Sales, Social Media

Time Travel…A Tale of Sales Tool Evolution!

The tools of the [sales] trade have changed remarkably since I began my career 20 years ago.  That fact struck me on a recent business trip to San Diego even harder than the strange weather (It was 30 degrees warmer in Chicago than Southern California – in March!).  On this trip, I got more work done during my flight than I could have done over the course of an entire week 20 years ago.  It was truly like time travel.

Yes, sales tools have changed…Actually, sales tools have been radically transformed over the past 20 years.  Only after the day had ended, when I was eating dinner and reflecting, did I piece together just how amazing the transformation has been.

Here is a summary of the tools that I leveraged.

First, the travel itself.  I booked my trip through Travelocity, managed my trip through Tripit on my iPhone, and boarded the plane (using my mobile boarding pass of course).  In the “old days” this would have called for me collaborating with a travel agent via phone while the agent looked up options on their private terminal.  Then, I would have received physical tickets in the mail, and checked in at the airport to receive physical boarding passes.

On to the research.  I began by  the exploring the backgrounds of the clients with whom I was to meet, literally gathering more information than a team of people could have done over several days in the 1990s.  I accessed bios on each attendee of my meetings via LinkedIn, then accessed breakdowns on their company via and Google Finance.  Finally, I Checked Radian6 and HootSuite for any social media postings by or about them or their company.

Then there was the preparation of meeting materials.  While in the air for the 4 hour flight (which used to be 4 dead hours) I worked on my PowerPoint presentation, connected to the in-flight wi-fi on American Airlines, collaborated with my co-workers via Skype to complete the presentation, then emailed it to my team at the destination.

Suddenly, Radian6, my social media listening tool flagged a newly published article about another key client of mine.  Before I landed in California, I had clipped that article, emailed it with a congratulatory note the my key contacts at this important client, and landed a meeting with their CEO, all of which was neatly and automatically tracked and summarized in my cloud-based CRM system,

On the way to my meeting, I called up the mobile version of on my iphone, downloaded a map to the meeting place, called my contact, and logged a note to remind myself of our conversation.

Amazing.  Nothing short of stunning, really.

In one day, I had leveraged “sales 2.0” tools including:

  1. Wireless internet during a flight: Go-Go in-flight internet on American Airlines (converting 4 dormant hours to productive time)
  2. Cloud-based CRM: and integrated Outlook email
  3. Online intelligence:, Google Finance
  4. Social media: Radian6, HootSuite, and LinkedIn
  5. Mobile solutions: mobile, Google Maps,

This is such a fundamental paradigm shift for someone who began in sales at a time when the fax machine was breaking its own paradigm of physical document delivery (Remember?…”It sends the contracts over the phone lines as data and then re-assembles them on the receiving machine!”).

So, before jumping into your next big day, take a moment to reflect and appreciate the progress we’ve made.

Of course, as a famous time traveler once said,”It’s always a big day tomorrow – I’ve got a time machine; I skip the little ones!” ~The Doctor

Marketing, Sales, Social Media

Are You LinkedIn?

I had the pleasure of co-facilitating a workshop on LinkedIn this week.  There were more than 20 people in the room with varying degrees of familiarity with the LinkedIn platform.  It was a fun event, and we received some great feedback on the usefulness of the tool, particularly for these folks, many of whom are in a job search.

They say you never learn something until you teach it.  What I learned was just how far this platform has come in the past 6 months.  As an early adopter, I sometimes take it for granted.  But seeing it through the eyes of a newcomer really highlighted just how powerful this tool set is.

LinkedIn is:

  • Your Personal website.  It’s (just Google yourself and see)
  • Your LIVING Rolodex (it grows exponentially as you nurture it)
  • A “P [professional] RM” System  (moves with you from job to job)
  • A Social Media Platform  (hooks into Twitter, “like”, “sharing,” etc.)
  • A Database of Corporate Information (“Company” entity added)
  • A Job Posting / Search System (powerful for recruiters /job-seekers)

If you (or anyone you care about) are still not on LinkedIn, you need to get on pronto.  If you are a power user, it’s time to take a look at the new features available to you.   LinkedIn has centralized some very useful training information in a section called “The Learning Center” where you can quickly update your knowledge and skills.

Get to it!

Sales, Social Media

Ode to LinkedIn

LinkedIn has reached 60,000,000 members!  RT @techcrunch: LinkedIn Now 60 Million Strong –

Think about that.  60 MILLION members.  It is even more incredible when you think that these are people connecting regarding their public/professional lives vs. the private/casual users of other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. 

This service is one of the most fundamentally game-changing new tools for professionals.  What did we do without it?  

When I imagine what the first half of my career might have been like if I started out with this tool for helping and leveraging my network of relationships as I began in sales, it makes me want to cry.

But we have it now!


Social Media Policy – Is it Possible? Ask Coca-Cola

Many companies with whom I have worked struggle to get into the game on social media.  Due to engrained habits, they can not see a clear way to add this new dimension to their marketing mix.  Today, it is really not an option.  Conversations about your company are happening out there – period.  The only decision you really have is, “Do I want to participate?”  I would suggest that your answer should be YES!   But that begs the question – what do you do on Monday morning?  How do you really operationalize these media that can be (and should be) much more colloquial than our traditional corporate communications?  Establishing a policy in this area seems a non-starter for many firms.  However, it is happening.  See Coca-Cola’s new social media policy: .  If a global company with 92,000 employees can do this (in 3 pages no less!)  don’t you think your company can swing it?


Hello world – Sales and Marketing Mashup is Here!

I have wanted to do this for some time now – so here goes!  My name is Tim Kocher.  I have been in sales and marketing for my entire 19-year career, most of it for professional services companies.  I hope this blog will become a place where people who are connected to sales and marketing can come to see valuable information on the tricks of the trade (and the trade itself) in one stop.  We’ll touch on all aspects of business development so be sure to come visit often!  Feel free to Look me up on LinkedIn as well: