Last week, Enfusen traveled to Orlando, Florida to attend the Microsoft World Partner Conference. Attracting over 25,000 partners from across the globe, this conference was very beneficial to us as we spoke to partners across the world about our sales and marketing automation program. After our successful beta program in FY15, we are very excited to be launching our new Microsoft Marketing Accelerator Program for Microsoft Partners.
Networking effectively with colleagues and potential clients was key at this event, as we wanted to spread the word to as many people as possible to grow the program and help partners with their sales and marketing automation.
No matter what profession you find yourself in, building and maintaining your network is extremely important, regardless of your business goals. Networking can take place anywhere; at a large event such as WPC, or at a social gathering. Keep in mind these tips when you meet a new face to ensure a key first impression and a lasting relationship.
Most of the time, taking a business card is not enough. Particularly at a large scale event such as WPC, you will have a hard time remembering ‘who’s who’ after you get home and face a pile of business cards. Upon taking the card, make notes on the card, or a notepad. Include details such as a notable feature about that person, a nickname, and most importantly, details about the conversation and when to follow up.
Often the most basic signs of respect and kindness are overlooked when meeting new people. Make it a point to give a firm handshake, look the person in the eyes, and flash a smile when you meet someone. Not only is this courteous, but helps build trust and conveys your professionalism.
People in your network may not have jobs to offer or be the perfect candidate to buy your product/service, but they will have valuable advice to share, stories about their career paths, and their own network that you are now a part of. Building a network of diverse professionals is equally as important as networking with target customers. You NEVER know how someone could be of help to you or a colleague in the long run; don’t brush them off just because something isn’t in it for you.
You will be asked the mundane questions of “Tell me about yourself?” or “What do you do?” more than once, guaranteed. A 30 second elevator pitch is key to have prepared before any networking event. Include points such as where you work/position, where your company is located, what your position entails, and your areas of specialty. Keep your elevator pitch short and sweet, and ensure they it conveys authentically who you are as a professional.
What you do after a networking engagement is arguably more important than actual interactions at the event. Post-event follow up can include several methods of outreach depending on the nature of the event and relationship. It is typically appropriate to connect with the person on LinkedIn, and include a personal message. If you had discussed that you would reach out to them, follow through in a timely manner. Shoot them an email the next day to begin maintaining that relationship, and building your network.
Don’t be scared to let your hair down and enjoy meeting new people. I encourage you to interact with professionals outside of your areas of work, and ask questions that will prompt conversation and dig a little deeper (avoid yes or no questions) and avoiding dead end. Happy networking!
For more information on the Microsoft Marketing Accelerator Program and to get your personalized marketing grade, click the link below!