It’s no secret there is a preoccupation in the “over 40” age group to bash Millennial and Gen Z working ethics. But I noticed something interesting this week as I participated in Columbia University’s Career Week. One day was exclusively devoted to “The Transformation of Recruiting – Why Social Media Matters”. The advice for these Millennial and Gen Z graduates made good sense:
- Research the companies you’re interested in working for
- Follow their tweets and social media posts
- Understand their culture through LinkedIn
- Bring value to them beyond your job candidacy through relevant news bits
- On your resume remember that interests & hobbies can be huge connectors
- Write articles on LinkedIn to help establish a persona and knowledge credibility
And a couple of great quotes during the sessions:
“If you don’t label yourself, someone else will”
“Different is better than better”
Clearly this is sage guidance for Millennial and Gen Z job hunters, but what struck me was the similarity to the training and coaching programs I conduct, for experienced B2B executives in business development and sales.
The common theme…connection. Thousands of equally qualified graduates are out there hustling to land that first quality job. What sets them apart, and allows their resumes to stand out, is a connection with that hiring manager or team. A school. A hobby. An extra-curricular activity. It makes the candidate more like, well…a person, and may give an edge, even if the pure technical skills may be below some others. “Different is Better Than Better”
Likewise, B2B Enterprise sales products can look very much the same. Similar features. Similar Service Licensing Agreements. Similar technological “secret sauce”. Similar set of existing clients, and of course, similar pricing. So what tips the scale? Where are the difference makers? Here are three suggestions for B2B sales and business development executives:
- Be viewed as the most authoritative source in the field. Credibility matters, and often that credibility falls on the sales executives’ awareness and commitment to relaying that to the customer in creative ways. Publish on LinkedIn and be noticeable on Twitter feeds related to your industry.
- Be viewed as a key source of support. By closely following that potential or existing customer’s Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook postings, you’ll gain insight into news and culture. Then, by responding with appropriate re-tweets, shares and comments, you create a reputation of assistance and support, and less of a seller of something.
- Be viewed as interesting. Hear me out. The executives that can demonstrate a passion for interesting side activities, are looked on with a bit more interest. Remember, this is still a human process, and humans are attracted to other interesting humans. Charities, coaching, artistic endeavors, all add depth and get you noticed even beyond your immediate company affiliation.
Maybe it’s time to put down the bashing sticks and pick up the career guidance playbook for this newer generations of workers. Digital presence is the new battleground, there are plenty of tools to help you stand out. Get noticed. Be different. Different is better than better.
The Ganon Group offers communication coaching for executives and employees across all departments: C-Suite Leadership, Sales, Customer Experience, Technical / Product Development, to improve their communication and presentation techniques. We believe everyone can “up” their game when it comes to communicating initiatives and ideas within the organization, outside to new prospects, to existing clients, or to outside media and trade organizations. www.theganongroup.com