Starting from Scratch - How to Grow in a New Role

Starting from Scratch - How to Grow in a New Role

A few months ago, I met with a sales rep who was new to his role and his industry in general. 

He felt stuck. 

He knew that he didn’t want to try cold-calling his way to meeting quota, but he wasn’t sure how to start leveraging digital strategy effectively while still being so fresh in the role and lacking fundamental industry knowledge. 

And I felt for him. Over the years, I've had new employees who needed to work through this process. Creating thought leadership content is tough when new to a role, especially in a new industry. By definition, you can’t be a thought leader without valuable thoughts to share.

In this week’s Sell with Social, we’ll discuss what to do when starting from scratch. This could apply to you as you transition in your career, or maybe this will help you onboard a new team member.

Let’s dive in!

A Roadmap For Success

The key to achieving results is being intentional with your actions and strategy. As overwhelming as it may seem, breaking your growth into smaller milestones is a great way to create momentum.

I suggested growing the sales rep's activity through 30-day, 90-day, and 6-month milestones. And in this post below, I’ll expand on my suggestions.

First 30 Days: Laying the Foundation

Shadow Meetings - Dive into the action right away by joining every customer-facing call possible. Your goal here is to listen and learn. Pay close attention to the questions customers ask, the challenges they face, and how your co-workers address these issues. This will give you firsthand insight into the real problems your customers are dealing with and how your company’s solutions are being positioned. It’s a fast-track way to understand the industry’s pain points and the language used by both customers and colleagues.

Follow Thought Leaders - Next, immerse yourself in the thought leadership of your industry. Identify and follow key influencers who are already posting valuable content online. A simple way to find these individuals is by looking at who speaks at industry events or who has authored books on relevant topics. Once you’ve found them, follow their social media accounts and start engaging with their content. This not only helps you stay updated with the latest trends and discussions but also starts building your network and presence in the industry.

Andy Crestodina is a must-follower thought leader for anybody in digital marketing.

Update Your Profile - Your digital presence is your modern-day business card. Create a compelling elevator pitch that clearly states what you do, who you do it for, and how people can work with you. Update your LinkedIn headline, about section, and experience section to reflect this pitch. Your profile should serve as a landing page that speaks directly to your prospective customers, showcasing your understanding of their needs and your readiness to help solve their problems.

These initial steps are crucial for setting a solid foundation. By actively learning from real customer interactions, absorbing wisdom from industry leaders, and refining your online presence, you’ll quickly start building your knowledge and credibility in your new role and industry.

First 90 Days: Building Confidence and Presence

Lead Meetings - As you move into the next phase, it’s time to start taking the lead in customer and prospect meetings. Begin to step in for your co-workers and guide the discussions. While you might not have all the answers yet, this is your opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired over the past couple of months. Leading these meetings will not only build your confidence but also establish you as a proactive player in the eyes of your customers and colleagues.

Engage Online - Start to make your presence known online. Begin by sharing your thoughts through comments on posts from industry leaders and peers. This practice helps you engage with the community, show your growing expertise, and start conversations. Thoughtful comments can lead to deeper discussions, new connections, and increased visibility within your industry.

Create Long-Form Content - Creating a piece of long-form content, such as a blog post or a LinkedIn article, is a powerful way to demonstrate your understanding and start educating your audience. Choose a basic topic that you feel comfortable explaining and dive deep into it. This content should serve as a resource for others, showcasing your ability to provide value and insight. It also helps you establish your voice and thought leadership within the industry.

By the end of the first 90 days, you should be actively contributing to customer interactions, engaging with your online community, and starting to build a repository of educational content. These efforts will significantly enhance your credibility and position you as a growing expert in your field.

First 6 Months: Establishing Expertise and Driving Growth

Create a Persona - By now, you’ve had the opportunity to work with a variety of customers. It’s time to leverage this experience by creating a detailed persona. Review your top customers and identify common characteristics such as name, location, title, and their purchasing behaviors. Understand their challenges, needs, and motivations. This persona becomes your focal point for content creation, ensuring your efforts are targeted and relevant to your ideal customer.

Create Consistent Content - Consistency is key to building a strong online presence. Commit to creating and sharing content 3-5 times a week. Focus on addressing common questions and topics that are pertinent to your role and industry. Your content should aim to educate, inform, and engage your audience, gradually positioning you as a trusted expert. Whether it’s short posts, articles, or videos, regular content creation will help you stay top-of-mind with your audience.

Create a Lead Magnet - To drive top-of-funnel growth, work with your team to develop a lead magnet, such as a webinar or live event. This could be something you host or co-host with a subject matter expert from your team. The goal is to provide valuable insights and solutions that attract a larger audience and build a qualified pipeline. These events not only generate leads but also allow you to showcase your expertise and engage with potential customers on a deeper level.

Our social selling planner is an example of a lead magnet.

By the end of the first six months, you should have a well-defined customer persona, a steady stream of valuable content, and a lead magnet strategy in place. These efforts will solidify your position as a knowledgeable and trusted expert, driving both your personal brand and your company’s growth.

Other Considerations for a Growth Strategy

As you develop your digital sales strategy, it’s important to consider elements that go beyond the foundational steps. These additional considerations will help you refine your approach, ensuring long-term success and sustained growth.

Personal Brand - It’s crucial to infuse your personality into your posts. Don’t just be a mouthpiece for your company's marketing messages. Developing your personal brand involves sharing your unique insights, experiences, and voice. This authenticity helps build a genuine connection with your audience, making you more relatable and memorable.

Determine Your Goals - Clearly defining your goals is essential for a focused strategy. Are you aiming to drive sales, increase exposure, or recruit talent? Each goal will shape your content and engagement approach. Regardless of the specific objectives, building a robust audience is a common thread that supports all these goals. Tailor your efforts to ensure your activities align with your desired outcomes.

Never Stop Growing - Adopt the mindset of continuous improvement: Learn > Do > Teach. This cycle creates a thought leadership flywheel, where your ongoing learning informs your actions, and your experiences become valuable lessons you can share with others. By consistently evolving and educating, you solidify your status as a thought leader, driving further growth and influence.

By considering these additional aspects, you'll not only enhance your digital sales strategy but also ensure sustained growth and relevance in your industry.

For this week’s challenge, I want you to think about your digital growth strategy. You are likely not completely new to your role. However, maybe there are aspects of your strategy that could use a fresh approach. Or, maybe you are onboarding a new employee that you can coach.

Consider where you are in the strategy and pick a few of the items above to focus on. Below are three ideas to get you started:

  1. Engage with Three Thought Leaders: Find three new thought leaders in your industry and leave thoughtful comments on their recent posts. This will help you start meaningful conversations and expand your network.
  2. Create and Share One Long-Form Post: Write a blog post or LinkedIn article on a topic you’ve learned about recently. Share it with your audience to showcase your growing expertise.
  3. Host a Mini-Webinar or Live Q&A: Organize a short, 15-minute live session or Q&A on a common question or topic in your industry. This can help you engage directly with your audience and provide immediate value.

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