A Great NEW Sales Training Tool – DropVox to Dropbox

As sales trainers we need to provide sales representatives with recordings of successful sales calls, if our goal is to equip new reps with the knowledge and tools to hit the ground running after new hire training.  We take the time to fly in experts to sales training courses, and these experts provide an endless amount of quality dialogue, but who can digest that information after only hearing it one time?  

If we want sales reps to mimic the words of the experts, and correctly communicate our companies value message, then they will need to listen to those talk-tracks repeatedly in order to reproduce the success of top reps.  DropVox is a great new app that records audio and sends it directly to your Dropbox account in quality M4A format.

Before I explain DropVox it is important that you have a Dropbox account.  Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily.  You need a Dropbox account in order to provide a folder for the recordings from your experts to reside in.  Below is an infographic providing further details about Dropbox.dropbox-rising-leaders-in-cloud-storage

Dropbox: Rising Leaders In Cloud Storage by Infographiclabs

Use DropVox to capture sales messaging, product positioning, and competitive objection handling. Later, the sales representatives can listen to these recordings on their desktop computer using QuickTime or iTunes, or on their iOS device using Dropbox’s own app.

DropVox Features:

  • Quickly record audio and send it directly to your Dropbox account, saving you time and effort.
  • Compressed M4A audio files sound great while saving you storage space and bandwidth.
  • Background uploading so you can continue working with other applications.
  • Full Accessibility with VoiceOver.
  • Option: Start recording immediately when DropVox launches. This makes voice recording a single click operation!
  • Option: Continue recording while DropVox is in the background or your device is locked*.
DropVox App
DropVox App Opening Pag

Note about the recording workflow:

The recording process has been streamlined and eliminates the need to name recordings or choose where to send them. Record, Stop, and DropVox handles the rest.

Uploaded recordings are conveniently named after the current date and time ensuring they will show up in chronological order within your Dropbox folder.

That said, I have instructed my experts to begin each recording with the recording identifier and the “take” number.  Because my clients are all from the medical device sector, I do run the recording through Dragon Dictation 12 in order to provide transcripts for regulatory review.

 

Bottom line, for $1.99 DropVox is an important tool that every trainer should have in there toolbox.

Good Luck!

DropVox II

How To Increase Your LinkedIn Presence in Three Easy Steps

What is your LinkedIn strategy?  Let me guess…  You don’t believe you need one because you are not currently looking for a job.  Trust me when I say; “You definitely need a LinkedIn strategy.”

I continue to have conversations with my colleagues as to the importance of having a multi-pronged approach with social media.  I would like to think I have done some of the heavy lifting for you by embracing Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.  Before you can even think of creating a strategy, you must first utilize the tools.

Because all of my connections lie in the medical device space, I will construct a three step plan to first assist you with increasing your LinkedIn presence.  I believe I have devised a quite painless approach that will get you on your way.

Background

Linkedin Infographic

Via: PowerFormula for Linkedin Success is the social network for work professionals created by Reid Hoffman in 2002. There are 238 million professionals worldwide who have connected with Linkedin since its official launch in May 2003. Every second that number grows by two more memberships, according to company stats.

There’s no social media site that’s as good for business professionals as LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s Influencers Program is gearing up to be another social networking site and also a great source of content creation for professionals. It’s not too late to get “Linked-In” so that you are not left behind.

Three Key Steps to Follow:

You have probably heard of content marketing.  Well my process to increase your LinkedIn presence is similar to the process employed by content marketers.  Below are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Aggregate
  2. Curate
  3. Publish

1. Aggregate

Your first step requires that you pull together content to review.  This step is called aggregation and their are several tools out there on the web to help you with this task.  I am adding a list of several aggregation tools for you to set-up and try.  I personally utilize Feedly and Google Alerts as I have found them to be quite reliable and efficient for my needs.

Aggregation Dashboards 

NetVibes.com—NetVibes is one of the original content aggregation dashboards and still one of the best. The best feature of NetVibes is the abundance of ready-made feeds and widgets that can get you up and running in minutes. Free and premium versions are available.

Symbaloo.com—Symbaloo is almost identical to iGoogle but is presented in a much more image-shaped manner. If you’re looking at an easy-to-use dashboard that aggregates all the forms of content important to you (images, blog posts, videos etc), this is a great way to go—and it’s free.

Feedly.com—Feedly has been around for a while but has become more popular since the departure of Google Reader. Feedly enables you to add content by URL, title, and topic. It is great for blog post aggregation but doesn’t pull in other forms of content (such as images), which would make it a more complete solution. Free and premium versions available.

Google Alerts-Email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries. Just enter a search query you wish to monitor. You will see a preview of the type of results you’ll receive. Some handy uses of Google Alerts include keeping current on a competitor or industry.

2. Curate

Once you have your aggregator set-up, you need to add content to curate.  The below web-sites with corresponding Twitter handles should serve as a jumping off point for all of my medical device colleagues.  You should augment this list from the get-go with several more specific Google Alerts.

  1. MassDevice.com @MassDevice | @BrianMassDevice
  2. MedicalDeviceDaily.com @MedDevicesDaily
  3. MobileHealthNews.com @MobileHealth
  4. STSIWeb.org @EricTopol
  5. MedCityNews.com @MedCityNews
  6. FierceBioTech.com @FierceBiotech
  7. MedGadget.com @Medgadget

3. Publish

Last but not least, you need to publish the content you want to share with your colleagues on LinkedIn.  The must have tool for this process is Bufferapp.com.  Buffer adds an icon to your tool bar and it adds a share button to each of the aggregators that I listed above.  The beauty of this tool is that you can put all of your posts together in the evening and set them to a timer.

You see, I am working all day.  For those of you who think I am actually sending out posts throughout the day, you are sadly mistaken.  Every night before I go to bed, I curate my content in Feedly and load up my Buffer.  I am sure their is a joke in there somewhere!  I committed to doing this for two weeks and now it is a habit.

As a rule, I load up 10 posts every night, but very few are earmarked for LinkedIn.  The majority of my posts are meant for Twitter.  I also never like to put out more than 5 LinkedIn posts in any given week, and I try to never post during the weekend.

There you have it… In three easy steps, you can increase your presence on LinkedIn.

From Webcast to Virtual Event

Virtual events are a relatively new form of connecting and exchanging information, with both your customers and your employees.  Technology has evolved to a place whereby you can effectively reach your audience without the hassle and expense of putting together a large production.

To illustrate my point I will provide a breakdown of the costs associated with a live National Sales Meeting taking place over the course of five days in Orlando, FL for approximately 1,200 medical device sales representatives.

  • Flight – Food – Hotel :: $2,090,000
  • Event Production :: $1,350,000
  • Event Planning to Management :: $100,000
  • Training & Marketing Content Creation and Development :: $250,000
  • Speakers, Motivational and Special Guests :: $120,000
  • Awards Banquet | Themed Parties | Trinkets and Trash :: $865,000
  • Miscellaneous :: $225,000

This entire event recreated, as an exquisite Virtual | Hybrid experience flawlessly executed, would cost approximately $750,000.

In addition to the dramatic cost savings, by eliminating travel you are able to increase your reach and provide a fully customized and convenient program to your field sales representatives.

Furthermore, 84% of physicians surveyed by the MedData Group in April of 2012, say they would prefer to receive information and education from industry representatives via the internet.

The virtual medium has truly evolved into a multidimensional communication vehicle, and for those of you who are already utilizing the capabilities of WebEx, you really must take a spin around a virtual conference hall.

Imagine if you could build a secure online environment which could showcase the following:

  1. Live or taped surgery with the ability to change your camera angle or choose a 360º view of the operating room
  2. On-Demand Training and Education
  3. Live or Pre-Taped Marketing Presentations
  4. No more estimating when to schedule a product launch based on FDA approval! No travel, no hotels, no problem
  5. Virtual Events Align with Corporate “Green” Strategies
  6. Interactive Hybrid Delivery of Breakout Activities
  7. Metrics – Metrics – Metrics | Let me explain…

The visual and comprehensive front end of these programs is the icing on the cake in my eyes as the back end capabilities revolutionize your ability to capture every detail from those who attend these events.

A digital footprint is captured on all attendees so that you have metrics around who has viewed the virtual event, where they went, and how long they stayed in each area.  Additionally, the attendee is able to download presentations and product brochures as well as reach out directly to the company so that they may connected directly to corporate personnel.

It’s time to evolve and maximize everything the digital frontier has to offer.  Fifteen years ago we did not have a choice in how we could reach our customers and employees.  Now you do!

Where are ALL of the Med-Device Jobs?

The stress is absolutely palpable out there and from where I sit, I am concerned that people are not maximizing all of the new job search tools at their disposal.  Because the economy is in a state of disarray it seems to me that the difficulty people are experiencing when searching for that next opportunity is somehow outside of their control.  Trust me when I say that the opportunities are abundant within the medical device, bio-pharma, and bio-technology space, however the way in which we now find these opportunities has definitely changed.


Sales representatives can continue to utilize recruiters and apply for positions directly through corporate career sites.  That being said, District Managers, Directors and VPs must not expect these traditional methods to yield the same results for us as they did in the past.  We need to evoke the power of our networks and actively focus on our individual brands as opposed waiting for the phone to ring.

LinkedIn affords individuals the ability to expand their networks exponentially, however connecting with your colleagues is not nearly enough.  Based on my experience (and take that for what it’s worth) you should consider doing the following action items:

  1. At least once a week if not more, you should operate as a Medical Device Curator and share a leadership article, industry news, or an open position on your LinkedIn status update.  Sites that I actively review are HBR Blogs, Mass Device, Med City News, and Medical Device Daily.  I also follow all of these sites on Twitter.
  2. Add a short SlideShare to your profile. Five or six slides is actually perfect and it provides an additional “personal commercial” surrounding your background and interests that people will find interesting.
  3. Accept “Invitation to Connect” from other people, even if you do not know them personally.  If someone within our industry wants to connect with you then it would behoove you to expand your network by accepting their invitation.  What is the point of keeping your list small?  This is Social Media and it will work for you if you interact with it!
  4. Do not be afraid of LinkedIn jail.  LinkedIn will forgive you one time if you get a little over exuberant and send out too many unanswered invitations.  Go Big!!  It is actually the only way to really do a mass expansion in a short amount of time.
  5. While you’re at it, don’t be afraid to go after the Big Fish.

Now entrenched with what is going on with your network and the Medical Device Industry you need to get out and work an industry conference for the benefit of introducing people to your brand.  I would venture to guess that you do not meet too many people in your homes that can assist you with finding a job, so go to where the action is.  Activity begets interest and “the early bird gets the worm”!

When I was a kid I hated selling Girl Scout cookies door to door but if I had a friend with me the entire activity was much more fun.  My point, take someone with you who is also actively seeking employment.  The two of you will feed off of each others energy and the entire experience will become ten times more enjoyable.

Now for those of you who are actively seeking a new position, but do not want to broadcast your activity with recruiters to your entire network, turn off the setting that allows your colleagues to see who you are connecting with.  These are steps which you will need to follow:

  1. Click on the drop down arrow next to your “Name” in the top right hand corner of the LinkedIn window and select “Settings“.
  2. Now from your “Account & Settings” page go half way down on the left to where it says: “Profile” and from there you can make changes to the following “Privacy Controls“:
  • Turn on/off your activity broadcasts
  • Select who can see your activity feed
  • Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile
  • Select who can see your connections
  • Change your profile photo & visibility
  • Show/hide “Viewers of this profile also viewed” box

Remember, the game has changed so do not apply the old rules to this new process of finding a job.  Work on your individual brand, eat healthy, work out in the mornings, and expand your skill sets.  Treat this experience as an amazing opportunity afforded to you and good things will happen!

PowerPointarians and Slide-Woobies

Who are PowerPointarians and why I am so frustrated by them?  For more than a decade I have focused on developing and delivering interactive training programs.  I develop PowerPoint decks, in conjunction with the actual interactive training materials, more as a woobie for attendees.  I find that people do not keep these materials after the training event has concluded.  The actual learning process takes place when trainees are actively listening and interacting through learning simulations.

However, PowerPointarians have conditioned trainees to receive PowerPoint decks at the beginning of every presentation.  This activity now evokes an overwhelming Pavlovian response.  In the absence of slides anxiety ensues, therefore I provide attendees with their beloved slide-woobie!

PowerPointarians, please show PowerPoint the same respect that Microsoft has, and no longer invest quality time with this program.  Challenge yourselves to delivering content without the crutch of reading slide, after slide, after slide, to your audience.

With that said, I do believe that there is a place for traditional slide presentations in the strategic business planning process and I have developed a set of style guides you may want to consider when developing a slide presentation.

Clean Visual

Choose only one color in conjunction with a light shade of gray.  Base images should be either black and white or a silhouette against your base color.  Business plans follow a logical process and therefore the pattern I have chosen is geometric and not abstract.

Dark backgrounds are difficult on the eyes and I would recommend always opting for a crisp white background.  Utilizing header and footer frames on each of the interior slides encroaches on valuable slide real-estate so focus on the quality of your content layout and not on the frills and frosting of overly decorative master slides.

Never use clip art!!  PowerPoint comes with sets of Smart-Shapes which adds depth to individual content elements and does not distract from the importance of the information.  I am not advocating boring presentations; the entertainment should come with your individual charismatic personalities in conjunction with an elegant and clean set of slides.

I recommend Ariel as the font.  You want to utilize a font which can be interpreted on every computer that your presentation may need to be viewed on.  I use only one font throughout the entire presentation and its size varies in four separate places:

  1. Slide Heading
  2. Slide Subheading
  3. Base Content
  4. Table Headings

Lastly, I must address those awkward slide transitions that come with those dreaded sound effects.  Just say no!

Step 2 :: Don’t Forget to Use The [#] Hashtag Symbol

Definition: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet.  It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.

I remember when the [#] hashtag was known as the pound key or the number sign and we all long for the days when it was just referred to as a Tic-Tac-Toe board!  However this obscure sign plays a crucial role in social media communication.  One must embrace this key and utilize it on almost every Twitter and Pinterest post.

One of the key ways to grow your social media following organically is through the use of [#] hashtags.  When someone does a topic search on Twitter the computer algorithm is looking for the key-words attached to [#] hashtags.

Hashtags: Categorizing Tweets by Keyword

  • People use the hashtag symbol # before relevant keywords (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search.
  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets in that category.
  • Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end.
  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.

Example:  If you are sending out a tweet of a leadership article from the Harvard Business Review, the two hashtags you might consider using are #leadership and #management.  You could add a [#] hashtag for #HBR but I would prefer to give them props by adding (via @HBR) to the end of my tweet or LinkedIn post.

#FF:  Users created this as shorthand for “Follow Friday,” a weekly tradition where users recommend people that others should follow on Twitter. You’ll see this on Fridays.  I have had someone do a #FF on me and it grew my followers by 25 in one day.

Using Hashtags Correctly:

  • If you Tweet with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Tweet
  • Don’t #spam #with #hashtags. Don’t over-tag a single Tweet.
  • Two [#] hashtags per Tweet is a good recommendation.
  • Use hashtags only on Tweets relevant to the topic.

by visually. Browse more data visualizations.

Embrace the use of hashtags and sit back and watch your list of followers grow!

Step 1 :: Developing Your Personal Brand ~ Twitter

By now everyone has a Facebook account, and I would hope that everyone has a profile set-up on LinkedIn, however you can do much more to develop your personal brand.  Today when you mention Twitter to many individuals they immediately think of Kim Kardashian tweeting meaningless 142 character blurbs at a rate indicative of someone who has nothing better to do with their time (no offense meant towards Kim Kardashian).  The reality could not be farther from the truth.

Twitter is a critical pull through extension connecting you directly to your personal and professional network at large.   The exposure to your personal brand is exponential and you are not limited or restricted by an exclusive (invite only) network.  With that said, Twitter has a rhythm unto itself which is why so many people in business have shied away from it.  Trust me, I know from personal experience.  Below are the steps I took in order to slay the blue feathered beast:

  1. Obtain Your Name as Your Twitter Handle (if you can)
  2. Set-up a Buffer Account
  3. Choose a RSS Feed Aggrigator (Feedly, FeedDemon, Google Reader…)
  4. Download Instapaper for your computer, phone and I-pad
  5. Obtain Flipboard for your I-pad and phone
  6. Use TweetBot as The Twitter Client for Your Phone

When I first became a Vegetarian someone told me to always keep a bag of Tater-Tots in the freezer because they will take the edge off of a fried chicken craving.  Steps 2-4 are your Twitter Tater-Tots!  To begin with you should tweet content which you have curated 10-12 times a day.  This is content you find interesting and you believe others will as well.  I recommend that you review the aggregated content from your RSS feeder in the evening and add your selected articles to the buffer account.  Buffer will then send out your tweets throughout the day so as to keep your Twitter presence active.

Supplement your buffer tweets with a couple RT (re-tweets) from content you browse though on Flipboard.  Send these tweets out over lunch when Twitter activity is at its peak.  You are now up and running on Twitter and you have not sent out one tweet telling the free world what you are eating for breakfast and the rhythm of your day has also been preserved.

Again, you are building your personal brand therefore your Twitter handle should be as close to your own name as possible.  Due to the fact that there are over 3,5oo women named Jennifer Martin I had a dilemma on my hands.  Ultimately I was able to obtain @JenMartinEDU.

Lastly, Facebook is your friends and family circle, LinkedIn is your professional circle and therefore Twitter is an extension beyond those circles.  Follow individuals who have amassed a large following in the areas you’re interested, in addition to key opinion leaders in the market at large.  I select my followers by searching key terms such as mlearning, elearning, leadership… and I enjoy interacting with authors and columnists who I find fascinating.

When developing your list of people or companies to follow, think of individuals which given the opportunity, you would enjoy inviting to your home for an intimate and exclusive dinner party.  Send me a tweet if you found this post helpful!

Twitter Infographic