The role of tools
To explain the relationships between the five elements I created the formula below.
Here is the thinking behind this formula. Let’s start with the relationship between tools and skills. The role of a tool is to increase efficiency and effectiveness of a skill. Not the other way around. For example if you are able to work with LinkedIn but have no networking skill you are going to be in trouble. However if you have a great networking skills than LinkedIn as a tool provides you with an exponential advantage. Exponential because it scales regardless of time (24/7) and location (worldwide).
If I have great networking skills and am using LinkedIn as a tool I still have nothing to offer to my client if I don’t have content. Lacking meaningful content equates the entire sales process into zero.
Applying the right kind of content depends on where we are in the sales cycle, and the methodology provides us with the guidance of what kind of content has value when. For example, providing speed & feeds in a PDF spec-sheet early on, when the client is building an emotional connection, is having little impact. Likewise applying a use-case video early on provides great value.
So why is organization below the line? Philosophically I believe that the role of an organization is to support. Lack of support (commonplace) is slowing everything down. Due to lack of organization you are not coached, content is not being generated, and tools are not approved by IT. I realize I am stretching it, but the point is that it shows you the incredible power of todays tools, and the dependency on meaningful content.
Skills drive tools
We can now look back at skills identified by Lynette J. Ryals, Iain Davies in their HBR article and determine for each of these skills, what is the content needed, and that tells us what the right tools. You can test this by verifying if they have an exponential impact.
USE-CASE MEETING PREPARATION: The content for meeting preparation is proper research. Tools for research are Google, YouTube, and LinkedIn to learn everything about who you are meeting. In preparation of the meeting you likely need to do a call with your ‘coach on the inside’ which means you need something a conferencing tool like Skype or Join.me. All of these tools can be used independent of time and location.
The tools of a superstar
Completing the above task for all skills determines that the following are key tools:
- Prezi: Great tool to attract attention of your client, create a vision pitch, a use-case, or a digital white paper
- WordPress: Create/participate in online conversations where key issues are identified and discussed
- YouTube/Vimeo: Use-case video’s, white board sessions are of great use in to develop trust
- Join.me : Desktop sharing tool that does not require someone to become a member of your network, allows you to share designs, timelines, etc without having to attach to e-mails
- LinkedIn: Make yourself available early on, then use it to research the target organization, and at the end amplify with a like better yet a recommendation
- Twitter: Primarily a listening tool for you to keep a beat on what is going on in the market/client
- SlideShare: Research, host presentations etc.
- E-mail: Will continue to be the most critical tool
For an extensive overview of tools click HERE.