Written by Lucy Bielby on Feb. 21, 2018
Whether you are new to Interim Management or are a highly experienced Interim Manager, with the emergence of the gig economy you may have noticed that the competition for assignments is greater than ever before.
This competition combined with the demand for Interim Executives demonstrates that more organisations are seeing the value of hiring an Interim.
Historically, the value of Interim Managers has been misunderstood by a lot of businesses. Yet, our recent Interim survey results have shown that there is more breadth in the sector and size of businesses that now recognise the advantages of using ‘true’ Interim Managers. Experts who can lead and drive change programmes, bringing a wealth of knowledge and ‘know-how’ with them. However, Supply vs Demand can create an increased challenge for individual Interim managers as they are often ‘competing’ for roles with a larger pool of people, which in turn can then lead to longer periods ‘on the bench’ between assignments.
Why do I need a social voice?
Our 2017 survey results showed that 33% of all respondents obtained their last role either via a provider or the client directly. So, the approach to obtaining a new assignment should be multi-channel in order to create as much ‘noise’ as possible.
In a world that is being impacted by constant technological innovation, now more than ever I would advocate that you are selling your services directly to clients, as well as working with a few specialist providers such as ourselves.
I am sure you will have seen not only our own blogs, but also those from peers or previous colleagues that have become increasingly popular. With the increase in traffic on social platforms such as LinkedIn, it has become easier than ever to have a social voice and be a thought leader.
How do you achieve this?
Below is a simple process for how to get started using content and social selling in a both a cost and time efficient way.
Step 1 – Define your target audience
To market your Interim services successfully, you should start by defining who you are going to target. Like any business, you need to understand who will ‘buy’ your services and understand the behaviours of these individuals. As well as their pain points and what you have to offer which will be of value for them. Marketers refer to this as a 'buyer persona', which is like a holistic view of an audience; it is key to ensuring that your marketing cuts through the noise and is highly relevant.
Often, I see even experienced executives who are heavily networked with people within the same function as them, but not with the executives who hire people like them- which makes no sense! Whilst you might have a strong network within your own discipline, it is unlikely your peer group will hire your services.
Step 2 – Connect
Wherever possible you should aim to connect to your target audience using a mutual connection / recommendation.
Once you are engaged and in dialogue, you can start to form a mutually beneficial relationship that may develop into a sales opportunity. But be careful not to try and monetise these relationships too early – in the current sales world generosity of time and value add is key.
Step 3 – Produce content
Once connected to your target audience (although I always think this is something that should be done continuously) you need to start creating content that focuses on providing solutions to your audience’s pain points.
Consistency of output is key here, as is relevancy of what you are producing. You are your own business / brand and I always recommend that you think who you are as well as what you stand for.
At EO Executives, we talk regularly about having your ‘blog filters open’ which is to say that whenever you are reading, talking or watching, you should be asking yourself “is there a blog idea to be had here?”
As well as writing your own blogs it is smart to curate others work and share thought leaders content with your network, clearly crediting them along the way. Send your content directly to your target audience and give yourself a target of how many social posts you will share weekly. You can either do this as you go or invest a small amount of money in a tool like HootSuite or Buffer, which allows you to bulk schedule posts to go out through the week. Just remember to write about what is interesting to your audience, not just what’s interesting to you. Keeping your brand values front of mind.
Step 4 – Take the relationship offline
Look out for target clients liking or sharing your content. Once you have been able to add value and develop the relationship, you could be ready to take it offline. Once in front of a potential client you can solidify the relationship and look to identify pain you can solve with your services. Remember that you are offering a professional service and whilst networking is important always value your product – you!
The key to success is to start early and be consistent. Content marketing and social selling are more of a slow burn, so if you wait until you are on the market to start publishing and connecting, it will likely be too late. In a world that is moving at pace around us, it is key to be an early adopter as opposed to a laggard.
Do not start this when you are looking for the next assignment, instead aim to publish frequent blogs (or push it to a vlog if you're feeling creative) and actively network and build LinkedIn connections on the go. Keep an eye out for connections that comment, like or share your posts and engage with them as well as the wider community. In this era reciprocity is the key to cultivating meaningful online relationships.