TechConnect Live, held in the RDS, featured a number of presentations, seminars and exhibitions focused on sales and marketing, recruitment, business, data and finance. This was a real ‘mixed bag’ event with every type of company attending and sharing their insights.
At HireHive, our focus at TechConnect Live was on attending a large number of talks and stands, particularly within the sales, marketing and recruitment sectors. I’ve decided to share my findings from these particular talks, which will help me (and hopefully others) in my day-to-day work.
Moira Ní Ghallachóir of MNG gave an interesting insight into sales in her seminar ‘5 Ways to Inspire Your Way to More Clients, Customers and Profits – Without Being Salesy or Pushy’. She believes that any type of business has the potential to create more sales. But where did Moira’s fervent belief and passion stem from?
Her own story is an inspiring one: a few years ago Moira lived the so – called ‘perfect’ life. Perfect life equalling great job, living in a big city (London) and attending parties. However, approach 36 Moira felt unfulfilled and took a huge leap of faith by packing in her job and returning to her native Donegal after 18 years.
On making her return 5 years ago, Donegal was a desolate place. There was virtually no tourists. Businesses were shutting their doors.
So what does any of this background story have to do with sales (you might be asking) ? Well, Moira made it her mission to rejuvenate Donegal through selling its natural beauty. Plus, with her own business turning over 30k a month, Moira certainly knows a thing or 10 about sales.
So what are her tips for increased sales?
1. Believe in what you do
As Irish people, we have a tendency to think that loving what we do is self-centred. We have a fear of being pushy or salesy. Moira suggests that showing clients your natural enthusiasm and genuity for what you do is a gateway to more sales. After all, enthusiasm is infectious.
2. Think of all the ways you can make a difference in the lives of your clients
This is to do with changing your style of marketing language and addressing the heart of your clients’ needs. The more specific you are about what your business can do for your clients, the more confident you will be selling it.
3. Find out what people really want
Moira emphasises the importance of focusing on the exciting outcomes for clients, not the banal processes. Truth be told, clients don’t care about your businesses processes, they only want to know the solution. Once you start sharing exciting testimonials, clients will become more receptive.
Mark Stewart, Founder of Digital Chief shared his advice on ‘getting intimate with email marketing’ at TechConnect Live. With advertising tools on Google and Facebook becoming increasingly expensive, email, in particular newsletters, are regarded as a cost-effective marketing tool. They also gives you more control over your own database of contacts than other platforms.
However, email marketing is not always easy and requires a long-term effort. But once you get it right, you can build up long-term relationships with contacts and make more profits. Email marketing through newsletters can also help grow engagement and brand authority.
So where does one begin with email marketing?
1. Build up your list
This is hardest part, but remember you probably have a list of contacts at hand already. Newsletters are a great way to keep in contact with current and even previous customers. To build your list further, you will need to create an opt-in on your website where people can sign up for your newsletter or offer free resources that require an email address first.
2. Don’t go to Paris on a first date
Not literally, of course. This just means not giving potential customers everything at the start. Begin with a general introduction and end with something a bit more intimate and interesting.
3. Know the rules
When someone signs up for a newsletter, of course they’re expecting something. Usually they expect information that will help them in their own lives/careers. If you are using newsletters to constantly and blatantly sell your products, you will annoy potential customers. Selling here and there is fine, but try to focus on giving helpful information.
4. Subject Line
Getting the right subject line is probably the second hardest part of email marketing. You can put all the effort in the world into your perfect newsletter and still people might not open it. With a catchy subject line, you can almost guarantee that people will look at what you have to deliver.
5. Thinking of the future
As I said at the beginning, email marketing is a long – term effort that will not bring instant profits. However, once you build up a routine newsletter, you will also build customer loyalty. With this loyalty comes the ability to ask your clients for favours – like testimonials.
Lastly, we learned a thing or 2 about ‘hiring great IT candidates’ from Next Generation’s Associate Director IT & Finance – Jennifer Brennan at TechConnect Live. Jennifer has spent 11 years working in the sector, specialising in sourcing IT candidates. She emphasises the importance of providing of a positive candidate experience and even points out that ‘83% of candidates won’t go to a 2nd round interview if they’ve had an initial bad experience with a company’.
So what did we learn about sourcing great IT candidates from Jennifer?
Types of interviews
When interviewing any type of candidate, an initial phone interview is essential. It helps give you an idea of someone’s personality and can save you a lot of time down the line.
When interviewing IT candidates, a technical test is a ‘must-have’ before any first round interview. If you want to hire remote IT candidates, Jennifer points out that Skype interviews can work really well!
While a gamification type of interview is not ‘essential’, it can be useful in seeing how candidates deal with real-life situations. Other non-essential ideas include presentations and hackathons.
To summarise, a total of 2 to 3 interviews is required before hiring candidates. Any more and you risk losing candidates.
Interview: technical stack
When you have your first interview with an IT candidate, what technical skills should you look for?
Jennifer suggests some of the following:
- Curiosity for new technical methodologies
- A portfolio
- Online profiles
- Solutions in real time
- Open source projects
Interview: Personality Stack
While technical skills are obviously essential, having a suitable personality is becoming just as important. Jennifer recommends looking out for the following things:
- Communication style
- Body language
- Reaction under pressure
Your part as the interviewer
Although it is your job to analyse candidates, it is also your job to help them feel at ease and prepared. To do this, ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I given candidates a good understanding of our company?
- What is the candidate looking for?
- Have I made our company culture clear?
- Did I tell the candidate about training?
- Have I told candidates about upcoming projects?
- Have I told them about career progression?
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to write about all the talks at TechConnect Live, but there were some other interesting discussions about ecommerce, GDPR, conversational commerce and growth. All in all, we really enjoyed TechConnect Live and hope to attend again!