Posted by Mike Carroll ● Thu, Jul 23, 2009 @ 09:07 AM

How LinkedIn Is Changing My Business

Six weeks ago I was as big of a “social media” skeptic as you could find. Even though I had used them, it was hard for me to imagine LinkedIn or Twitter as serious business-to -business marketing tools. I thought of these platforms as interesting diversions, but not serious business development tools. The target market for my sales force development consulting business is comprised of Presidents, CEOs, and Business Owners of companies with $5-$50 million in annual sales that have a direct sales force and are located in Southeastern Wisconsin. There are about 400 such people that fit this description and I highly doubted I could reach them through these channels.

What I’ve learned over the past six weeks is that I was wrong, but not in the way I expected. Let me back up. I started my B2B sales blog over two years ago and while I’ve had a lot of fun writing it, and I believe it has helped establish my expertise in the B2B sales arena, it never generated any business opportunities. However, six weeks ago I made the commitment to step up my writing and set the goal of writing one new post a week. Additionally, I decided to engage the community on LinkedIn by also posting this information to various groups and asking questions related to each. The results have been remarkable. I’ve received many messages and e-mails asking me for more information, offering more ideas and wondering if my company offers individual training programs for sales people and sales managers. Currently, we don’t. Our approach is customized based on what we uncover when we evaluate sales organizations.

I’ve never really thought about taking what we do for our corporate engagements (high-end custom programs) and provide something similar for individuals. That is, until now. The question I ask myself is: How can I deliver a program that is tailored to the individual needs of a sales person or sales manager – based on his or her unique strengths and weaknesses – at a price point that would allow an individual to buy it on his or her own, without asking his or her company for permission? I have some ideas, but I would love your input. Right now I’m thinking of two separate courses. Each would be a series of web courses, one for sales people and another for sales managers, where the curriculum could be tailored to address the specific weaknesses of each participant (based on an assessment we would provide).

I believe each course should include some basic “blocking and tackling” content that everyone can benefit from reviewing and then the rest would be personalized based on the areas an individual needs to focus on to improve. I would then host a series of webcasts reviewing the sales or sales management content, addressing individual questions, role playing, discussing how to apply the general lessons to specific sales situations, and so on. Is this a program that you would be interested in? How much would you be willing to invest in this type of a program? What else would you like to see in it? Please let me know your thoughts because you are changing my business!

Topics: Prospecting, lead generation, networking

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