutter.

The fact that, in the United Kingdom, we call cookies and biscuits just shows there needs to be an approach that takes into account cultural sensitivities and language.

We have a lot of readers who are bent on becoming freelancers. Aside from freelancing, how else can someone earn online? And what is your advice?

I moved from corporate life to running my own business four years ago.

If you are looking to freelance, then you need to be very clear about what you do and where you focus.

Too many people try to be jacks of all trades and masters of none.

For example, if you need an operation on your knee and your surgeon tells you that they are the best knee surgeon in the world,

Then you will feel happy. If they also tell you they drive a taxi and will come and tend to your garden, it’s not so good.

I get these emails where people give this long list of services they provide; there is no way they can be experts at all of these things.

Here at DLA Ignite, we focus on transforming businesses with social media; we are not a marketing agency.

Be sure what your superpower is and what it isn’t.

If you were given the chance to build your career all over again, what would you do differently so that you could achieve your dreams faster?

Nothing.  To build a career, you need business acumen. My current start-up was thirty years in the making.

The thing that brings the most value to DLA Ignite is our network and business experience.

We are successful because I bring to bear the skills, network, and experiences from the past.

How is your typical work day structured?

I get up at 5:00 AM, have breakfast, and then do some exercise. I either run or go to the gym.

I will be at my desk for 08:00 am and then have calls. I haven’t traveled into London for 6 months because of the COVID-19 situation.

My calls can start at 08:00 AM with Australia and go on through until 19:00 in the evening, depending on the work we are doing in the US.

There is no “typical day,” as there will be writing articles such as this, writing blogs, taking part in webinars, running my podcast, training the team, having 1-1s with the team, and of course doing my own #TimTalk podcast.

I am currently learning to meditate through the “Calm” app, and I try to do this at lunch time.

I always have lunch with my partner, and I always try to do 10,000 steps in the evening.

Can you tell us about a time where you had to put in significant effort up front and then wait a long time for success?

As a person who is driven, I have always put in significant effort. I’m a great believer that “hard work pays”.

When I first realized I wanted to run my own business on social media, this required me to do my day job and then work in the evening. When I was writing my first book, “Social Selling Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers” (available on Amazon worldwide), I did my day job and wrote the book at weekends.

Running DLA Ignite requires us to continually innovate as well as make sure the team is enthused and excited.

All this requires hard work.

Writing my first book was time-consuming; I was at full-time work, so I could only write it on the weekends and evenings, but it was a best seller in the pre-sale.

It was hard work, but it still sells by the bucket load.

Youve been tasked with redesigning the companys brand strategy from the ground up. Walk us through your process.

We did this recently, and many people make it sound difficult and time-consuming, but it isn’t. We had somebody who owned the task and then ran an away day where we brainstormed what we needed to do. The whole of this process was updated on Slack so that everybody in the business was involved and therefore had ownership of the rebrand.

The result was something that the whole business could buy into.

Can you tell us about a past situation where you had to juggle multiple projects with competing deadlines?

I’ve always done this since I was early in my career; you just have to keep thinking about what is the priority and not be able to tell people you don’t have time to complete tasks. The key for any leader is not to get surprised.

Sometimes you have to get up early and sometimes you have to work late, but working out the priorities and where and when you need to spend your time is a key skill today.

I highly recommend that you write something and leave it for 24 hours or overnight.

I wrote this article as a draft, left it for a few days, and then came back with fresh ideas to update and enhance it.

What recently developed marketing strategy, technique, or tool interests you the most right now?

We are a “social” business, so we don’t believe that advertising, cold calling, and email marketing work.

You only have to look at the research (above) and see that these legacy ways of marketing are on the way out, and people have shifted to social.

As a business, we teach people how to use social media strategically in business.

We have never placed an advertisement, made a cold call, or sent emails for marketing.

We don’t have to, as we are a social business.

We don’t use tools as a business; why would you invest in an email marketing tool?

Nobody reads the emails it sends out.

What do you do to stay up-to-date with new marketing techniques?

We work hard with our clients and have developed “data-driven” social selling.

We know that based on what a client does, they will get results. “Do this” and “do this” and you will “get this.” It’s as simple as that.

We have also created processes to make sure salesperson time is kept efficiently.

It’s a cliche, but I am a lifelong learner and spend time every day reading the latest articles.

We have a channel in Slack where the team shares up-to-date and relevant articles.

Can you tell us about a project youre most proud of from your past work history?

Here at DLA Ignite, we are very proud of the way we have transformed businesses.

We know that a business using our social selling program will increase revenue by 30% and reduce the sales cycle by 40%.

We have created a program that is repeatable and predictable.

I love the way that people come into the course skeptical and leave as believers.

Which one book or blog post would you recommend every marketer read?

How to use Twitter to get 10 C-Level Appointments Per Week—A Case Study https://lnkd.in/dAVYvMy

It’s 5 years old and still holds true.

What advice would you share with other marketers who want to become more productive?

Stop listening to the marketing gurus who have a vested interest in holding you, your business, and marketing back.

We know that social media has changed the world, society, and the way we do business.

We know marketing does not work anymore, and we know that we need to go where our clients are on social media. So, what’s stopping you?

Using social media strategically is more efficient; you can do more with less; it’s just about making your day more efficient and effective.

If there’s one marketing guru, you’d recommend who and why.

There are many people in marketing I would recommend, but if there is only one, it has to be Ted Rubin.



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