Tool vs Result: Reflections


Remember there is a difference between the tool and the result.  Keep your eyes & efforts on the outcomes that matter.

This morning, I was prompted to ask why it is that some of the worst users of Linkedin are Linkedin marketing service providers. I had to report a user yesterday who was from a Linkedin marketing organisation, had a poorly constructed profile that looked like a fake and responded to my decline of their invitation by immediately sending a second vanilla invitation. If your goal is to show people how well you use Linkedin, sending spam is hardly the best showcase of the service. Yes spam will get you a lot of hits on Linkedin, but it won’t win you the business or the reputation you need to grow.

Last week, I was discussing with friends the number of salespeople who pitch their product in the first conversation. These are specialists at building relationships who have confused the pitch with the sale and the relationship that follows. We have seen Glengarry Glen Ross and we know our ABCs. However, real relationship building is not that hard. If you want to build a relationship with someone, build a relationship first about something valuable to them. Make a contribution eg ‘I saw you asking about this topic and I thought you’d be interested in this study/post/thread. Happy to discuss’ It takes five minutes of study here to find that topic & value in our connected social world. If you have to mention your product in the first contact then, then a relationship is not going to happen unless they happen to be searching for your product at that moment (less than 0.5% of cases). Who wants to send 200 spam messages in an hour to get one reply & a lot of aggravated connections, when ten thoughtful notes in a hour will build five connections.

A week ago there were furious debates in the Microsoft Office365 Customer Community about this article from Laurence Lock Lee on the need to ensure that adoption measures aren’t distorting the outcomes of an enterprise social network community. When the confusion cleared from that debate we all saw the need to continue to remind people that adoption measures are a tool of strategic value creation. Yes adoption measures are measurable and actionable.  They may help a community manager to know that there is an issue. However, they are not the outcome that businesses seek.

In a world that values actionable data as a tool, we must remember that data at best is a clue that something is going on. Correlation is not always causation. The simple and obvious may not always be so. Some times the biggest mysteries are also the biggest gains in value. We often need to dig deeper to understand exactly what is going on and what response is required to make our businesses perform better and to realise our purpose.

Management is a tough challenge in a competitive market. Don’t make it harder by confusing the tool and the result.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s