George is one of the best salesmen I’ve ever worked with. He has an incredible ability to assess a sales situation, understand the dynamics involved with the sale, and then architect a cohesive sales strategy. When it comes to his understanding of technology, though, he typically falls a little sort. You see, George sits in the office next to mine — a place that I’m frequently called to help with some Microsoft Word, Excel, or Outlook disaster. So, I found it interesting that the first salesman to walk into my office with a practical application for New Media was my friend, George.
George had attended an abridged version of my Social Media 101 class. It must have been something that I said during that class that motivated him to walk next door and say, “I need to keep up with the latest news on all of my customers. Do you think that I can use Google Reader to do that?”
I learned that his management requires reports about his sales territory. In order to pull those reports together, he needs to visit many web sites, gather the information, and then synthesize that information into some mandatory PowerPoint template. Evidently, the synthesizing isn’t the problem — it’s the time and effort that he spends searching for information that kills him.
Within the next ten minutes, George had a Google account. Within the following ten, I had demonstrated how to use the RSS Feeds created through Google News searches. After a few minutes, he began building his personal search tool.
A few minutes into the exercise, a fresh news story popped up, describing how one of his customers was being sold to another company. “What’s that?” he asked, knowing very well what it was and realizing the direct ramifications the news meant to an ongoing deal. Reaching for the phone, he thanked me for my time and said, “I’m sorry, Ron, but I gotta jump on this.”
And that was it. Today, George, our non-technical sales person, has an elaborate RSS search system at his disposal. He knows exactly what is happening within his sales territory and he loves to talk about it.
I’m glad to have been able to help this very unlikely New Media Evangelist.