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YOU are the Sale

17 Jul

In 2019, we are selling ourselves. It doesn’t matter what your position might be – frankly, it becomes more and more important the higher you are in a company. And as an entry level salesperson, you carry YOU forward – whether that’s at the same company all your life or more likely, whatever career is generated from your first few years in the workplace.

How do you sell yourself today?

1 – You have a kick-butt LinkedIn profile. Because that’s what professional people do. You also have other social media sites – at least Facebook – where you are community-facing on a regular basis. In the old days, networking happened in your neighborhood or at your place of worship or the grocery store where you knew everyone. Today, it’s on the world wide web.

2 – You operate every day with every person under the golden rule. People around you start saying (because you usually succeed at living the golden rule), “I wonder what that guy does…”. They won’t listen or remember – unless they ask with genuine curiosity. That curiosity only comes when they like you as a human being.

I grew up learning from people and many sales books that the buyer didn’t need to like you. It’s actually true – but then you can only be one thing – an expert with a perfect product or service. In case you aren’t the expert yet and/or your product service is only very good in a competitive field, genuine, trusting relationships go a long way in the ten years that I’ve been running my own business.

3 – You are authentic. Part of being likeable is being vulnerable. You have a couple warts and you talk about them openly.

For example, I don’t like golf. That makes me a bit odd in the business community, but I haven’t played a hole since my third child was born. Somehow, I’m accepted.

I’m also a spazz. My children and fiance definitely understand this. They also know they can say “shoosh you dumb bear”… and I’ll immediately realize that I might be talking an octave too high about something that probably isn’t that big of a deal.

4 – You strive to be the best in the world at something. It doesn’t have to be work-related because whatever it is, it makes you human and helps people remember you. I’m not the best in the world (yet) but my passions and talents are in writing. I’m a recruiter, consultant and salesman, so I decided to put off the fiction novel and pour my efforts into these blogs and business books until I’m 50 (then I write the novel).

If you have these four principles above well in hand, there are many directions you can go from there. It’s all about taking your passions and making you memorable – beyond the privacy of your friends and family...

You’re good at golfing… then represent your company at EVERY charity tournament this year.

You’re a juggler… then learn how to juggle EVERYTHING and tell everyone about it (think concise, short stories 🙂 ).

You love to travel… is your office covered with pictures from your vacations away? What’s the front-page screensaver on your phone? Buy a padfolio with photos on the cover. Start a blog for photos or writings.

You’re a pastry chef… then why isn’t EVERYONE at your office getting a birthday cupcake from you every year? Or maybe deliver some cakes to your clients? They will think you are nutty… but they won’t forget you.

You’ve got a heckuva story to tell… you don’t have to be a writer to be an author. What would be cooler than starting your own book? I can help you with that one if you reach out.

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

Adios Data.com … Hello 2.0 CRM’s

26 Mar

goodbye

In 2010, Salesforce purchased Jigsaw and renamed it Data.com… On May 4th, 2019, they will be calling it quits.

As a recruiter and salesperson, it has been a tool for many years providing phone numbers, email addresses and titles of prospects. Like Wikipedia and LinkedIn, Data.com was good at getting other people to contribute just-in-time information and share it through their platform. That was a novel idea many years ago when we were still collecting business cards and putting them into our Rolodex (or Outlook if you were tech savvy). The mass amount of DATA (primarily free of charge) was wonderful and we dreamed that the site would only benefit from the Salesforce acquisition.

T-Rex_1_grande Salesforce couldn’t make it really work (or didn’t want to make it work) and now Data.com, a once powerful place to acquire and manage CRM records, is a dinosaur. The primary reason for shutting their curtains is that it was full of a bunch of junk – inaccurate records in terms of titles, phone numbers and email addresses. Today, their data is more inaccurate than ever.

So where do we go from here?

There are many options to gravitate to in 2019 and within the universe of CRM’s, they are all a little different from one another. Most of them are going to cost you some money… and I’m going to let the companies battle a little bit before understanding who will be the quality, long term players. They are going to grow (CRM software grew faster than any other software segment in 2018) and gobble one another up – and I don’t see it sorting itself out quickly.

What is a CRM in 2019? The definition is changing every day. A CRM (customer relationship manager) was created to move us past an Excel spreadsheet to organize and manage all of our interactions with customers and prospects. Today, a CRM is certainly focused on doing that, but it is becoming more interactive pulling records from sources outside of your organization.

Recently, SelectHub provided a 2019 snapshot by looking at a sample set of 254 companies (CRM Survey):

  • Outlook is the CRM tool for 29% of these companies
  • Excel is 22% (what?!)
  • Gmail is 14%
  • Salesforce is a mere 6%
  • Mailchimp has 5% of the market
  • The remaining 24% includes HubSpot (3%), Microsoft (2%) & Oracle (2%)

How accurate is this sample set? Admittedly, the list is made up of primarily companies under 1000 employees (84%) and a majority of those are under 500 employees. For small businesses, I’ll assume this is a pretty good snapshot. 

smh260% of these companies are using Outlook, Excel and Gmail as a CRM! It definitely surprised me that Salesforce has captured a mere 6% of the CRM market. It’s no wonder that Salesforce is hiring salespeople like crazy as they are probably drooling over the market potential. I’m reminded of Coca-Cola in this instance… In 2011, Coca-Cola had over 40% of the carbonated beverage worldwide market. At the time, 55 billion beverages were consumed world-wide per day (excluding water) and Coca-Cola sold “only” 1.7 billion beverages per day. With only 3.1% of the beverage market, they have incredible potential!

Here is another take on who owns the market: CRM market share? Salesforce cites that they have 19.6% market share (Oracle, SAP, Microsoft & Adobe making up the next 20%). This article also says that Salesforce is fudging their numbers a bit – part of this is because it’s difficult to completely define WHAT-IS-A-CRM. Even if this is accurate, the top 5 still own less than 40% of the market.

With the removal of Data.com, Salesforce is going to push their product called the Lightning Data Engine. They have a head start because Lightning has partnered with many players (via their AppExchange which has over 5,000 “solutions”) and they’ve become an aggregator of your CRM options which include:

  • Dun & Bradstreet Optimizer as well as D&B Hoovers
  • Equifax (Business Connect)
  • ZoomInfo
  • Bombora
  • HG Data & HG Insights
  • Datafox Orchestrate (Oracle)
  • Clearbit
  • MCH Strategic Data
  • Compass
  • InsideView
  • Owler
  • Business Watch
  • Aberdeen
  • Relationships promised to come include Thomson Reuters and others

Salesforce’s product isn’t great, but they are winning. Their partnerships may be the driver that moves them from good to great. Another reason they are a decent choice for a CRM is because they have been around for 20 years. This doesn’t mean Salesforce is better – but they have become a name brand. This has driven them way beyond expectations to a net worth today of $122 Billion. Also, Salesforce has a reputation of taking good care of their employees – you can’t underestimate the power of a company with a great culture.

Is LinkedIn going to be a player in this universe? Microsoft will claim they already are with their CRM Dynamics 365. I’m disappointed in the results so far but since Microsoft owns LinkedIn, I would imagine that they have a gold mine if they can figure it out as quickly.

boxing

8 Bullets on 13 Players:

  1. Based on history, I’m concerned that Microsoft isn’t moving fast enough.
  2. It feels like Salesforce is trying to think for us by driving its users towards any old CRM tool.
  3. Does Oracle or SAP even care about being a solid CRM for the small business community? Is Adobe going to be a major player?
  4. Is Google’s Copper CRM (formerly ProsperWorks) making a dent in the market?
  5. What about the unified CRM’s like Pega, BPM Online and SugarCRM?
  6. HubSpot, Zoho and Mailchimp have garnered significant growth over the last five years. Are they going to take us to the next level? I think they can push everyone to innovate.
  7. I’ve heard good things about Intelligent CRM by Avtex – which so far hasn’t partnered with Salesforce’s AppExchange.
  8. There are many others that aren’t even on my radar (yet)…

dandelion

I’m disappointed that Data.com didn’t survive… I wish they’d continued with a shared platform and just made it better. The fact that it was free made it pretty cool too. I’m not investing in any of the above at the moment, but I’m curious to see how this plays out and what innovations are to come.

I’m not the expert on this topic. I’m just another user of the products that is trying to understand how it is shifting. Per usual, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/adios-datacom-hello-20-crms-drew-schmitz/

 

 

The Friendly World of LinkedIn

19 Mar

gif smile

In February, I wrote a blog that I thought had a shot at being featured on a channel of LinkedIn Pulse (link to article here: The 50* Largest Groups on LinkedIn). It’s not really an “article”, but a list filling a void that I couldn’t find updated anywhere on the world wide web. After publishing and getting some organic steam, I decided to drive as much traffic to my post as possible. I did some considerable research on the topic of getting featured on LinkedIn Pulse and certainly got a lot smarter along the way as I interacted with a lot of friendly connections…

receive

The primary way that my post received a lot of attention was by reaching out to my network one by one and asking for their support with the article. I certainly didn’t have time to invite all 14,000 of my connections, but I asked about 400 people and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of support from my network.

I used the opportunity to reconnect with 100 people that I hadn’t communicated with in some time and I shared it with 50+ clients asking them for a ‘like’. Then I rolled up my sleeves over the weekend and really dug into mining my connections and asking the biggest influencers in my network for help.

Who were the last 250 people I asked?

lion1. LION’s aka LinkedIn Open Networkers. I may go a little overboard as a recruiter connecting with other LION’s (I have over 2,000 of them), but they have real value and I saw this in action. I didn’t invite all of them, given this was actually me doing the invites (I don’t let my virtual assistant touch my LinkedIn due to it containing many real relationships, so I don’t want them to feel spammed). Instead, I searched through the LION’s that were most active, the ones that had the most connections and the individuals that also wrote articles that I could help to cross-promote. LION’s typically have a lot of connections so their resharing value is exponential.

I sent them different versions of this message (within LinkedIn):

Hello Susan, I’m trying to get this article featured on one of LI’s Pulse channels. Is there any way I could get you to reshare it and/or comment on the article? Let me know how I can return the favor. Many thanks! ~Drew

bee1

2. The Busy Bees. I asked people that were more active on LinkedIn. I view my newsfeed almost every morning, so I’m aware of who is most involved in using LinkedIn. These connections certainly got an invitation.

3. Recruiters and HR Professionals. They use LinkedIn probably more than any job title. All of the recruiters and HR folks that I know well received a message from me.

4. Groups. These weren’t individual people I messaged; I went to almost all of my LinkedIn groups and posted my article there. In turn, this generated a lot of visibility from 2nd and 3rd degree connections. Since I do not promote very often in my groups, I don’t think any took down my post. A lot of them were listed in the article, so it was certainly relevant material.

I assumed I’d get help from 1 out of every 10 people but that ratio ended up being closer to 1 out of every 4. The number of reshares was my biggest surprise and more than not, they reposted with a nice plug on the blog post and me. The comments were awesome as well and many of them came with thoughtful questions and meaningful feedback.

thumbsblogOngoing, I realized who in my network could help again if I asked. I’m guessing half of the aforementioned connections would be annoyed if I asked for another “favor” this month, but the other half offered to help anytime. These 75 or so connections (you know who you are) recognize the enormous value of a supportive community on LinkedIn. I will be liking their posts, reading their articles (and reposting if I like the material), joining some of their groups and likely asking for their help in the future.

As of today, I have over 800 views of my article, 168 likes, 47 comments and 97 reshares. Woo hoo! Of course, it never got featured on a channel of LinkedIn’s Pulse, which was my original objective… but it did garner a lot of attention, my answer on Quora is on the first page of results when you Google “largest LinkedIn groups”, I have a meeting with a new prospect and last Friday, I got a call from a radio host that wants me to be featured on his program. Listen to me live on Cover Your Assets with Todd Rooker on ESPN 1500 AM 8:00-9:00 am on April 13th!

I have been loudly reminded all over again of the utility of LinkedIn and the value of my 1st degree connections. The key is to actively engage with them on a regular basis. We all have only so much time… but I don’t think you can afford not to comb through your relationships and communicate with them on a regular basis. Thank you, Microsoft and LinkedIn, for your imperfect but valuable social media site. A thousand thank-you’s to my network for your ongoing support!

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

P.S. Can I still get featured? If you like this post, please give it a thumb. If you benefit from reading my articles, please go here and give me a like, comment or reshare: The 50* Largest Groups on LinkedIn

 

 

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/friendly-world-linkedin-drew-schmitz/