The best take on this is, without question, Jeffrey Gitomer. If you've ever seen Gitomer in person, you'll be shocked at how unassuming he is. Five foot nothing, buck-o-five in weight, the guy can motivate a conference hall of 5,000 people in about 60 seconds (don't judge a book by it's cover). One of his most compelling go-to-market strategies is how he views salespeople's responsibility when it comes to marketing themselves, their solutions and their companies. I endorse his philosophy.
Marketing is about developing and reinforcing a BRAND. While people will argue over what the word "brand" means, everyone agrees that a huge component is YOU. Your product or service certainly represent part of the branding message; however, without you, the brand slowly drifts into competitive cannon fodder, along with all the other options your customers have (including the option to do nothing). Below are my top suggestions on developing your marketing message and branding you!
- Your Own Domain - Really? You don't own your own domain name yet on the internet? Where you have been in the last 15 years? Don't you realize that domain names are now critical to your future success? Sure, you want to advertise your product/service by pointing customers to the company's website, but what about you? Your customers cannot learn about who you are on your company's website. Invest in your future. Invest in your branding. Figure out how to develop an online presence without relying upon your company! FYI - this includes a financial commitment of web hosting that pays off over time.
- Think LinkedIn is unimportant? You're dead wrong. It's astonishing to see how many LinkedIn profiles have empty descriptions, poor completion and a horrible take-away message. Are you aware how many people scour LinkedIn every day? For those of you asleep at the wheel, LinkedIn "hits" are registered by people searching for something (not your direct name). If you didn't bother to use every square inch of what LinkedIn will let you post, you're missing out on developing a brand. First action item: Go completely fill out your LinkedIn profile. Google tips on what works with LinkedIn and watch what a difference it makes. Don't think your customers are checking you out online? Think again. By the way, Facebook gets you nowhere - that's for your personal use.
- Blogging is Everything. Sure, you might have your own personal website. You might have a Facebook page. You might even see what's happening on social media every day. Unfortunately, your work counts for nothing on the web until you POST something. I'm not talking about a "like" or a "friend" request. I'm talking about blogging your opinion. I'm talking about you creating a brand for yourself because people see what you have to say. Don't have anything to say? Maybe you picked the wrong profession. Sales is about creating a network and leveraging people to help you create impact for your customers. What are you going to do today to start making yourself heard online?
- Differentiation Matters. When all is said and done, your potential customers only remember a very small portion of what you feed them. Scientific studies show that most people remember the differences between you (and your company/services) versus other competitors. What will you say that makes a difference? How will you relay your message in a DIFFERENT way? What matters most to your customers? If it's not about them, and how your solution impacts them, forget it. Stop and check yourself. Is your message blurry? Does it fold-in with your competitors? If so, change it. Change it today.
You have a lot to do. Get started. Invest in yourself! Invest in your future. This is a long-term strategy for long-term gains.