I had the pleasure of co-facilitating a workshop on LinkedIn this week. There were more than 20 people in the room with varying degrees of familiarity with the LinkedIn platform. It was a fun event, and we received some great feedback on the usefulness of the tool, particularly for these folks, many of whom are in a job search.
They say you never learn something until you teach it. What I learned was just how far this platform has come in the past 6 months. As an early adopter, I sometimes take it for granted. But seeing it through the eyes of a newcomer really highlighted just how powerful this tool set is.
- Your Personal website. It’s YOU.com (just Google yourself and see)
- Your LIVING Rolodex (it grows exponentially as you nurture it)
- A “P [professional] RM” System (moves with you from job to job)
- A Social Media Platform (hooks into Twitter, “like”, “sharing,” etc.)
- A Database of Corporate Information (“Company” entity added)
- A Job Posting / Search System (powerful for recruiters /job-seekers)
If you (or anyone you care about) are still not on LinkedIn, you need to get on pronto. If you are a power user, it’s time to take a look at the new features available to you. LinkedIn has centralized some very useful training information in a section called “The Learning Center” http://learn.linkedin.com/ where you can quickly update your knowledge and skills.
Get to it!
If you’ve read this blog you know I’m a huge fan of Seth Godin. His posts really make marketers think about the job we’re doing. It’s probably the best blog out there for marketing professionals, and Seth is very economical with his words.
Yesterday he posed a particularly provocative thought on preparation. The challenge is to think about the level of effort and expertise you are applying to your preparation. Basically, are you a pusher or a leaner?
He argues there are three levels of preparation: “Beginner,” “Novice,” and “Expert.” Basic premise: Most of us languish in the novice stage and never push hard enough to reach expertise.
As sales and marketing professionals, we can take this to heart in many areas: Go-To-Market Planning, Pre-Meeting Planning, Product Development, Websites and other marketing efforts. Do you ever find yourself phoning it in? Why start if you’re not going for something brilliant?
Yesterday, I had the satisfaction of closing a sale on which I’d been working for over two years. I can’t describe the feeling better than to say this is why you get into sales!
A two-year sales cycle is crazy!” you say? I would submit that it is more the norm these days when you look at the total life of a deal. As you can imagine this represented the culmination of many, many touch points with my client.
In their outstanding book “Professional Services Marketing,” the partners at Wellesley Hills Group espouse the concept of “Nurturing.” I could not agree more. As mentioned in the book, the “long sales cycle” equals the months and even years that it takes to foster a strong relationship while the client builds to a point where they have a real initiative and funding and are thus in active buying mode. The concept is that the “short sales cycle,” once the client is able to buy, is much shorter – perhaps only several weeks.
But you need to focus on the nurturing that puts you in a position on the long-cycles so when that buyer is ready, you are a trusted source for solutions and the obvious choice.
What are you doing to stay in front of your highest priority customers monthly, or even weekly, to nurture your way to more sales?