A lot of things tend to pop up at this time of year – the holidays, the end of a year, the start of a new one, Dick Clark is pulled out of storage and dusted off, and everyone and anyone puts together a 'Top 10 List.' Treeline is no exception to the rule. This year has been a crazy one and I am sure that plenty of us are glad to see it come to an end. But through it all, there were plenty of lessons to be learned. Here is a list of the Top 10 Lessons Learned in 2009.
1. Social Networking – Brand Yourself: Over the past year we have learned that if you are not social networking – you are simply at a disadvantage. Whether you are on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or all three – it is important to build your brand online.
2. Sales 2.0 – Get Creative and Build Partnerships: The days of cut throat corporate culture are over and professionals want to help each other stay in the game and build industry together. Sales 2.0 is a collaborative effort that allows organizations to partner and advance in this market. Pay it forward.
3. SEO – Get Found: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will have companies quickly reallocating their marketing budgets and changing sales models. Sales organizations are beginning to realize that a focus on finding new business is not as efficient as making sure that new business can find you.
4. Priorities – What is Important?: For a lot of people, this year pulled things into perspective – both professionally and personally. In this market, it is easy for the lines to get blurred between what matters and what doesn't – those of us who have clearly defined the two are better equipped as the market begins to turn. Focus on what matters; the rest is just details and distractions.
5. Job Boards Are Outdated – Be Proactive: For those of you who are on the hunt – you have learned that job boards are now a black hole for your resume. The market is just too saturated and companies simply can't search on enough key characteristics to find you. As a result, companies are overwhelmed and do not have the bandwidth to comb through all the submittals they receive. Instead, be proactive, use your sales talent and techniques to get your foot in the door
6. Seek to Find the Opportunities that Exist in Challenging Times: A recession slows things down, unfortunately, for many of our bank accounts. But in many cases, if you are looking, opportunities can appear. Over the last year, through necessity, smart companies have chosen to view this last year as an opportunity to rebuild, re-brand and re-think their business.
7. Diversify, Diversify, Diversify: We have built our companies and professions based on what we do well and have a pulse on our expertise. However, if this year taught us anything it's to cast a wider net. In order to survive in a down market, one must be able to diversify their clientele and sell to a broader audience to ensure consistent revenue. Continue to work your bread and butter accounts but diversify your pipeline.
8. Value and Service Your Current Clients: "Love the one you're with". Lyric to a sappy love song, or valuable business advice? When new business is harder to come by companies that focused on providing higher levels of service and focused on their existing clientele showed stability over the past year, and overall are better positioned when the market returns.
9. Sales People: The Most Efficiently Armed Professional in Recession Combat: Sales Professionals succeed and survive mostly because of their ability to overcome rejection and withstand hardship. The year is over…and again….we all made it through. Beaten up, battered… maybe. But come Jan 1, the numbers all set back to zero and all of us will take a deep breath, one more notch in our belts, great stories to tell and over all better professionals because we have once again, overcome the challenges that were put in our way.
10. Take Stock, Plan: What happened over the year, what were your best decisions; in what ways did you fail? They say, "History repeats itself" but with proper reflection it doesn't have to. Take a moment with your team to discuss the year and save the record. This will make you better prepared when the next recession hits.
Is this all we learned – absolutely not. But these are lessons that should certainly not go over looked. I think we can all say that 2009 has been a very 'educational' year. What have you learned this year? – we would like to hear from you. Now that you have learned your lessons -what do you plan to do in 2010? Looking forward to hearing from you and ringing in the New Year.