Driving Diversity in Technology

I am writing to ask you to consider becoming part of the Driving Diversity in Technology working group at CompTIA.

It is a well-known fact that organizations that embrace a diverse workforce make better business decisions and are more successful than those that don’t. This working group has recently formed to prepare and support minority individuals in closing the diversity gap in tech organizations by providing the tools and resources needed for a successful career in technology. We are working hard to make a difference, and the first step is to become a full-fledged CompTIA community.

There are three important ways you can help: 1) consider becoming a community champion, 2) join our LinkedIn Group to stay abreast of our developments, and 3) refer and invite a colleague to join our efforts.

Becoming a Community Champion. Community champions help with the formation stage of the community by establishing our purpose and building a first-year plan.  Champions are expected to contribute 2-3 hours of their time monthly during the community formation phase, and participate in and promote the community when it launches.  If you are interested in becoming a community champion, please send a bio and headshot to Justin Valentine at Justin.valentine@comptia.org.

Joining our LinkedIn Group. Even if you are not ready to commit to becoming a community champion, you can still support and follow our efforts by joining our Driving Diversity in Technology LinkedIn group, here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/11900601

Refer and Invite a Colleague. Feel free to pass this post on to a like-minded individual you know who would like to support our efforts to drive diversity in IT.

For more background on this working group, you can listen to our latest webinar recording here: http://bit.ly/2caPeB1

On behalf of the industry, thanks for your consideration in joining this worthwhile cause.

About CompTIA. The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a non-profit trade association serving as the voice of the information technology industry. With approximately 2,000 member companies, 3,000 academic and training partners and more than two million IT certifications issued, CompTIA is dedicated to advancing industry growth through educational programs, market research, networking events, professional certifications and public policy advocacy. To learn more, visit CompTIA online, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Posted in Uncategorized

Aiming everywhere is not a strategy. Define your target for winning business results.

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shutterstock_422653162

I work with the heads of sales at technology companies: carriers, vendors, MSPs and VARs. As part of my discovery I often ask, “Who is your target customer?” Before I even ask my question, I know their response, “SMBs [or enterprise].”

The conversation follows:

Me: So hair salons?

Them: No, not hair salons.

Me: So dry cleaners?

Them: No, not dry cleaners.

Me: So who then?

Them: Well SMBs with 50 or more employees.

Me: So, manufacturing environments with 40 people in the plant and 10 people in staff?

Them: Well no, 50 or more employees that are on staff.

So why does this matter so much? 

You base your headcount and forecasts against your targets, but if your targets are inaccurate you inflate your headcount and your forecasts. The downstream impact includes missed forecasts and eventually layoffs.

You set up your new hires to fail. Teaching them to go after the wrong target – delaying revenue and creating new hire and management frustration.

Your marketing team creates costly digital marketing campaigns aimed at the wrong buyers.

Clearly understanding who your buyers are and communicating that throughout your organization is the first step to sales success. Proper targets are the foundation on which headcount, quotas, training and marketing programs succeed. And if you have poor definitions - a poor foundation - on which you execute, sales will fail - your business will fail.

So I implore you, sit down and clearly – accurately – honestly define your targets.Everyone is not your customer. Focus on the companies – the people – who will actually buy from you and you will be one step closer to generating greater revenue.

Posted in Channel Strategy, Sales Enablement

A Tale of Two Channel Organizations

Once upon a time there were two channel organizations, both in the same big city serving the same niche market, with plenty of business to go between them. Signing customers and making money hand over fist, the two owners, Hortense and Horatio were blissfully coasting.

Seeing their profits, new entrants started to pour into the city. What once seemed like enough business to share became a battle ground, pinning Hortense and Horatio against each other, along with their other competition.

Out of Hortense and Horatio’s sight, there was a battle occurring between suppliers, a battle more fierce than they were experiencing on the home front; this one for the kingdom. In their greed for market share the two suppliers competed furiously, giving services away to gain customer volume.

With great consequence the supplier battle affected the channel organizations. Adding insult to injury, not only was competition fierce, but declining margins made profiting that much more difficult.

Quiz: In what direction can someone or something coast?

Having realized the impact of their environment, both Hortense and Horatio went on a quest to mitigate the doom lurking over the horizon.

Hortense turned right. Horatio turned left.

Horatio, a determine business leader and contributor, talked to the experts; he even hired one. However, Horatio was busy, so busy in fact he never got to follow the advice of the expert he hired. Never finding time to step out of the day-to-day, Horatio stressed himself and his staff to do more: recruit more, call on more prospects, work longer hours, ad nauseam.

Now, Hortense on the other hand, she turned right. Hortense, as it would happen came across the same expert and received the same advice. The difference is that Hortense stepped outside of the business to work on it, rather than in it. Yes, she too was a contributor and was needed to open doors and close business, to put out the hard fires. But Hortense knew that if she wanted to grow she would have to work on building and executing against a strategic plan built for growth. And when she stepped out, she discovered that some of her employees were capable of stepping up, too.

As a result of their separate paths, Horatio did prosper for a bit longer. That being said, the workload wasn’t sustainable. After burning through some employees and a trip to the hospital due to a panic attack Horatio sputtered along. He continued to maintain his business until retirement and even received residuals from those suppliers that hadn’t built annual commitment clauses into their partner agreements.

Hortense’s business, however, flourished. Yes, she made an occasional wrong turn, but she took calculated risks and grew her business substantially. That being said, she was able to sell her business to a former competitor and retired to a scenic village in Italy – that is when she wasn’t at her vacation home in Santorini.

Moral: Growth occurs when you work on the business and not in it. If this is something you don’t ordinarily give yourself permission (or time) to do, take an hour and jot down your goals and set some time each week to determine how to accomplish them by breaking them into smaller more reasonable tasks. In the meantime, start empowering your staff to make some decisions. While allowing some calculated risks, you won’t know what they are capable of achieving until you let them succeed without you.

Through her consultancy, Sales Enabled, Rebecca Rosen helps technology companies improve the revenue performance of their sales teams. From social selling, to sales messaging, sales development and sales tools, Sales Enabled focuses on helping sales people have winning conversations with customers. Rosen also is a member of the 2014-15 Channel Partners Advisory Board, Women in the Channel board member, CompTIA faculty, National Speakers’ Association and author of the book Social Selling and LinkedIn for Business Development and Sales Enablement Blog on Channel Partners Online.

Twitter: @rebeccamrosen
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/salesenabled

Posted in Channel Strategy

LinkedIn Is a Serious Resource for Your Winning Team

With an 11-year online presence and 313 million members, LinkedIn is the B2B network that you cannot afford to leave out of your sales channels. LinkedIn is the network with none of the cacophonous schmooze of Facebook; it’s the one serious online resource for everything from maintaining the world’s most robust and up-to-date Rolodex to social selling and messaging.

The Value of LinkedIn

Between the Rolodex and easy messaging, LinkedIn is a goldmine for sales people and social selling. It is the filter and siphon of big data. Specifically, with a LinkedIn presence, you can:

  • mine the network for unfettered customer discovery
  • develop partnerships and alliances to add value to your sales networking
  • access business intelligence on both clients and competitors
  • improve internal networking and collaboration as team members stay in closer contact

Building a Profile

Every member of your sales team should have a LinkedIn account as part of their playbook for business networking. Those individual profiles can be linked to your company website and add depth to your “About Us” page. You should encourage your team to take the time to build their profile on LinkedIn and take their online presence as seriously as their résumé. Their LinkedIn profile should include:

  • SEO-friendly content. Remember that the one billion or so searches each year include keywords. Appropriate keywords make the profile searchable.
  • A catchy and group-consistent headline and summary. Attracting potential customers promotes deeper reading and encourages link requests.
  • A professional and pleasant profile photo that reflects a clear and real image — no party shots, group shots or “cutesy” avatars. Get serious–this is a professional networking site.
  • Lists of customer-focused accomplishments and achievements. LinkedIn allows users to attach certifications, documents and proof of their honors and awards. Tell employees to strut their stuff.

Extra Touches

LinkedIn is all about connectivity; the site can be the flagship that helps visitors navigate to your sales staff and, ultimately, to your products and services. Encourage everyone to get a vanity profile URL and add it to their e-mail signature. Likewise, LinkedIn professionals often accept connection requests, even from people they don’t know. Also encourage your team to proactively use LinkedIn to get referrals to prospects and test their sales messaging.

Go Sell!

Relatively speaking, LinkedIn is an oldie-but-goodie player in the social media world. When it comes to generating sales and revenue, LinkedIn is to Facebook as “Encyclopedia Britannica” is to Wikipedia. In fact, according to marketing experts, LinkedIn outperforms Facebook in the business world by a factor of 20 to 1.

So, start using LinkedIn sales and marketing resources if you haven’t already. If your sales staff aren’t already taking advantage of LinkedIn, they are missing out on golden networking opportunities. Tell them to jump in–they have nothing to lose but anonymity.

LinkedIn

Posted in LinkedIn, Social Selling

The Old-School Sales Trick You Should Learn To Love

It’s easy to turn your back on old-school sales tactics. After all, the Internet and resources like LinkedIn, cell phones and social selling have transformed the way we interact with and sell to others. But there’s one trick that’s well worth revisiting, and it’s as easy as saying two simple words. Read on to learn why you should embrace the art of the simple thank you.

Simple Gratitude

At first glance, it seems ridiculous to suggest that the words “thank you” are the key to anything, much less a respected tool in any sales professional’s arsenal. But go deeper and you’ll soon realize these words are quite powerful. Being thanked can catch your prospect off guard and make them feel important. That warm fuzzy is likely to carry over to other interactions and color future conversations. And saying thanks isn’t just good for the person being thanked. In fact, psychologists believe that expressions of gratitude can be good for your health, too.

Stand Out From The Crowd

Unfortunately, modern-day life often precludes simple expressions of thanks. Sure people are busy, but does that mean they shouldn’t take time to acknowledge others? Luckily, their lack of manners is your opportunity. When you say a heartfelt thank you, you’re setting yourself apart from the crowd. You’re also making yourself vulnerable by putting your wholehearted focus and attention on your prospect. That differentiation can make you more memorable and more likely to be approached again and again.

Time Out

So why’s saying thank-you so effective? The secret lies in time. When you take a few minutes to write a heart-felt (or better yet, handwritten) note or look another person in the eyes, you’re telling your prospect that they matter more than your next phone call, email, appointment or interaction. You’re telling them that they matter—and that can really matter. But beware: the hurried thank you has no place in a smart social seller’s arsenal. Whenever possible, opt for personalized or in-person expressions of gratitude. They’ll come off as more authentic and be more memorable to your prospect. And who knows? You might just find yourself being grateful for your latest sale.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Working the (LinkedIn) Room

Years ago I worked for a large non-profit organization and was invited to attend a major donor event. Before the event, the Vice President of Major Giving took our team aside and gave us a lesson about working the room. She had a list of all the attendees and told us specifically who to look for, what to say and why. Each of us worked the room – on a mission to thank the donors for their generosity and appeal to their sense of giving to illicit more money for the great work the organization was doing. It’s no surprise, that the event was amazingly successful.

Flash forward to the dare I say hundreds of networking events I have attended, either as a guest or a host, and am often surprised how little hosts and attendees alike venture out from their own acquaintances. The reality is that so few people actually network at a networking event. Just think of all the lost opportunities!

I find that the same thing is true online, too. How often do you connect with someone online after an in-person meeting and fail to follow-up? Seriously #fail. If each one of you don’t raise your hands, you aren’t telling the truth. I don’t always follow-up and I am the one on my soap box.

Here are four tips to improve your networking returns using LinkedIn.

1. Once you have connected on LinkedIn, use the NOTE field in the RELATIONSHIP tab to write a brief introductory paragraph about your new connection.

2. Search your connections on LinkedIn and see if there is anyone you can introduce to your new networking partner, be it potential customer or another networking partner. After all, if you want to get referrals from your networking partners, start by giving them.

3. If they are available to you, search your new connection’s connections by clicking on the number of connections they have near their profile picture, and then refine the list by location, title, industry or other keyword.

4. Armed with a list of potential connections, ask your connection for specific introductions to their network, including a brief paragraph about the value that you offer to businesses.

Networking on LinkedIn is not that difficult. You do have to put some time into it, but that time can prove to be oh so valuable.

So start with these 4 tips and happy networking!

Posted in Uncategorized

Screw The Audience | 4 Speaking Tips to Live By

So, you are speaking at a conference? It’s great marketing and it’s not so bad for the ego, either. Since you are getting ready to take the main stage (or perhaps main stage adjacent) I thought I would give you four tips I have learned from every tech conference I have ever attended.

  1. Since you are the subject matter expert, don’t bother preparing. After all, the participants are taking time out of their day to hear YOU speak. Just forget that they could be making money or helping their company be more productive instead of listening to you.
  2. If you are using slides, fill them with facts. This is your time to share everything you know with the audience. And since your really big graph is so important hide your main point in 6 point font so your audience has to squint to find it. ***Folks, if you say “It’s kind of hard to see… but if you look here…” I am talking to you.
  3. Read from your slides. Forget that your audience can read faster to themselves than you can out loud. You didn’t really want them to listen to you, did you?
  4. Don’t share your expertise. Overtly sell your company’s products. Forget that your audience came to learn something.

Okay, I can actually hear you… “I would never do that.”

Oh, but you do. See, you get too busy to prepare. You get too busy to practice. So the night or weekend before the event you put your deck together. But you forget that people pay to attend the conference where you were selected to speak. While you were thinking about how busy you are, you forget that someone will travel half way around the world just to be in the room with you. You forget that your audience’s time is also really important.

Case in point, I just led a two-day session at CompTIA’s ChannelCon in Phoenix, Arizona. During the session I learned that one of the participants came from New Zealand just for the session that I was leading. While the room was filled with other participants, it struck me that this one person travelled half way around the world just to learn from me. What if I had been unprepared? What if I didn’t know the content? (Sorry, other people in the room… I wanted to impress you too.)

Speaking is an honor. It takes me upwards of 8 hours to write a first draft for an hour (1) long session. And then it takes me another eight to edit out all the unnecessary stuff. The stuff I think is so important, but really doesn’t help propel the story… And then if I am using slides, it takes me another 20 to 40 hours to create a really compelling deck that amplifies the speech. And finally, it takes a lot of practice… in front of mirrors and friends. It takes constructive criticism and it takes a willingness to edit and redo and more practice. A great speech takes time to perfect and the best speakers prepare.

So I implore you… If you are lined up to speak at a conference, put pen to paper now, edit your material, learn it and show some passion. I know speaking can be scary… It can be a distraction… but if you signed up for it, which you did when you asked to speak or said yes when you were asked… do the work. Your audience will win, and so will you.

And as a reward for reading to the end, I have linked two of my favorite presentations on presentations.

1. Life After Death By PowerPoint by Don McMillan.

2. Death By PowerPoint by Alexei Kapterev.

P.S. Please share your tips for screwing the audience.

P.P.S. Please share your favorite presentations about presentations.

Through her consultancy, Sales Enabled, Rebecca Rosen helps technology companies improve sales channel performance. Her expertise lies in social selling, sales messaging and onboarding programs. Previously Rebecca oversaw marketing communications and sales training for TelePacific, where she was part of the leadership team that drove the Company’s growth from $20 million to over $550 million. She is an active member of Women in the Channel and the Channel Partners Advisory Board. Rebecca is also a member of the CompTIA faculty.

Posted in Uncategorized

LinkedIn Signature Templates for Your Email

If you are struggling to build a professional looking email signature, LinkedIn provides a tool that can help! Who knew?

Go to https://www.linkedin.com/signature?display= to get started.

Below are three samples of the many graphic options you can choose:

Happy Networking!

Posted in Social Selling

Friend or Frenemy? Sometimes it makes sense to remove a LinkedIn connection.

Often times we make a habit of connecting with co-workers and strategic alliances. It’s good business to do so, because they may have some insight into an account or relationships that we can leverage to get new business.

But what happens when your connection becomes your competitor? You don’t want them to see who you are strategically aligned with and you don’t want them to see the prospects and customers you are connecting with.

It might make sense to remove the connection (more about the consequences below).

Within the profile of your connection hover over the drop down arrow next to Send a message and then select Remove connection.

Remove LinkedIn Connection

Consequences:

  • When you remove a connection, he or she won’t receive a notification.
  • After removing a connection, any recommendations or endorsements between you and that person will be withdrawn.
  • Only the member who breaks the connection can reinitiate that connection.

Do you want to remove several connections at once? You can do that too.

  1. Move your cursor over Connections at the top of your homepage and select Keep in Touch.
  2. Click Filter by and select Connections Only.
  3. Check the box next to the connections you’d like to remove.
  4. Click More above the first connection and select Remove from Contacts.

If you notice that someone is egregiously following you and calling on your prospects you can block that person altogether.  See LinkedIn’s instructions for blocking here.

While I hope that you don’t find yourself removing a lot of connections; sometimes it’s just necessary, and I hope you find these tips helpful.

Happy networking,

Rebecca

P.S. That is my amazing husband. He is still a first degree connection and no, I didn’t get his permission to use his likeness, but our lawyers can argue about that later.

Posted in Social Selling

LinkedIn Share Code – A Powerful Way to Drive More Users to Your Site

Let your followers easily share your content, blogs, videos and more on LinkedIn with a share link or button.

Here’s the coding format for a PLAIN TEXT HTML link to share your content on LinkedIn:

<a href=”http://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?mini=true&amp;url=http://YourContentsURLGoesHere.com&amp;title=Article Tile Goes Here&amp;summary=Put your summary here” target=”_blank”>Your Text Link Here</a>

Try it first CLICK HERE

Here’s the coding format you’ll need to create an IMAGE link to share your content on LinkedIn:

<a href=”http://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?mini=true&amp;url=http://YourContentsURLGoesHere.com&amp;title=Article Tile Goes Here&amp;summary=Put your summary here” target=”_blank”><img alt=”" src=”http://www.YourImageURLGoesHere.com/image” /></a>

Try it first –

LinkedIn Share Plugin

 

And finally, here is a link to the LinkedIn Developer site to create a SHARE PLUGIN SCRIPT to share your LinkedIn Content.

Posted in Social Selling
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