"Why don't I get more sales enquiries on sites like LinkedIn?"
Lack of client attraction and conversion (i.e. marketing and sales) is a common frustration with most data management consultants I speak to on my breakthrough calls these days.
Perhaps it's something you're struggling with too?
If so, chances are you can do the data 'TLA' stuff...
MDM, DQ, ETL, BI, EAI, DG etc...
...that's not a problem.
But attracting, closing and converting new clients?
It's a challenge.
Perhaps you've started to beat yourself up and say things like...
"I guess I'm just not a natural salesperson"
"The market is challenging - bloody Brexit/Christmas/Competitors"
"Perhaps my skills are becoming dated?"
I get it.
I've been there (many times).
We all have that nagging little voice in our heads trying to knock our sales confidence.
Perhaps you feel that selling just feels weird (or even a bit sleazy?) and not congruent with how you want to show up in the world.
But here's the thing...
While you may need help with your sales process, the real source of your sales pipeline challenge probably lies far upstream from the sales call.
Say Hello to Your (Broken) Proposition
Your proposition is the thing that customers buy.
It's the solution you provide to the 'gains and pains' they seek.
But sadly, it's one of the things that most data consultants overlook.
Because most data management consultants suffer from 'cast-a-net' syndrome:
"If I create a great big net of services on my website / LinkedIn profile, hopefully a juicy big fish will fall into the net".
And judging by the 15,000+ views of this post, it's a topic of concern.
If you're like most data professionals, your 'LinkedIn marketing strategy' is simply to cast your net with a load of acronyms and data management buzzwords on your LinkedIn profile and hope for the best.
The thought of creating a highly specialised proposition (i.e. a single hook) doesn't enter your head because you think it's too limiting.
You say things to yourself like...
"If I specialise in a particular niche then:
I’m going to get bored
I’m going to get pigeonholed
I’m going to run out of things to say
I’m going to hit a revenue ceiling"
Because why limit your marketplace, right?
But, to be fair, you've not discounted the idea of specialisation completely.
You think that picking a core discipline (e.g. "I do data quality management") qualifies as specialisation because it's a niche subset of data management.
But here's the thing...
"I do data quality management" is just the tool.
It's not the outcome.
It's like hiring a builder who pitches their services by walking you around a building site and showing you all the tools they intend to use on your project:
"There's the mixer, we put the cement in there."
"And those are the ladders, we're really good on those. We go up and down them. We use them to carry stuff."
"That's the scaffolding. We use that to build a framework around your house."
Sounds ridiculous, right?
But that's what data professionals do every day (and I know, because I did exactly the same!)
You talk about your frameworks and tools, with your LinkedIn profile proclaiming:
"Pick me, pick me! Look at all these tools and frameworks I've learned!".
But what about the outcome you deliver?
How clear is it?
Does your strap line spell out your value proposition with clarity?
Or do clients have to go digging to unearth it and give up, confused.
How many times have you looked at someone's profile and gone:
"WTF does this guy actually do?"
You don't need to be cute or clever.
Just say what you do and what the outcome is for the clients.
For example, my strap line is simple:
"I help data professionals create a thriving consultancy".
But how many mental calories did you burn to understand it?
If you're a data professional, who wants to launch a consultancy, or already owns a consultancy, and wants it to thrive, then you're likely to check out my profile, right?
And if you know someone, who has a consultancy going through a rocky patch and needs some help, you're likely to share my profile, right?
And that's the beauty of LinkedIn, it's perfect for publishing content that attracts clients, but only if they understand the outcome they'll get from working with you.
By not marketing an outcome, you're failing to attract your ideal client base so you're left with a slow drip of a sales pipeline, instead of a healthy flow.
Look hard at your own LinkedIn sales performance...
How healthy is your sales pipeline right now?
How many leads have you generated this month?
How many sales calls did you book last month?
What does Q1 look like next year?
The tank is empty, right?
So it's time to change...
How to become the ONLY choice
Hopefully by now I've piqued an interest in this need to specialise on sites like LinkedIn thing.
So let's imagine I'm your ideal client - the CFO struggling with their reporting strategy.
Consider their thought process...
I.T keep telling me it's going to take months to build out a solution to help me present the quarterly financial projections.
They keep telling me that "the data quality is a mess" and "The 'BODS' team are maxed out so we don't have the right ETL capabilities at present".
Whatever the **** that all means.
All I know is that I look a fool when I turn up at board meetings, scrabbling around trying to get the figures I need.
Responding to questions with...
"I don't have that data, I'll get back to you".
...all from a question I should be able to answer in seconds.
Instead, I pitch into yet another frantic dash to pull spreadsheets together.
And now my guys are making mistakes because this manual, crappy process, is such a mess.
I'm starting to drop the ball because my data is in such a state.
I feel like I'm one more screw up away from having my belongings handed to me in a cardboard box.
Now, imagine this same CFO comes across your next webinar:
"The CFO Survival Guide to timely and accurate reporting (without the dirty data and Excel nightmares)"
Now compare that to a generic webinar:
"How to improve data quality, a 5-step leadership plan"
If you were the frustrated CFO, which one would you subscribe to?
But what if we took your specialism to another level?
What if your webinar had 'Retail CFO' in the title.
"The Retail CFO Survival Guide to timely and accurate reporting (without the dirty data and Excel nightmares)"
How attractive is that topic if you're a frustrated Retail CFO who's struggling with bad data?
Now that nagging voice in your head screams out - shut up Dylan!
Think of all those sectors and markets I'll be missing out on!
Serving Retail CFOs is far too specialised!!!
No. It's not.
Do you know how many retail financial directors there are in the UK or US?
And what if you could dominate that market.
What if you became the best act in town for US Mid-Sized Retail CFOs struggling with crappy data.
What if you created the best articles and guidance.
The best marketing.
The best coaching, consulting and training.
The best events and meetups.
The best LinkedIn group.
The best website.
The best podcast.
Do you see how it's so much easier to be 'the best' in a small niche that you can charge a premium for and totally lock down?
Do you want to spend another twelve months hustling in a huge marketplace with everyone swimming around competing for the same scraps?
Stop freaking out that you're about to become too specialised on platforms like LinkedIn.
If you're not getting sales conversations on LinkedIn (and I don't mean the professional chit-chat that goes nowhere) then you need to specialise and get clear on your outcome.
And before you go, let me leave you with one final thought:
How much business did your current LinkedIn marketing approach generate for you in 2018?
Still convinced a generic, unspecialised, marketing message is the way to go?
Want to figure out how to specialise your offering, create a compelling outcome and start to generate business on platforms like LinkedIn?
I offer a free breakthrough call for anyone who is serious about creating a thriving consultancy in the data management space.
We'll identify what's holding you back and outline the steps to put it right.
Book a call using this link (slots are limited so book early).