Do This “Thing” with the Same Passion You Have When Selling to Customers: Part 2 (Detailed Identification)

This is a multi-part series. If you haven’t yet read Part 1 below, read it first, then continue reading Part 2 here.

Assuming you write a job description for roles you’re trying to fill, you likely are at least covering the basics of identifying the skills and traits you are looking for. Years of experience, types of experience, certain types of education or training, etc. All of those are important aspects of narrowing the field of candidates you are targeting. But are you being specific enough?

At my company, we had to ask ourselves that question during a recent search for a business development manager. Our job description (and hence our own clarity around what we were looking for) was too general. Sales, marketing, and business development roles are highly performance driven by their very nature. As a result, we needed someone who was extremely confident in his or her abilities and who was a risk taker. Problem was, we were afraid we were going to scare off candidates if we were too bold in highlighting the highly variable nature of the person’s compensation based on performance.  (To be blunt—low base salary, high incentive compensation.) We got lots of resume submissions from uninspiring candidates. So we got aggressive. In direct–and some might say “brash”–terms, we started emphasizing our expectations of candidates. Yes, resume submissions dropped, but so too did time wasted screening unqualified candidates.

The recruiting lesson is, be honest with yourself and your needs, then get detailed about what you’re looking for in a given role. What types of companies have your ideal candidates worked at (or better yet, what specific companies have they worked at), what have been their job titles, what keywords would you find in their resumes? In fact, what would you expect them to focus on in their resumes—for example, would you expect lots of comments about teamwork, quantitative results, or lessons learned? And so on. And so on. And so on.

The same goes for marketing. You should be identifying your best prospects, and not just at a general, non-descript level. Spend the time to identify the traits and characteristics of the clients that will gain the most from your product or service. What size is the company? What industry? Where are they located? What roles do they have (or which ones do they lack)? Which individuals (which roles) in the company will be most interested in your product? What very specific and not-too-common keywords would you expect these companies (and the individuals within those companies) to use on their website and in their LinkedIn profiles and pages?

Force yourself to identify granular details about your candidates (if you are hiring) or your prospects (if you are selling and marketing). You will use these details during Part 3.

As a reminder (for those who read Part 1), if you’re a Microsoft partner and you haven’t already registered for as a Cloud Seller MEMBER for FREE, sign up now to not only get notified of updates to this series, but also videos, podcasts, training, news, and reviews related to recruiting, marketing, and other focus areas that will help you grow your business.

Aside from registering for Cloud Seller MEMBER, you can check back here each day or follow me on Twitter (@TheRainMarketer) and LinkedIn where I tweet and post when a new blog is added.

Finally, you also have the opportunity to enhance this series. Comment below or email me (brentj@cadencepreferred.com) with great examples of candidate or client recruiting you’ve done and I’ll expand the series real time to include other great suggestions.

Do This “Thing” with the Same Passion You Have When Selling to Customers: Part 1 (Introduction)

Whether you know the name @JoshJames or not, chances are, he’s impacted your life. Because even if you haven’t used one of his products directly, it’s almost guaranteed that sites you visit have used his software to analyze you, your preferences, and your online habits. And there’s a high likelihood that you’ve bought something because one of his clients (and by “his” I mean the first company he founded, Omniture) tailored an online experience for you.

But this article isn’t about James, Omniture (now Adobe Marketing Cloud), or ecommerce. Rather, today we’re going to focus on a topic that James prioritizes within his businesses (first Omniture and now #Domo).

Recently, at @SaaStrAnnual, the SaaS industry’s largest independent conference, James mentioned that he spends an appreciable amount of his time personally involved in _____.

What would you guess James spends his time on? He’s the founder and CEO of a rapidly growing technology company, who at a young age, already has an impressive track record of success—having sold Omniture for $1.8 billion. What do you think James dedicates his time to? Strategic planning? Product vision? Executive reviews? Undoubtedly he does all those things. Anything else?

But at #SaaStrAnnual, James elected to highlight hiring and recruiting. Wait a minute—isn’t that for HR and hiring managers?

Great employees can be the difference between your company’s success and failure. Having great employees requires identifying the traits, skills, and cultural fit that your company needs; searching for and finding those individuals; then recruiting them in ways that ensure you get the people you want.

In the multi-part series that will follow, we will explore various tips and suggestions on how to leverage marketing best practices in your recruiting and hiring efforts. And while we’re at it, we’ll highlight how you should be using these same tactics in your marketing and sales efforts as well.

Topics we’ll cover include:

  • Detailed identification
  • Proactive searching
  • The candidate/client experience
  • Playing hard to get

If you’re a Microsoft partner, and you haven’t already registered as a Cloud Seller MEMBER for FREE, sign up now to not only get notified of updates to this series, but also videos, podcasts, training, news, and reviews related to recruiting, marketing, and other focus areas that will help you grow your business.

Aside from registering for Cloud Seller MEMBER, you can check back here each day or follow me on Twitter (@TheRainMarketer) and LinkedIn where I tweet and post when a new blog is added.

Finally, you also have the opportunity to enhance this series. Comment below or email me (brentj@cadencepreferred.com) with great examples of candidate or client recruiting you’ve done and I’ll expand the series real time to include other great suggestions.

Bathroom Experiences–It’s Not What You Think

A bathroom. That’s right, a bathroom. That’s what inspired this particular article.

Now before I continue, let’s all agree we’re adults here and can tell bathroom stories without it being awkward.

Flying to Melbourne to participate in some go-to-market training workshops for Microsoft partners, one of the legs of my journey was on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It’s my first time on a Dreamliner. And mid-way through the 11-hour flight, I was caught off guard by my first visit to one of the restrooms.

Before I continue, let me ask you—is there anything you like about airplane bathrooms? The door opens awkwardly, folding in half, and invariably being in your way once you step inside? The bathroom itself is cramped and often poorly lit. And so forth.

https://www.cnet.com/pictures/inside-boeings-787-dreamliner-photos/28/

So I was surprised on the Dreamliner that opening the door didn’t cause it to bend it half. Rather, the whole panel moved out of the way, enabling easy access. And I never felt like it was in my way, or rather, I never felt like I was in ITS way. Furthermore, the inside felt almost spacious, and the lighting was bright.  And finally, when I went to lower the toilet seat and cover after my visit, unlike toilet seats on other planes that slam down if you aren’t careful, these had a tension hinge that kept them from slamming. Awkward seat-slamming noises averted!

What’s my point?

Boeing, in its design of the Dreamliner, paid attention to details about the customer experience and implemented changes that made my use better in small but perceptible ways.

What are you doing to improve the experience for your customers? And are you considering both your direct and indirect customers?

As it relates to the second question, what do I mean by direct and indirect customers? In the Dreamliner example, I am a customer, but not Boeing’s direct customer. Boeing’s direct customer is the airline (in this case, Jetstar), while I am Jetstar’s customer (and hence only indirectly Boeing’s customer).

So who are your indirect customers? If you’re an IT services shop, Managed Services Provider, or VAR, for example, your direct customers would likely be an IT manager at your customer account, or depending on the size of the account, maybe the owner or a business-line executive. That might mean that the employees at the company, or perhaps even your client’s customers, are your indirect customers. Those indirect customers might not buy directly from you, but you may be able to impact their experience, and their positive experiences with your product may contribute to higher retention rates with your direct customers.

After you consider the experiences of your indirect customers, consider the experience your direct customers will have interacting with you. Following are just a few examples of areas where you can focus on your customer’s experience. Hopefully you think of others as well. My recommendation is NOT to tackle them all at once, but rather to pick one, identify one thing you can do, and do it.  Then if that yields positive results, return and select another one.

Ways your customers might experience your product or service:

  • Initial sales calls or interactions
  • Your sales reps’ attire (and for that matter, the attire of all your employees)
  • Your proposals or statements of work
  • The proposal approval process (both at your company and at your client’s company)
  • Welcome and on-boarding processes and experiences
  • Product or service usage
  • Unsolicited calls to your company’s main office number
  • Emails you send out (email footers or other email guidelines)
  • Customer support experiences (whether online, via email, by phone, or in person)
  • The renewal process
  • Cancellation (and “save”) interactions
  • Your win-back efforts
  • Your website

All this from a bathroom visit. Whodathunk?

And see, it really is possible to tell bathroom stories without being juvenile.