Building Your Own Personal Advisory Board

- - Leadership

I’d recommend to anyone–no matter where they are in their career–that they find a diverse group of mentors and assemble a personal advisory board for themselves. This is especially important when you’re just starting out. You need people that are invested in your career and your success that aren’t your parents. But be prepared to work hard and give something back. Mentoring is a two way street.

When I was in college I found two mentors for myself. I really wasn’t looking for mentors; I was looking to meet people that could help me get a job. Instead, I discovered the value of mentoring, and I’ve had many more mentors throughout my career.

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My Metric for Success

- - Leadership

#MyMetric for Success: Engagement

As a sales leader, my professional life is filled with quotas, metrics and dashboards. But if I had to pick just one thing I’m optimizing for, it would be engagement. Why? Because I’ve learned that engagement is the leading indicator for success with whatever else you’re optimizing to achieve.

Early in my career, I was always optimizing for percentage of quota attained, which is a typical sales metric and usually tied to your compensation. Although I wasn’t insightful enough at the time to recognize it, my level of engagement with a prospect was usually a good indicator of the likelihood of making a sale. If a prospect was asking questions, working through their process, showing increased understanding and asking more questions, those were all signs of engagement. It took me a while to see the value of that.

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The hottest role in business today: Data Analyst

The hottest role in #MyIndustry right now, or any industry, is that of data analyst. Businesses today have access to more data from more sources than ever, and there is a huge need for people who can get insights from data in order to make decisions that will help drive innovation and profitability.

Back in 2012, the Harvard Business Review called data scientist “the sexiest job of the 21st century.” At the same time, there is a well-documented global shortage of data scientists. Not every company can have a data scientist, or needs one. Technology innovation is bringing a lot of data science functions out of the realm of PhDs and putting them within reach of ordinary business users. These days, whatever your actual job title is, you also need to be a data analyst.

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The most important skill needed to become more strategic: Patience

- - Leadership, Sales

I’ve read several blog’s under LinkedIn Pulse #SkillsGap series focused on skills that people are acquiring or refining this year and thought I’d add one more to the list.

If I could acquire one skill, it would be patience. Everybody laughs when I say that. They are probably laughing at me, not with me, because in my informal skills gap poll of work colleagues and family members, everyone was in agreement. There was no hesitation.

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Payments: The last mile of online customer intimacy

When it comes to online commerce, the point at which money changes hands has often been the moment a sale falls apart. What was a carefully crafted brand experience becomes off-putting and complicated. There are confusing redirects, forms that clash with the rest of the design, and a lot of sensitive data that needs to be entered.

But that’s now changing, and fast. Innovative companies have stepped up their game, using technologies that make a much easier payment experience possible. That in turn is changing consumer expectations about what a payment transaction should be like. You now need to bring your payments experience up to this new standard, or risk getting beaten by competitors who do.

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