What an honor to be asked to speak to the Computer Futures Dell Women’s Group. Breaking the Glass Ceiling’s Elizabeth Lam gathered a fantastic moderator Stephanie Herrera, along with panelists Lysa Miller and Meshell Baker, to help the women of Dell network to get ahead while working from home.
Good topic right? How do we switch from casual in-office and off-hours elbow-rubbing to a social-distanced networking strategy? (Goodness, imagine how weird it will feel to one day soon ACTUALLY touch another human’s elbow outside your family!?)
Turns out, much of our advice is the same. It just takes a BIT more confidence to reach out when you didn’t just bump into each other in the office break area.
How to reach out:
If you’re targeting a peer (we spent more than a few minutes discussing how your peers will raise you up in a company), go with a compliment, an offer to help, and some authenticity.
Hey Katie, It’s Lauren over on Jo’s team in sales. I overheard your name in a meeting last week (saying great things of course) and wanted to make a personal connection. I admire your work so much. Want to do a virtual coffee later this month?
Hi Katie, I work in the sales department and in truth, I’m a fan of yours. I don’t know a lot of women outside my small bubble and I hope we can connect and find ways to help each other. Virtual lunch next week?
What neither of these do is start with what I WANT (like most LinkedIn sales connections, right)? Be the person trying to add value to their network rather than trade it for a fast sale. Also, neither said a specific way you can help Katie (we had questions about this… how can I help Katie? Doesn’t matter, just lead with your intent to do so somehow if you can).
When networking up to a boss, an executive, etc, compliments still pay. Mention an article, a comment, anything from his or her body of work and you are automatically in the top 10% of connections. Now go further to try and add value – an article, an introduction, even something funny. Reaching out and making the effort to do more than be a LinkedIn connection differentiates you. What prevents you is fear.
We all feel small compared to someone else out there. Like this:
“Who am I to reach out to Jill Konrath? She’s a big-time author and probably super busy and I’m just a small business owner. What could I ever do to help her?”
OK, I admit, that one was me. So I emailed her to ask her to get involved with #GirlsClub because I was a coward. She replied and told me to call her. She gave me advice. We talked like girlfriends. She spoke at RiseUp. Next, we shared a drink in an airport and now a big hug every time we can. Not everyone asks… not everyone tries to give back… not everyone is YOU.
Example two from the reverse angle: I meet a few hundred women every year speaking for and training for #GirlsClub and Factor 8. (OK, maybe a few thousand these days). I can count on one hand the number who have gone past a LinkedIn connection to email or text. Several are SDR-level folks, several are SVP-level folks. Some I absolutely now cherish as friends. Wouldn’t have happened had one of us not reached out to build something authentic. It’s like making friends back in school but with the wisdom that social stratum (like titles) are crap. Feel a connection? Make a friend.
So reach out. Like this:
Loved what you said on our “All Hands Call” about the new strategy and being long-term partners with our clients. So happy to have you on board as our new CRO! I’m Jill over on Mike Finsel’s team in the Marketing division. Ever need a street-level perspective, just let me know!
Boom, network built. Now ask a question next month and send something valuable the month after. Volunteer for a project that reports up to Ted. Relationship built!
Finally, we talked about the importance of differentiating between a network connection, an advocate, and a mentor.
Since the above was more “networking,” let’s go right to the latter two:
A mentor is a long-term relationship typically outside your current workplace who is giving you their time and wisdom to help you in your career (and personal!) development. The wise adviser or sage.
An advocate is someone who delivers your best-case-scenario sound bite when you aren’t in the room.
Wait. Sound bite? Glad you asked.
Here’s the hard truth: hiring decisions, award decisions, promotion decisions, project decisions (you getting the theme here) nearly always include at least one closed-door discussion of leaders talking about candidates.
I know, we wish it was all a numbers-based objective computer-generated probability score where we are all treated equally. As much as companies put processes and guidelines in place, a leader is always going to talk it out with another.
Our advocate speaks for us in this room. She is high enough to be consulted and invited into the room and has enough knowledge about us to make our 2-sentence sound bite actually informative and for our benefit. Let me show you the difference:
Without an Advocate:
HIRING BOSS: “What do you think of Amy for the position?”
OTHER LEADER: “Amy? She’s the new BDR leader right? Long brown hair and adorable dog in the background? Came from Infor? Not sure, seems pretty capable. Sharp.
With an Advocate:
HIRING BOSS: “What do you think of Amy for the position?”
OTHER LEADER: “Amy? She’s the new BDR leader right? Long brown hair. . .
ADVOCATE: “I know Amy. I’m impressed with her ability to get things done and quickly. Did you know she more than tripled our results last year? She’s in it for the long term and a solid choice. She gets it.”
Now you want one of these right? Smart. By the way, you might not call your advocate an advocate. Your company might call them mentors. When recruiting a mentor / advocate inside your company, treat it the same as if recruiting a peer, but you are asking for their input and time vs. coffee. Like this:
Hi Kira, this is Kaylee in the Marketing Department. We met last week on the XYZ call, and I’ve been a huge fan of your work since joining Dell 3 years ago. I admire how you speak out in calls and bring a totally fresh perspective to planning meetings. Although I already benefit from working with you, I wonder if you’d be open to us working even closer? I’m searching for a mentor who will work with me once every month or two to help me reach my goal of one day being CEO. What do you think?
There are a million things to customize in here to make it your own voice, but let me tell you from experience that a note like this is hard to ignore.
And if you ARE ignored, you assume it’s an oversight and you reach out again! No response again you call the admin to assure your messages got through and then maybe rethink if he/she is the right fit anyway! (Surely they’re swamped. Try your #2 choice or wait a quarter and ask again).
Top tips to get started with a mentor (or advocate playing mentor):
- You schedule EVERYTHING and do all the lifting – follow up emails, agendas, reschedules, video links… you get it.
- Learn her or his story first and ask 1-2 advice questions that relate to their journey. Then explain your goals and dreams and what you hope to accomplish together.
- Go-forward meetings be ready with questions, scenarios, needs, etc.
- NEVER miss, be late, cancel last minute, or no-show. Grrrr…
I loved all the advice our panel had to share about how to get it done, but mostly I just appreciated the nudge to get out of my little bubble and do more networking for my career. COVID has made it both harder and easier – let’s look on the bright side of an even playing field and face-to-face without the plane fare or conference invite.
Now get out there and meet some people!
Month 1 of Summer Camp is in the books! If you’re new here, Summer Camp is #GirlsClub’s free 3-month sample of our program and an extension for our Generation 2 graduates who lost the chance to connect with their co-participants and mentors at our in-person finale conference
(now pushed to 2021 with tickets available now!).
So we opened enrollment with the help of our sponsor LevelEleven by Ascent Cloud and, holy COW, did we get enrollment. Our 50-person cohort jumped to over 400. And we added 15 new countries (and a few timezone challenges).
Like our 6-month certification program, each month of Summer Camp includes sales management skill training, confidence building sessions, live thought leader sessions, and networking.
Our management skill this month was “Own Your Day”, a custom time-management, prioritization, and delegation training for busy sales managers. This was a crowd favorite from Generation 1 and 2 graduates, so we repeated it for Summer Camp – but with a twist. In addition to the interactive e-learning in The Sales Bar and activities to do back on the job, our live training session was led by three aspiring sales gurus and Generation 2 graduates, Katie Ray, Priya V, and Lindsay Dentico . With over 100 attendees, they did an awesome job of getting feedback, comments, and interaction from our crowd. Participants also received our rep-version of the course for their teams (or themselves, for our active sellers and aspiring leaders).
Our live thought leader session was led by the fabulous #GirlsClub thought leader Jenna Jehowski. The course, Create Energy and Generate Success, helps you discover your energetic style and how it impacts your effectiveness as a leader.
For networking this month, we onboarded the crew to our private Slack channel where we quickly found incredible intros, old friends, and lots of awesome sub groups – by role, by location, and by industry. Incredible to see the caliber of women in this group.
July also boasted a great bonus-content opportunity for #GirlsClub and our extended community. Our public webinar on “Having Difficult Conversations” had over 400 attendees. Using the Factor 8 COACHN model as a base, our incredible panelists brought best practices, a few horror stories, and even a rocking roleplay example of how it’s done. Thank you to:
Shianne Sampson, VP of Sales & Customer Experience at PetDesk in San Diego
Wendy Mitchell-Covington, National Vice President of Sales Success at TriNet
Brenda Roper, VP, Global Sales Enablement at Thomson Reuters based in Minneapolis
Natalie Severino is the VP of Marketing for our Chorus.ai..
We loved the tips and insights – check out the replay or the follow-up Q&A our panel provided!
Finally, we kicked off our networking pods. What’s that you ask? Here’s the scoop. With over 400 participants, we had a massive mentor shortage. In our full certification program, each “protege” is paired with a high-performing sales leader mentor. Mentors have between 3 and 15 years of experience leading sales teams and work in a different company. Truly the heart of our program, for many it’s the first time they’ve talked with a high-ranking female in sales. Yes, we have incredible male mentors as well, but I’ll tell you the women go FAST!
With the goal of helping all levels of #GirlsClub expand their network and make true connections, we assigned multiple proteges and mentors to pods of around seven. A mini “mastermind group”, our pods afford a more intimate setting where ladies will get to know each other, discuss content, and bring their challenges. With over 50 active pods, we have women building networks across 10 time zones!
Asking for a promotion is hard and scary – no joke. So often we want to ask for a promotion but don’t know how. We can be scared that our boss isn’t going to see us as successful, or as prepared for that role as we do. Or, we’re scared that our boss will say NO.
Thirty minutes ago we closed our 90-person zoom #GirlsClub Generation 2 Finale Celebration.
I’m incredibly proud of the work the women and men did this year in our 6-month virtual cohort, scan below for some incredible stats, standouts, and spotlights.
“I never asked!”
Margaret Arakawa, CMO at Outreach shared a phenomenal story at her company’s “Gals in Sales” event in Seattle. In her previous role at Microsoft, she was asked to interview candidates to be her new boss. But halfway through the process, she realized, “I can do this job.”
Have you heard? Last week during AA-ISP’s Leadership Summit in Chicago, we announced that we are accepting applications for our next sales management development program, kicking off this September.
Meet Carrie Jeffrey, Account Development Manager at 360Insights. I had the honor of meeting Carrie last month at the Unleash conference in San Diego. She attended the #GirlsClub Women in Sales breakfast where I learned of her unconventional journey to sales leadership. I was inspired by her courage and confidence and excited when she agreed to share her story with our community. Enjoy!
Patti Baumgartner joined #GirlsClub as a Protege this year and we are thrilled to have her! She has immersed herself in the the program and has really stood out during our live training sessions. She is quick to share her experience and application of the skills being learned and multiple proteges have commented on how helpful she has been during and outside of the live trainings.
Rise Up is an intimate two day event designed for the individual that wants more, that believes in a better tomorrow and values empowering others. Our amazing lineup of speakers will inspire you to re-think what is possible, challenge you to grow, and give you the actionable steps to help you become a better sales leader.