We stand for the human connection. We maximize the human connection at the heart of the sales cycle.The SAVO Group is a sales enablement focused software provider that provides salespeople with the information they need at the moment they need it. John Aiello and Drew Larsen are the founders of SAVO Group.
In this blog I’ll explore how to become a proactive sales organization. This is where sales enablement is defining its space; if you think simply storing content in a location and giving people access is a way to enable your reps with content, we’re not on the same page. Here are 4 tips that are guaranteed to boost your sales productivity and make your organization a top seller.
Think Like Every Type of Sales Person
Every organization has various types of sales people with varying competencies. For example, senior reps know what they’re good at and tend to focus on the things they do well (because no one likes to do the things they don’t do well and will avoid those situations when the stakes are high). The key is to understand the psyche of these different types of reps and design solutions that appeal to the entire sales force.
Prioritize Key Sales Enablement Situations
Trying to boil the ocean is a sure sign of impeding failure; it’s not only difficult to coordinate the process, content, and automation for every selling situation, but it’s also too overwhelming for the sales team to digest . Focus on the top 2-3 situations and really nail down the success at these spots in order to quantify the value of sales enablement.
Map and Replicate a Core, Fundamental Sales Process
You don’t have to have a commercial sales process from any of the leading sales process methodology companies or messaging companies that everyone lives as the gospel, but you will need a lowest-common-denominator understanding of the different steps and stages of your company’s sales process. Saying you ‘don’t have a sales process’ is just crazy – there are consistencies and repeatable steps in every company’s sales activities and efforts. Some of us can see patterns that others cannot so don’t be shy about committing more time on this analysis than you originally expected; it’s better to ‘measure twice and cut once’ to ensure the effectiveness of your program.
Replicate the Successes of Your Top Sellers
Everyone in sales leadership dreams about cloning their highest-performing sales rep, and while that’s the right concept it’s not the most effective (or ethical) practice. The best way to employ this strategy is to refer to the Tony Robbins approach; study the top 5 sales reps or subject matter experts and see what consistent, repeatable attributes they display and then figure out a way to deliver that to your sales reps. (Notice the reference back to #2? Don’t try to do everything, just the primary repeatable actions.)
While the overall themes– like ‘the right content at the right time’ or ‘a consistent sales process drives repeatable success’ – work for all companies, one size does not fit all and it’s up to you to figure out how to drive the right efforts to achieve the revenue results. There’s a never ending list of best practices for improving your organization’s sales performance, but by practicing these four ideas you’ll be well on your way to creating a more effective sales enablement program. Are there other strategies your company has used that have led to profound increase in the enablement of your sales reps?
If there’s one thing that marketing and sales teams can agree on it’s that you can never have too many case studies. They are incredibly valuable tools that help prove to prospects and other customers that there is inherent value not only in your offer, but also in changing from their current status quo.
Sales Teams Love Them
The SAVO team looked at data around case study use by our customers and found some interesting data points. First, case studies were used heavily early in the sales process. That’s no surprise, they can be a great way for a prospect to visualize a “new future” that other, similar companies have already achieved.
The same study saw a second spike in usage at the end of the sales process. Why? Because late in the sales process senior executives want reassurance that they are making the right choice. So smart sellers deploy their case studies as a way to push a deal over the edge. Proof of prior success helps the seller’s champion to make a stronger case internally.
Marketing Teams Love Them
Marketers love case studies too because they are great for a number of scenarios. They look great on a website and in presentations. Everyone loves to show off their “NASCAR” slide with dozens of great logos. Plus, case studies are always being deployed in other instances — like analyst conversations. They are a flexible arrow in marketing’s quiver.
Even though they are great tools, you seldom have enough of them. So, what are some steps that you can take to increase the number of case studies you have available? Let’s take a look at five tactics.
Get Success from Success
Your customer success and account management teams work with your customers on a daily basis. They hear their challenges and address them. They hear their successes and reinforce them. So, these teams are closer than anyone to your customers — and they know which customers are good candidates. That means you need to work with success to land these customers as case studies.
Sometimes your success team might go for the “same old” customers over and over again. A great way to avoid this is to use customer survey data. Generally, your success team will measure the happiness of your customers — often by using a tool like Net Promoter Scores. When they do, you can look for customers that rank high on the scoring and pull these hidden gems into your process.
Make it Easy to be a Success (Story)
When you’re soliciting your customers to be case studies, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to come on board. If you’re sending them a complicated questionnaire with 20 sub questions, there’s a very good chance they won’t be happy to complete it.
If you use a customer-friendly format, like an interview, you might get better results. Send your questions ahead of time so they know what to expect, but then get on the phone and have a conversation with the customers. You’re often more likely to get interesting quotes and data from this kind of interview — all while making it much more pleasant for your customer.
Mix Up the Formats
Who says that a case study has to be a written document? Sometimes legal approvals can get in your way if you’re using a formal written case study. Another approach might be to make a case study as a podcast or a video or even an infographic. These styles not only break up the monotony of a wall of PDFs, they also make it easier to get approval and more fun for your customers to participate in.
Videos don’t have to be a complicated and expensive video shoot. You might be able to do something much less formal — but often more authentic — by using a FaceTime or Skype interview. Your prospects will love the insights in this casual format — and your customers will love the lowered intensity.
Redefine What a Case Study is
Traditionally we think of a case study as looking at the ROI that a customer received on the investment they made in your offer. And there’s no doubt that that kind of case study is very compelling. But if your threshold for getting a case study published is that your customer has to have data on their success, well, you’re not likely going to have too many to publish!
Instead, look at case studies as coming in a variety of levels of quantifiability. Some will be on the pole of rich ROI studies. Others will be early stage or pre-data — and are more about “why we chose you”. That is a perfectly valid type of study — and one that prospects are also hungry for.
Similarly, you could go even simpler. Who says that a success story has to be a formal document or even a video. Sometimes a success story is exactly that: a story. When you can pull together a synopsis of the reason for action and the benefits that a customer received. Plus, when you can add in a customer quote — you have a valuable story that your sellers can insert into conversations. And that is incredibly powerful for motivating behavior.
Get a Third Party Involved
Sometimes a customer may not want to come across as being too aligned with your company. So, they might want to be anonymous. Or, they might want to only have their brand associated with a legitimizing party. That’s where third-parties can be useful.
You might contract with an analyst or third-party consultant to interview and assess the value that your customer received from your offer. The fact that it is researched and written by another company gives customers more comfort and can actually make the success story a more impartial (and hence more effective) piece of collateral.
Don’t underestimate the power of your case study library! Follow these steps to deepen your library today.
There are 3 essential elements that will boost your communication skills; preparation, best practice tips during an engagement and the follow through. Given the consistent innovations in technology, there seem to be many ways to shortcut communication and it’s negatively impacting our ability to successfully engage with each other. We need to get back to the basics of communication to ensure both parties are heard, understood and get value.
If you have a planned engagement with someone you will always get a better result if you prepare. Plan for the 5 W’s. Plan for who you are talking to. Will there be multiple people in the conversation? What are their motivations for being on the call? Think about what the purpose of the conversation is and what both parties need to get out of it. Consider where and when this conversation will take place. Different strategies and tactics are needed depending on the location and time of day of the conversation. For example, face-to-face conversations benefit from all the non-verbal ques whereas over the phone requires more check-ins to assess understanding and alignment. Finally establish why the person will benefit from the conversation.
During the Engagement:
There are several tactics to execute during the conversation to ensure a successful engagement. Active listening, expressing empathy, asking questions and checking-in. Active listening requires you to put your phone down! Resist the temptation to make assumptions. Care more about what the other person says than what you will say next. Being empathetic allows the other person to feel understood, relaxed and more open to engagement. It’s important to ask open ended questions to demonstrate your interest in the other person and what they have to say. If you feel like you are doing most of the talking, ask questions, get the other person to be an active participant. Throughout the conversation consider checking-in. Summarize and validate what you think you heard from the other person, so that you both walk away on the same page.
People are inundated with content these days and have short attention spans. Follow up with the person you were talking to with the highlights and action items. If this is a business conversation help your prospect or customer recall and be organized. Don’t leave important points up for interpretation, ensure understanding on both sides.
Following these 3 basic tactics will help you boost your communication skills, build your confidence, and improve your credibility.
You received some concrete data from your last marketing campaign, but are these numbers accurate indicators of success or are they just wiggity-wiggity-wack? Some metrics could give a false sense of positive marketing results if they’re misinterpreted, which is why it’s important to know what to test and how to test it. In this blog, I’ll discuss some ambiguous marketing metrics that you should keep an eye on, along with 5 mic-drop worthy tips for email marketing success.
Be Impulsive in Good Way
People get tired of seeing the same things reiterated over and over again. Which is why it’s important to learn from your successes, analyze what’s working (or what’s not), and apply these findings to your future projects, so you’re always rotating creative ideas and fresh content to your audience. Use a new email template to stir things up or make a splash with a different writing style. Be impulsive and unpredictable in a good way. It’s more exhilarating for your subscribers.
Keep Your Content Fresh and Your Subject Lines Fresher
It’s evident that subject lines affect your open rates but are you measuring how they impact essential metrics like click-through rates, click to open ratios, and unsubscribe rates? Think of your subject line as the phone screening before the in-person interview. Be concise. Be bold. Be unique. A good subject line might pique someone’s curiosity. A great one captures their attention.
Look at All Angles to Measure Email Performance
Your click-through rate lets you know how your email performed but not how your content and design performed within it. To measure content and email performance, you should look at the click-to-open ratio. This number tells you how the email performed after it was opened. Remember – a subject line that increases your open rates but fails to improve your click-to-open ratio isn’t necessarily a winner.
Don’t Confuse Your Metrics
Just because a package gets delivered, doesn’t mean it was delivered properly. It could have been damaged en route or delivered to the wrong address by accident. Emails can suffer the same fate. Your deliverability rate is a vital part of any and every email you send because it has a direct impact on the success of your future campaigns. Monitor this number on a day-to-day basis by analyzing the amount of soft and hard bounces each email generates, the % of emails that get received by your prospects, and the cleanliness of your database.
End on a High Note
Don’t misinterpret your marketing metrics, keep your messaging fresh and your subject lines fresher, and look at every angle to measure campaign success. If you continuously test and update your strategy, your marketing campaigns will be ending on a high note in no time. For more email marketing tips, I recommend checking out this blog on effective lead nurturing.
Do you have any email marketing recommendations that are mic-drop worthy? If so, comment below so we can all learn from your success.
Smart Selling Tools creates a guide each year to help organizations find and filter through all the sales technologies out in the world today, and heck there are a lot! SAVO has been named one of the Top Sales Tools by our friend Nancy Nardin at Smart Selling Tools, a recognized thought leader on sales technologies. Make sure to check out Nancy’s guide to the SalesTech landscape here. Without further ado, below are the three reasons SAVO has been named a top sales tool of 2018.
1. SAVO is the Pioneer
SAVO is the leading sales enablement vendor in the market. We pioneered the sales enablement space in 1999 and have continued to lead with innovative solutions that help your sellers drive revenue. Being around for almost 20 years has its advantages. We have learned first-hand what organizations need and what sellers want in order to drive revenue.
2. SAVO is Proven
SAVO is the only globally proven solution with over 200+ customers and 1 million+ users. Our predictive and prescriptive technology is built for security and scale, deployed in 23 languages worldwide. Sellers are able to access recommended content via a standalone, browser-based interface for efficient discovery and sharing. See how our customers are using SAVO to increase revenue.
We support all forms of sales enablement content from collateral to playbooks. And we deliver the only solution with both fast time to value and deep, immersive capabilities. SAVO equips your seller to dynamically generate content that targets individual prospects’ needs. Your sellers will be able to access Salesforce Opportunity information and relevant content directly in the resource center creating a single access point to Salesforce content. Our analytics platform will give you deeper insight, stronger visual displays, more granular data and better flexibility, giving you the insight you need to focus business initiatives. Companies prefer SAVO because it allows them to start big or start small. And you can scale up from there, supporting direct and indirect sellers, with mission-specific content, worldwide.
(Screenshot of SAVO integration into Salesforce)
Have any other questions about SAVO? Ask us here! We would be more than happy to give you some more information on why SAVO is one of the Top Sales Tools of 2018.
It doesn’t matter how senior you get as a sales person. It doesn’t matter how many inbound leads your marketing team generates. It doesn’t matter how many sales development reps you have in place to support your team. No matter what, you’re still going to need to do some of your own prospecting.
Now, as much as you’d love to enjoy all aspects of your work, prospecting isn’t easy for most people. There’s lots of rejection involved from a lot of prospects that don’t enjoy being interrupted — no matter how great your value proposition is.
At the same time, your pipeline is going to depend on your ability to add new opportunities. So, try these four tips to make the process more appealing.
Look to Your Past Success
Stop for a second and consider where many of your best deals came from. I’ll bet there were many that started with an outreach you did — in person, maybe at an event, or through phone or email. Looking back at these past successes is useful for a few reasons. First off, it’s very motivating. You did that. It was your lead that you opened and closed. And you can do it again.
Second, it’s useful to understand how your prospecting succeeded. When you can honestly look at your prior efforts you can spot where there were tactics that worked well and others that wasted your time. Be honest and double down on what worked. At the same, mix in new experiments and try new approaches so you don’t end up in a rut.
Mix Things Up
You should try doing something new. Not only is it useful to boost your success rates, but it’s also great to keep you motivated. I’ve seen top reps realize that if they want to stand out from the crowd, they can’t rely just on email, phone calls, and LinkedIn invites. They need to do something different.
That’s where I’ve seen reps succeed by sending personalized notes that speak to a prospect’s unique needs. I’ve admired reps that partner with marketing to get unique gifts and mementos that they share and then follow-up. I know sellers that have experimented with video as a way to introduce themselves. Sure, these tactics can often have higher hit-rate. But I also like them because they keep you interested and engaged. They’re something knew and encourage you to think differently about your approach to your prospects.
Try engaging with your sales enablement team to support these non-traditional approaches. Odds are they’ll be excited too.
Focus, and Focus
It’s very dispiriting to stare at a list of prospects that you know will never convert. Most experienced sellers can give a prospect list a hard stare and know whether they have “good ones” or not. Yet having to dig through to find a diamond among the rocks can take you out of your rhythm and just frustrate you.
A better way to get a great results and stay motivated is to start with a great list. Today’s predictive analytics and lead scoring platforms have made poor quality leads a thing of the past. They do so by assessing the behavior and particulars of your leads and comparing them to previous results to predict their future conversion chances. That lets you as a prospector not depend on guesses or hunches. Instead, you can use data science to pick your best matches.
Don’t have a predictive tool in place? Get a hold of your sales enablement team and make the case in terms of time saved and higher conversion rates.
One of the keys to successful prospecting is to have your message match the needs and priorities of the recipient. That can be exhausting and time consuming if you are having to assess each prospect’s industry, company size, opportunity stage, product interest, and more before you choose which messaging to share.
A great way to deal with that is to use predictive content. Tools that look at past successes of your colleagues and match content with the needs of your prospects are critical. They’ll suggest to you which content and messages to share. There’s no hunting for materials. The right assets appear in your CRM or sales portal based on who you’re prospecting to. So, you can quickly send the right materials that will resonate — and then move on to the next prospect. Efficient!
By eliminating some of the drudgery and focusing on the positive, you can make prospecting fun and hyper effective for pipeline building.
Marketing teams are adapting to the way consumers have shifted their buying behavior. Before customers come to your business, prospects are doing their own research online, reading reviews, discovering your social media platforms, looking at your company values and following the brand all over the internet to get as much information as they can about you before requesting a demo or contacting sales.
Marketers today are rethinking their customer experience and re-mapping their customer journey, especially as it relates to its largest-growing demographic of new consumers and employees, the millennials. Here are some digital marketing trends that are generating buzz this year.
1. Customer Journey
Prospects and customers go through various stages during their journey ranging from awareness, evaluation, and consideration. If buyers have an unpleasant interaction at any point, they’re less likely to become a customer.
Prospects and customers trust in brands based on their perception of authenticity. Brands that have the ability the connect to consumers on an authentic level will have the greatest chance of converting into customers.
Marketers are shifting their marketing strategy by understanding the customer journey and working on their authenticity.
4. Diving Deeper into Data
Today, 64%of marketers said they are not fully clear on the sources and traffic of their marketing data (Source). Ask yourself, how clean and accurate are your Google Analytics?
5. Create Compelling Content
There is an overwhelming amount of content online today and digital marketers need to get in front of their customers. B2B marketers have taken interactive content by storm creating extensive resource libraries, ROI calculators, quizzes and forms that help buyers along their journey.
6. Mobile-first Mentality
Google’s mobile-first search indexing (source) this past year is a prime example towards a mobile-first mentality. As digital marketers, we realize how important our phones are to making an impact in the market.
7. Voice Search is on the Rise
More than 50% of users use a voice-powered device like Amazon Echo to purchase products (Source). This is a concern for those who are focused on primarily SEO and traditional e-commerce marketing.
8. Social Media Influencers
Because authentic social media is the modern-day testimonial. By providing positive reviews, some brands are using social media influencers as an effective advertising avenue by provide positive reviews.
9. Positive Reviews
Authentic online reviews are the modern-day testimonial. Majority of buyers read reviews online before engaging with a salesperson. Organizations this year are providing major incentives for customers who leave positive reviews.
From marketing automation to lead scoring to chat bots, automation is evolving and tackling more tasks that previously required real-time human engagement.
11. Chat Bots
As an extension of automation, chat bots do well to poke and increase user engagement. Millennials prefer chat bots for speed and convenience over traditional communication via phone or e-mail.
12. Live Chat
Thanks to chat bots and other automation efforts, companies can afford to provide 24/7 live chat for both sales and support. Some organizations are removing contact us forms and replacing them with live chat.
Marketers know that relevancy is king for catching a distracted eye and online glance in a noisy world of data clutter, but what is the best way to stay relevant? By utilizing personalization marketers can best connect to their prospects and customers.
This is the year that digital marketers are focused on content that converts. Whether that means doing a content audit or tweaking your CTA headlines and utilizing personalization to optimize your conversion rates, optimization will be huge in 2018.
16. Increase Use of Video Marketing
Millennials prefer to consume content in video format rather than reading via article. At your next event, try to stream your event live on social media and record some customer testimonials or highlights.
17. Artificial Intelligence
Machine learning involves learning human characteristics such as understanding language, recognizing objects and sounds, planning and problem solving. AI is about training software to understand data rather then executing hard code.
As you can see, there are many digital marketing trends that are on the rise in 2018. Make sure to engage your customers and prospect by using these trends on a daily basis!
Think about the day you began your marketing career. Whenever or wherever that journey began, all marketers have one thing in common: their journey doesn’t end. Change and disruption are a natural part of the B2B space, and marketers experience many painful repercussions as a result.
Over 80% of marketers today learn on the job with no training.
83% of marketers cannot tie business value to content.
1/3 of marketers say they don’t know which marketing challenge positively impacts revenue the most.
With these issues in mind, I began to wonder what it takes to be a B2B marketing leader?
Create a Culture of Organization
Diversity and originality are essential pieces of the marketing puzzle, so is trial and error. 82% of marketers have a budget set aside for funding innovation, so marketing leaders need to be able to analyze things from different angles to be successful. One roadblock marketers face is the never-ending review process, which can slow innovation down. Involve your audience in the review process, and get the data you need to advance a project early on to determine what is working and what’s not.
Let Your Freak Flag Fly
Leadership and confidence go hand in hand, but some research shows marketers aren’t always sure about the effectiveness of their activities. To fight this lack of confidence, marketing leaders need to use technology and data to document their content strategies, marketing processes, and current customer profiles.
Knowing what activities drive leads and move prospects through the sales funnel gives marketers the confidence they need to plan for the next round of projects, and justify the budget to pay for them.
Marketing teams need to work with different departments to be successful, and no relationship is more important than the bond between marketing and sales. Working closely with sales gives marketers concrete data to tie revenue to. Evolving the marketing role through a better relationship with the sales team can lead to many benefits in a marketing leader’s career, and the best way to do this is to prioritize the process of sales enablement.
Sales enablement means empowering sales reps to find and access the right marketing content, successfully onboarding reps to learn about products and services quickly and efficiently, and lending support to sales reps to gain the deep level of knowledge needed to make a sale efficiently. Marketers can get more content used to make deals happen by enabling sales reps to find and use the best material.
For a full breakdown of what it takes to be in B2B marketing leadership today, we created a new infographic that illustrates different stages of the journey. Download it today if you are ready to begin your adventure!
Spring is in the air — flowers are already in bloom in parts of the country. But even though it may feel like summer is a long way off, it isn’t. Students are already gearing up for their summer employment and internships. So, it’s vital that you snap up the available talent while you can.
Interns can be a vital part of your marketing organization. Too often marketing teams don’t realize the incredible boost that interns can bring them. So, let’s take a look at six great reasons to recruit a new class of interns for your marketing organization.
Attack That Analytics Work
Business schools have realized that marketing is no longer simply an art. They’ve recognized the data-driven tidal wave that has swept over the marketing profession. That’s led to more statistics and analytics courses being infused into marketing curricula. We’re seeing more and more business students exiting their degree with a profound understanding of data analysis — an understanding that more tenured marketers often had to learn while working.
That level of skill with data analysis and the tools needed to support it can be a boon for your team. Think about the number of data projects that have been shelved due to a lack of time and resources. There’s likely a lot. You might want to reevaluate whether your events strategy has been paying off. Or what conversion rates truly look like at the next level down. Maybe find out how well MQLs are converting and why rejected leads happen.
A marketing intern can be quickly pointed to the data and asked to come up with recommendations based on the data they find.
Research Based Content Marketing
Another great data analysis opportunity comes to you in the area of content marketing. Some of the most valuable pieces of content are those that contain data and analysis of that data. The data could be internal — generated by users of your products. Or it could be disparate industry sources that have been poorly assessed to date.
When you combine the marketing student’s data awareness with the sheer volume of papers they write as part of their course work, well, you’ve got a great combination. They can evaluate the data and draft a research piece that evaluates it. Sure, they may not have the subject matter expertise that the rest of your team has. But because they’ve done so much of the analysis, they can tag-team with a more senior colleague to produce a killer piece.
Then, if you have a design intern, that designer can package the research and writing up into a neat piece of content. One that you might have paid tens of thousands for if outsourced.
Business Plan Work
Continuing on the thread of research and analysis is the idea of focusing your intern on a business plan. A lot of marketing course work is built around financial analysis and case studies. Say you’ve been considering expanding into a new market or maybe adding a new product. You can focus the intern on analyzing the space, gathering data and primary research about what the opportunity is.
Again, they may lack expertise in your industry. But that’s OK. By doing the leg work on the research, they are setting you up to decide on where to focus analysis and make better choices about tackling your next market.
Most marketing students today are going to be in the millennial age bracket. And if your business targets millennials, their expertise can be invaluable. Even if millennials aren’t your primary buyer in your target accounts, they may be an important influencer.
Consider the SDR sales tools space. Although many of the buyers may not be millennials, many of the SDRs themselves may influence the ultimate decision. As a result, your millennial intern may have interesting insights that can yield better programs and targeting.
Build Your Hiring Pipeline
Hiring great talent isn’t easy. You don’t know the true caliber of a person’s work. You don’t know if they’ll be a corporate culture fit. And it can take a long time for the new hire to get up to speed on your products and market.
But you can completely short circuit these issues by building your marketing intern pipeline. When you bring interns in, you have months’ worth of evaluation of their work. You can evaluate how well they match the rest of your team’s strengths. And you can ramp them up on your industry over time.
In fact, we’ve seen a successful model where interns were hired and worked over the summer. Then, a select few were retained as part-time interns through the school year. And then they often got offers when they graduated. That’s an efficient path to keep great hires coming onto your team.
Give Back to the Community
It’s not all about how it helps you. It’s also about how you can help the community. By supporting local and regional schools, you’re building a strong community of marketing experts. And that process reinforces itself. Schools that have great internship opportunities in turn attract better students. That means you’re reinforcing a process that will help your team for years to come.
Social selling continues to be all the rage — and it wouldn’t stay popular if it weren’t effective. But that doesn’t mean that every approach to social selling is the right one. I’m sure you’ve received your fair share of LinkedIn requests and Twitter follows from people you didn’t know. People that may not be offering value or trying to understand your needs, but just go for the hard sale. That’s not real social selling.
Great networking is the gold standard for social selling. It’s all about building a network of people that value you and you value. A network with true two-way contributions where you give as much as you get. A great network can help you sell more and maybe even get your next position. But how can you supercharge your network? Here are a few tips on how to get there:
Be an Expert
Everyone wants to be around the expert. The person that knows the inside scoop and has (at least some of) the answers. And the funny thing about experts is that we all are experts to some degree. It’s just that some people that have expertise aren’t willing or able to share it publicly. Don’t be that person.
Get out there and share what you know. Speak at events. Write blog posts. Do short form video. There are so many options for people to spread their knowledge — even for those that don’t like the stage. When you’re out there with your expertise, the number of people — including influential people — that want to connect, or are open to connecting, multiplies. That’s a major win for your network.
Be In Person
Sure, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networks provide a convenient way to connect with other professionals. And it makes it easier to stay on top of relationships and keep them informed of your updates. But there relationships that begin in person are the strongest. How do you cultivate those?
Of course relationships generated through work and your home life are critical. Yet, there’s another way to build relationships and that’s through your extended professional life. You might attend local meet-ups for your profession or market. You could attend conferences — both national and local — to hear speakers and connect with like-minded individuals.
Also consider other ways to give back to your community and extend your network. For instance, look at volunteering for a local agency or even for the local meet-up. You can enrich yourself, your community, and your network all in one action.
Give To Others
Gary V. wrote a book called the Thank You Economy. In it he identified a key attribute of successful entrepreneurs and business people. That is, the willingness to be caring and to give to others. That means not giving only because you are about to ask for something. It means starting the positive trend first by selflessly giving value.
The value that you give could be your time or expertise for example. When you know someone is out of work, don’t expect them to call on you for help. Give it. When you see that a business may be struggling, offer help. Get in there and give to others without the expectation of anything in return.
Deep relationships are a valuable commodity. Don’t lock them up — share your network with your network. I love to get emails from friends and connections that want to play ‘professional matchmaker’. They know that myself and another would hit it off, or have a productive engagement, or whatever. So, drop a note and make a connection when you think two people that aren’t connected just ought to be.
Go back to your social networks and look for potential matches. Or, notice when others have significant changes in their network. Maybe a colleague mentions that they are looking to revamp their website. Don’t wait for them to ask for recommended partners. Ask if they need a suggestion. Be proactive on making connections.
Use That Investment
When it’s time for you seek help from your network, don’t be afraid to ask. Too many people don’t want to impose on their friends and colleagues. But it’s not an imposition at all. If you’ve been adding value to your network over time — by connecting people, contributing content, and volunteering to help — then all you’re doing is making a withdrawal on an investment you’ve made.
Your network is critical for accelerating your career. Odds are it’s where your next role will come from. It’s where you’ll get insight to make a great business decision. So invest in by giving to your network. And when it’s your turn to get support, ask for it!