In this 10 questions with post, we spoke to Tim Hughes, CEO & Co-founder of Digitial Leadership Associates. Not only is Tim a CEO, but he’s also a thought leader and influencer around social selling & marketing. Learn about his career journey, advice to those wanting to grow their online influence and more!

How long have you been CEO and Co-Founder of Digital Leadership Associates? What led you down this path?

Adam Gray and I set up Digital Leadership Associates (DLA)  because we spotted a gap in the marketing industry.  Two years on, we are still the only company in the world that provide social transformation.  Which is using Social Media to transform your business as part of a digital transformation.

I was part of a sales transformation at Oracle Corporation where we transformed 4,000 salespeople across Europe from selling On-Premises solutions to selling SaaS.  This involved totally transforming the way the teams sold, we taught storytelling, white-boarding and using social selling.  This allowed me to write my first book “Social Selling – Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers” available on Amazon here as well as understand methods of changing working practices in large organisations.

My second book “Smarketing: How to Achieve Competitive Advantage through Blended Sales and Marketing” is available on Amazon from 1st October 2018.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I probably copied my brother for a number of years wanting to be a footballer.  But then wanted to be a DJ.  I’ve always continued an interest in electronics (having studied it at University) and I often think that sharing on Social Media and a DJ have a lot in common.  We both share content and engage with people, so maybe I didn’t fall that far from the tree.

What’s your favourite city and why?

I’ve travelled all over the world, the Far East, Australia, US, South America as well as travelled in Europe and the Middle East and my favourite city is still the city I call home, London. There is always something happening, the best plays, ballet, theatre and groups play in London.

Who do you love following on social media?

Top 6 in no particular order ….

As well as my amazing colleagues here at DLA and

What’s your top tip for building a following on Twitter?

You need to understand that it is hard work.  I recall being asked 5 years ago by an individual about how much time you need to apply to get a large Twitter following.  I replied, “at least 30 minutes a day”.  “Surely not?” they responded.  I’ve just checked and they have just under 500 followers in 5 years.  Our company Twitter account (@DigitalleadersA) puts on about 1,000 followers a month.

People try and shortcut this by using automation, it does not work. People want to deal with a real, authentic, passionate person.

For those who don’t know, what is social selling?

Social selling is the response that us salespeople are making to the new empowered buyer.  What do we mean by this? 10 years ago you would have been happy to ring a supplier up and a brochure would arrive in the post 3 days later.  Now if you want to buy a product or service then you can go online and look up products and services and do it in “salesperson avoidance” mode.

Buyers are now researching products and services online and making purchase decisions without companies know about it.  Social Selling is a way to find and be found by the modern buyer.  Just so you know, it’s NOT selling over social.  I’m not sure of anybody who gets up in the morning and says “I need to talk to a salesman today”.

Why should we bother?

In the B2B space at the least, you are leaving money on the table, at the worse, you won’t be in business in five years time.  Social Selling, certainly in B2B Enterprise in Europe is now pretty much business-as-usual.

Best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Suffer fools gladly – The saying is normally not to suffer fools gladly.  What I have found that in the current world of digital disruption, there are no bad ideas.  Diversity and diversity of ideas and culture are critical for survival in today’s turbulent times.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

I’ve always only ever had jobs where I can make a difference.  Here at DLA, we make a positive difference to our customers every day.  It’s a great feeling to see people, prospect and close business through the use of social.  Just as the telephone revolutionised selling in the past, social media has revolutionised sales today and in the future.

Favourite film or tv show?

My favourite recent film was Deadpool 2, funnier than the first.