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Is your LinkedIn profile as boring as wet afternoon?

Is your LinkedIn profile as boring as wet afternoon?

by Phil Stubbs | @PhilStubbs14 | LinkedIn

It’s a New Year so there’s no better time to think about your LinkedIn presence..

Very few of you will have a decent LinkedIn profile, many of you won’t even have a header/hero image and if you do it’s probably corporate branded. Your headline is most probably your job title and if you have a summary, it’s either written in the third person or comes across like you’re desperate for a new role.

If you have added some text to your current position it’s more than likely a couple of paragraphs cut and pasted from the company website. It could be that you’re more animated about a previous role than your current one. And you will have got bored trying to come up with anything of interest for any earlier positions.

I doubt there will be a reference as to why you do what you do and what drives you. If you’re in sales, you probably mention how successful you have been – again and again – without a word about how you coped with the difficult and challenging times.

Sir Richard Branson said ‘Show me an entrepreneur who says they have never failed and I will show you a liar. We all fail – that is what helps us succeed.’

Maybe you have a decent profile, or you think you do. There are a lot of self-proclaimed LinkedIn experts that will readily help you – only that’s also a problem – most of them are average.

I’ll happily stand up in front of an audience and tell you all where you tend to go wrong – you just need to book me before my diary fills up.

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Free Yourself From the Inefficiency and Ineffectiveness of Legacy Sales Methods of the Past

Free Yourself From the Inefficiency and Ineffectiveness of Legacy Sales Methods of the Past

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

The other week I was sitting in a coffee shop drinking my tea, (I’m British after all) and noticed a Cold Calling Guru who talks about Outbound all the time. He was complaining that he had received some outbound. I spat my tea out.

“When will people stop these interruptions” he went onto say. Totally agree. He said “he was too busy to get these rubbish interruptions”. Agree with that too.

Interruption Marketing and Selling started in the 1930s, it is very simple, if you “touch” a person a number of times they will recognise you. The idea is that if you interrupt enough and they will go “wow! I need to buy your product” and you are then “quids in” as we say here in London. Which means they buy something for people not aware of the slang.

Problem is for us sellers is that it doesn’t work like that anymore for us salespeople, there is too much attitude, legislation and technology getting in the way.

What do I mean by attitude. Well, like this “Outbound” guy, none of us like being interrupted. In fact, we know that do do our job well, we need to stop as many of these interruptions as we can. We are all, after all, busy people.

We use technology such as voice mail to divert cold callers. We don’t return voice mails, because very simply we are not interested and have other things to do in our lives. I know if I don’t know the number on my iPhone I don’t answer it and if it’s a cold caller I then block that number using standard iPhone functionality. When it comes to email, my email will pick up most spam email, if unsolicited emails get through then we set up rules, so they will go into the spam box in the future.

Of course, GDPR also has an impact and if you are reading this outside of Europe you have to comply with GDPR because I’m in Europe. This means that if you keep calling me or keep emailing you I have can ask you to comply for my “right to remain forgotten” under GDPR rules. Or of course, you can be fined 4% of global turnover. The days of “Jeb Blount” calling somebody everyday for six months just cannot happen anymore. It’s over!

The Lack of Efficiency of Legacy Sales Methods

Let’s take an example of cold calling 100 people, of those you can probably speak to ten people. It is a highly inefficient way of working. Using Social, you can find the 10 people you want to talk to, there is no need to contact people that are not right for you.

Then if you can talk to those 10 people you have on social in the same time it takes you to call 100 cold calls. The maths are easy. You have contacted 10 times more people with social, than you did with cold calling. The cold calling numbers just don’t stack up.

This makes social selling ten times for efficient than cold calling, even if it’s twice as efficient than cold calling, it’s more efficient. A “win”, after all is a “win”. Being more efficient, is being more efficient.

The Lack of Effectiveness of Legacy Sales Methods

If you think about cold calling there are 4 results you can get:-

  1. Sod off.
  2. You should have called 3 months ago.
  3. Call me in 6 months.
  4. You have called me at the right moment, let’s talk.

The chances that you will get result 4 is not very often, where as social selling will help you with options 2, 3 and 4. And as you are not interrupting people, they probably won’t tell you to “sod off”.

This just shows in ineffective cold calling is when compared to social selling 

And of course, social selling allows you to prospect 24 hours a day. There is no restriction to prime selling time or trying to get round a gatekeeper, there are no gatekeepers on social. One of our clients said to me the other day “I do all my prospecting after I”ve bathed the children and put them to bed”. Frees the day for him for customer meetings. 

It’s hard I know to walk away from these legacy methods but the world has changed.

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The Case for Data Unification for Sales and Marketing

The Case for Data Unification for Sales and Marketing

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

In our book “Smarketing: How to Achieve Competitive Advantage Through Blended Sales and Marketing” Adam Gray and I provide a Blue Print for the merger for Sales and Marketing.

While people often see that this is about people and process (which we cover in our book, available on Amazon by the way), there is also the issue of data.

Many companies work in silos, in some companies I’ve worked in it’s been like children and toys. They are their toys and there is no way we are going to let anyone else borrow them.

The world has changed, the buyer doesn’t care, they are using social, the internet and mobile to do their own research. The lines between sales and marketing are now blurred if not now merged.

The Merger of Data in the Buying Process

If you didn’t know Microsoft approached us 18 months ago to work with them on a number of their products within the Microsoft Dynamics 365 range. With their purchase of Linkedin, the work in merging (not interfacing) the data in Linkedin with the Microsoft CRM has begun a pace. We are not, by the way, CRM implementors, we are working around the Social Piece on how Linkedin, Linkedin Sales Navigator and Microsoft Social Engagement (MSE) work together to form a single dataset entity. So product stuff over, what does that mean from a business prospective.

Microsoft Social Engagement (MSE) is a social listening tool. While this often “sits” in Marketing, while it can be used by Marketing for brand listening, it is also designed to be used by sales people. Each salesperson (all within the cost of the Enterprise Microsoft Dynamics licence) can listen for terms covering their own unique territory. This means that the sales people can use the tool to do the prospecting and it does this 24 hours a day and even when you are on holiday.

We have taken this data and integrated it into a Sales Navigator workflow. Sales Navigator, being, probably, the best social selling tool available on the market. But merging the power of MSE, Linkedin and Sales Navigator you have an extraordinarily powerful dataset to drive insight and behaviour change around social selling

That’s Not All

Not only that, we also started to build out the Hierarchy & Organisation Chart, powered by Sales Navigator, which writes back into Dynamics.

Now here at Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) we are the biggest cynics when it comes to most things “Martech” or “Salestech” – but what Microsoft & LinkedIn are doing in this space is truly changing the rules of engagement. 

Organisations that grasp this, drive and support the behaviour change required will reap the rewards. Now is this just “pie in the sky” no! People are already using this data as part of their social selling implementations, we are, for example, supporting RSM UK on their journey.

Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) also have a day strategy session where we work with organisation to create a data strategy. In this we talk about the different types of data, 1st Party, 2nd Party and 3rd Party, we work with you to understand your “as is” environment then look at the attributes that what you could do in the future with data in terms of sales and marketing working in unison. The output is a report that will provide a blue print for your future data capabilities.

Thanks to Alex Low for the inspiration and support in writing this blog.

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Social selling…is it your New Year’s resolution?

Social selling…is it your New Year’s resolution?

by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

As we all come back to work after a lovely break over the Christmas holidays many of us are thinking bout our New Year’s resolutions. A new year a new start…losing weight? Quitting smoking? Getting fit? More active on social media…what?

Seriously, perhaps the best New Year’s resolution could be that of being more active on social media.

Why? We work with many groups of people within many clients and the move from “knowing I need to do more with my social presence” to “doing more with my social presence” is a big one. There is the footprint part – creating a great buyer-centric profile full of interesting things and reasons for the reader to engage with you – which is difficult, but is a capital expense of your time (mostly) write a great profile and it’s there for a while. The really difficult part is in chasing your behaviour. Posting every week, writing articles frequently, engaging with comments and shares every day, growing your network every day…these are less about techniques and are more about behavioural change.

So, what better a time is there than the new year to try and adopt a new behaviour. So here are a few things you can do this year to transform your effectiveness on social media.

  1. Write a short article to post on LinkedIn every week – it doesn’t have to be huge, just 300 or so words about something that is currently happening that you can give your spin on.
  2. Post at least once per week – perhaps a short thought for the day, or a video, or an image, but post something that might engage your audience
  3. Engage every day. Each day, go on to Linkedin and read some of what other people are posting, comment, like and share anything that you find interesting (because if you find it interesting there’s a reasonable chance that your connections will too).
  4. Connect. Always be looking to grow your network – seek-out interesting people and send them a nice personalised connection request, then once they’re connected to you keep an eye on them and try to engage them in dialogue (this is about growing your NETWORK and not about about simply increasing your number of connections).
  5. Tweet AT LEAST every day. Preferably many times per day. You can point people at interesting articles (some of which will be yours) and always try to be part of the conversations that are going on about the things you want to be known for.

Does this sound like a lot of work?

It needn’t be if you are efficient with when and how you do things, but it is a fantastic opportunity for you to excel and show your audience exactly what you’re about.

So don’t waste a resolution on something you know you won’t keep…use it for the new social media you!

Happy new year one and all.

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Write whatever you want, say whatever you want, on one condition…

10 Reasons Why Your Post about How many Miles You Flew This Years is Scary

10 Reasons Why Your Post about How many Miles You Flew This Years is Scary

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

We’ve all seen posts like this on social, about how many miles you have flown, how many countries you have visited and how many air miles you have earned and do you know what? I’m not impressed and I would have thought your customers, Board of Directors, Stakeholders and Shareholders are as scared as me. Or if they are not then, they should be.

Now I love to travel, I did an Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) role at Oracle for 5 years, I got to travel right across Europe, Moscow, though the Middle East and spent six months commuting to South Africa where we won a large contract. In my personal life I’ve travelled to many countries, in Asia, South America and Europe. If you asked me to rank my passions in life, travel is number one and music is number two. There is a big difference between travel for work and travel for pleasure. Many people think that travel for business is boring. It’s taxi, airport, hotel, taxi, customer meeting, taxi, airport. While there is a lot of that, you get to meet amazing and varied set of people.

Some things I recall from my time in business travel, Having lunch with the Board of Directors in Saudi Arabia, talking to people that worked in pre-communist countries, explaining to the taxi driver which short cuts to take in Johannesburg, eating the local dishes. One of things you learn is in fact these people are just like you and me. I’ve went onto to build a great global network and make a lot of friends. These are all great things and I look back on my travel with affection but when you are running a small business like I do, it cannot be you that does all the travel. Here are the ten reasons why your post about how many miles you have flown scares the hell out of me, and should scare your shareholders and your Board of Directors:-

  1. It does not scale – There is only one of you and there are only so many hours you can work, there has to be a point where you have to create more “yous” and the only way to do this is delegate.
  2. Key Man – Every business has a key people, often they are the founders or certain key people within the organisation. Having these people doing lots of travel, places you business at risk.
  3. You Need to Delegate – Founders, Managers and in fact any staff with direct reports have to learn to delegate. This is a key skill of you to have for your company to grow and scale.
  4. Getting People to Do Things Who Don’t Report to You – Some people think that delegation is shouting at your subordinates. It’s not. that is Direction. Sometimes direction is needed as part of a management tool kit but guiding and coaching are also in that tool kit. The biggest thing you will learn as a leader is not just delegation but getting people who report to, people who report to you, to do things. Why is this important? Often people at the “coal face” know things better than you and have better solutions than you do.
  5. You Cannot Have all the Answers – When Adam Gray and I set up Digital Leadership Associates (DLA) we have told everybody that we don’t have all the answers. And in fact ask people to challenge us. We cannot have a company of two people, or one person flying around the world.
  6. This is bad PR – While there will be people that will think your post is amazing, probably people with the same mindset as you, telling people your company cannot scale and is totally reliant on a few individuals is not great PR.
  7. Fixed Mindset – In her bestselling book “Mindset – Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential”, Dr Carol Dweck talks about the difference between “growth mindset” and a “fixed mindset”. If you are not able to grow and delegate, it might because you have a fixed mindset.
  8. It does meet the requirements of global customers – Very early on our customers came to us and said, “we have a global business, we want to roll out your programatic social selling program so we have consistency of methodology but have it implemented locally”. For example, WeChat in China, Xing in Germany and LinkedIn in the US, if you are flying around the world you will place a US centric view of the world locally. I’m sorry but in the world of social selling I have seen that fail so many times.
  9. There is no Cookie Cutter – When we onboarded our Asian team in Singapore we realised that you stand on the left of the escalator, where as in London you stand on the right. It is local differences like this that means a US, or Canadian or a London centric view of the world does not work. You have to have local people to implement social selling locally.
  10. There is no place like home – I’ve travelled all over the world and met lot’s of amazing people, but I also like to be at home. My partner is my soul mate and she and I like being together and if we travel, we travel together. That does not mean I won’t travel but have our business model of resellers is the only way a business can scale, delegate and drive global methodology with a local touch. It also means I can be at home.

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Are You a Selling Sheep?

Are You a Selling Sheep?

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

I’ve been in sales for 25 years and I’ve seen a lot of change in that time. I started hand writing letters and handing them into a typing pool. It may amaze people but there was no internet, not mobile phones, no social media, no PC and Macs and no email.

So much in Sales has Changed

So if we add the internet, email, mobile phones, social media, PC and Macs into the mix you can see there has been a lot of change in social. I remember when we got our first laptops, we had been using Digital (DEC) all-in-one before that, but I wanted to master Ami-Pro the word processing software that we would be given. It was new and I needed to learn stuff to be the most efficient and effective in sales. I also knew that if I kept up with the days technology it would make be both different and differentiated from my sales competition.

NB: We were given Ami-Pro software as our IT department didn’t think that Microsoft Word would catch on, it was in the early days of its introduction.

Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset

In her bestselling book “Mindset – Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential”, Dr Carol Dweck talks about the difference between “growth mindset” and a “fixed mindset”. I don’t want to spoil it for you, it’s a great read. So whats the difference between growth and fixed mindset.

Growth mindset people will try new things as they think that they can always grow as people. Where as fixed mindset people think that they cannot learn anymore and why would you nothing has changed.

The Sales Growth Mindset

In sales we have to be looking for new things, I’m always reading sales books as i think it’s a great way to expand the mind. I’ve read some very dull sales books, but my view is even if I get one thing about of the book, it’s worth my investment in time.

The same with the way I sell, while I often look for ways to template emails or proposal, I also think you have to update your thinking and messaging every six months as nothing stands still.

The Sales Fixed Mindset

Too often I see on social people saying that sales hasn’t changed, which is sad because in so many ways it has. I remember when email was introduced and how people clung onto the fact that an emailed document wasn’t “real” all documents has to be letters. So people started sending both. You would get an email and then 3 days later, the email would appear in the post. It was bizarre and saying that sales hasn’t changed is bizarre too.

The Sales Sheep

As sales professionals we have to experiment, try things new, fail, try other new things, succeed. It is all about us being the best we can be for our profession. After all we are the agents of change for our customers?

Let’s be honest here, all our products are the same, all our companies are the same. The thing we have that is different is ourselves, that is our unique selling point (USP). To sell and win we need differentiation and that starts with us. What we wear, how we act on and off line, how people see us in terms of our professionalism. Making sure meetings have an agenda or taking notes and writing them up. All of these things give us an edge or let us down.

The same with our social profiles, you can have a Linkedin profile that looks like 99% of all the others, or, you can choose to be different.

So stop doing is as you have always done and get out there and be different.

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