The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed. - William Gibson
I got to work Danella when we ran a course on entrepreneurship at the University of Asia and the Pacific a few years ago. It was the first attempt at running a Lean LaunchPad in the Philippines. Lean LaunchPad is the ground-breaking hands-on entrepreneurial program from the renowned author, entrepreneur and Stanford educator Steve Blank.
It turns out this involvement with the cutting edge is something habitual for Danella. There are many co-working spaces now, but a few years ago, you only had co.lab—which Danella co-founded—and a few others. In her new role at Bridge, she works with a team whose sales tech stack would not be out of place in a Silicon Valley startup.
Let me share some things I learned from Danella—both the innovative practices and the timeless sales principles she follows.
Content Marketing has been one of the biggest buzzwords in online marketing for the past few years. At its root, though, it is as classical as any sales technique. Content marketing is about giving first before asking. It is about educating and earning trust first before closing.
Despite its simplicity, I have seen very few Philippine companies with an impressive execution of content marketing. Creating content requires deep knowledge of your audience, skill in content creation, and plain hard work. Distribution of content requires an understanding of the online platforms your audience reside in. It requires testing, measurement and iteration.
To me, only one Philippine company that comes to mind when it comes to content marketing: Full Suite, a provider of business services. They created content valuable for their target market—business owners—and had systematic content distribution and clear entrances to their sales funnel. Danella was and is their Managing Director. She shared that they worked with Spiralytics, one of the top digital agencies based in the Philippines but operating worldwide.
I have a couple of take-aways from this: 1) All seemingly new sales and marketing tactics are rooted in classic principles, rooted in human nature. 2) Paving a new path always has its rewards and risks. Like Danella, you would want to have a great team working with you.
I have talked to hundreds of sales teams in the past few years. I'm from a generation that grew up with the web, so I'm always surprised how some B2B sales teams still brave the traffic of Metro Manila, and do cold door-to-door prospecting.
I have met Danella's sales team through The Science of Sales Philippines. They take full advantage of modern prospecting, mostly through Linkedin. Like most complex B2B selling in the Philippines, they still need to go to the field and build relationships face-to-face. However, they have greatly reduced the grind of reaching the right prospects and breaking that initial ice, using modern prospecting tools.
Sales Recruitment for a Generation Reared with American Idol
In the Philippines, and in many other countries, you still see the old churn-and-burn sales recruitment approach. Get a volume of applicants, throw them in the sales pit or the field, and just wait and see who sinks and who swims.
This is why I made a little fist-pump when I saw the first sales recruitment campaign clearly designed for the generation that grew up with Pilipinas Got Talent, The Ultimate Fighter, and The Voice. The poster appeared both in my Linkedin and Facebook streams. It was a well designed invitation to a sales bootcamp. It was obvious that the program would attract ambitious young people who want to master their craft. The bootcamp was also a clever entry point to a recruitment funnel. It is a beautiful win-win strategy: the participants get hands-on sales training, including those who will not convert into a recruit, and the company gets a self-selecting group that wants to take on challenges and continuously hone their skills.
Guess who was on that poster? Yep, Danella again, living in the future.