500 Connections and a Picture, period.

used-car-salesmanI came across this article a few weeks back and it got me thinking about how SEs leverage (or don’t leverage) social media. I’m pretty sure that just about every SE in the world uses LinkedIn, even if it’s just to find out a bit of background about a company before a meeting.

But I know from experience that there is a significant portion–maybe 20% or more–that don’t actively manage their own profiles. The minimum bar for all the reasons mentioned in Keenan’s post are: actively connecting to people, keeping your job history up-to-date, and (yes) a picture.

If you are a librarian or an accountant for example, I don’t see you needing to spend as much effort building an online presence. But, to be frank, if your resume comes across my desk for an SE (read: sales) position, and you don’t have a picture and have only 80 connections, what am I supposed to think about your abilities to represent our company in the best possible light?

And I would argue the above criteria are the absolute minimum bar. As presales we have several possibilities to help build credibility in the minds of both potential employers and our customers:

  • Writing on sales-related topics
  • Writing on technical-related topics
  • Sharing industry news and events
  • Contributing to group discussions
  • Re-sharing company announcements (do this sparingly and only on valuable content)
  • Filling out your accomplishments (certs, technical competencies, courses you’ve completed, etc.)

I generally don’t need a reminder to do this as I’m frequently on LinkedIn and other services for daily business, but if you have a hard time incorporating these into your schedule, put something on your calendar like Friday early afternoon when you typically have office time to spend 20 minutes contributing content.

Some groups to help get you started:

  • Sales Engineering Professionals – https://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=160398&goback=&trk=prof-groups-membership-name
  • Engineers in Sales – https://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2331982
  • Sales Best Practices – https://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=35771
  • Presales Professionals – https://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=64542
  • SE Certification – https://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=3296013
  • Technical Sales Group – https://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=81075

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