Hubspot CRM and Systematic Approach to Networking Proved to Be the Winning Combination

“In 2016, I was one of the co-founders of Talkus, a helpdesk solution in Slack.
We had invested time, money and energy in the project. We had gone through the amazing experience of being incubated for three months in San Francisco. Over 150 customers use
Talkus every day and they love it. We were actually generating revenues but unfortunately, it is still too early for three paid management positions. We agreed that my partners stayed on board and continue the adventure., and I would move on. Letting it go wasn’t easy.

It is such an exhilarating ride! It came down to a personal decision between full-time employment and consulting. But tapping into my corporate experience as director of marketing for KDS,  a software company in the travel industry for 14 years, it became clear to me where I was headed. The result? Read on!

 

10- Seek Advice

I decided to tackle this job search exactly as I would have planned a marketing campaign.

 

Strategy:

Gathering intel

I selected 5 contacts I considered friendly, mentors, and advisors and sought their guidance. How did they see me? My strength and weaknesses? What had they done when they had to look for a job? How did they react to my story? Whom should I reach out to?

Doing this early was important as being totally objective about yourself is hard.

Tactics:
Facetime

I strongly advise meeting people face to face at that stage. When friends agree to spend time helping you, show your consideration and see them in person if this is feasible. That’s what I’ve done with Mike. I drove 45mn to have lunch with him. In less than an hour, Mike provided me with his direct feedback. I was able to test my story and learned from his own experience. Mike opened his network and gave me valuable tips. He also helped me expressed what role and company I was looking for. I left him energized, ready to take on the world.

 

9 – Learning Journal

Strategy:
Friends for a Reason

 

Asking for feedback and advice can be difficult at times. You need to develop self-awareness and active listening skills. Be open to change and swallow your pride.

Look at this time between jobs as an amazing opportunity to develop yourself and to invest in relationships with others that you may not have time for when working. Spend more time with your partner, your kids, visit friends and family. Enjoy this time off as it won’t last!

Tactics:
Dear Diary….

This is a perfect time to start a learning journal. Make a habit to jot down everyday ideas and knowledge gathered from people you’ve met and from yourself. How could you have conducted a meeting differently? What worked, what didn’t. And then use your journal to gain new skills.

 

8- Self-Improvement Books

Strategy:
Quality over Quantity

Countless books have been written on job hunting. If you are like me, most self-improvement books end up pretty much unopened in my library… Being at that time in my life between jobs, contemplating an ocean of possibility seemed however as the perfect time to indulge in a buying spree of this kind of literature!

Use the feedback from the discussions you have had and the journal you kept to focus your readings on the critical things you need to improve for a successful job search. Use that time to develop new skills and competences that will be important in your next role.
No exception to the rule though…
I was recommended two books: my friend David at Startup Grind in Princeton highly recommended Rites of Passage by John Lucht.
I must say that I used its insight a lot. My wife Chantal, an HR executive, recommended Change your Questions, Change your Life by Marilee Adams. Again that’s another book everyone should read!

Tactics:
Shut Up and Listen

My loving spouse’s smart message: You are not expected to know it all but you are expected to ask your way to the solution.
But she wisely left it to the author, to deliver this universal message to me.

 

7- Storytelling

 

Nailing the story you tell when speaking about yourself is essential. The words you use and the skills you stress should match with your audience, the role and industry you target. I wrote my story, I recorded myself reading it. Then I made it mine so that I would sound natural telling it.

The story I told covered everything I wanted to highlight on the roles I was looking for, my personal and professional background and achievement. My career moves were logical and leading to one another resulting in the strong leader and professional I am.

 

6- Profile and Pitch

Once my story was ready I had done half of the work. I was clear about the role and type of companies I was targeting and I was clear about my motivations.

Writing my pitch and my profile was now easier.

Don’t hesitate to find an editor. No one gets it perfect the first time. That’s one thing I learned from my journalism days: even the best writers call on editors to review, proof and improve their work. I solicited my friends Natja Igney, a communication expert, and Laurent, a marketing executive. Both provided me with spot-on improvement suggestions. I was ready to contact my network.

 

Digital Profiles

Before letting the world know that I was for hire (well, not in THAT sense….), I still had one last thing to do: making sure all my profiles were up to date and coherent.

I used the same professional profile photo, the same background picture, and the same profile description across all network. I carefully review my Linkedin Profile.
Rebecca, an Executive HR consultant helped me understand what hiring professionals looked for. The headline under your name is prime real estate, one of the most important areas of your profile. Be careful when vetting people into your Linkedin network. You want to build a network of people with job titles similar or higher than the position you are aiming for. Make sure that you have recent recommendations from respected executives. Overall your Linkedin profile and network must demonstrate your reach in the industry where you want to work. If 90 percent of your network is from a single country you will have a hard time pretending to be an international executive…

 

5- The Tools

It is now time to get the ball rolling. You are going to send email, call and meet people. You will need to log all your activities and to remember many follow-ups. Corporate sales teams use a CRM solution to achieve this and you too can get the same level of automation, for free!

I used Hubspot, a sales and marketing automation solution. The CRM is free and provides amazing customizable features such as pipeline’s stage editing and complete email and website tracking to name but a few.

 

I uploaded my Linkedin contacts to Hubspot. Created several email templates.

I used one template to request a 20-minute meeting. There, I used elements of the pitch and story I had worked on (Step 4 – 3) to clearly describe my profile, and what I was expecting from the meeting. I stated my next step: I will call you in the coming days — to encourage a quick response.

 

I also had variations of this template for sending cold emails to headhunters.

Hubspot lets you upload documents so you can easily insert them in your email. I uploaded my resumé for quick access when requested. The cool thing is that Hubspot tells you when someone has opened your email and your document. You even know how long they have spent reading it!

 

This feature proved itself very handy when on occasion my email got buried and sat unopened for over a week. I knew I had to send a reminder.

 

4- Being Systematic

 

Looking for a job is a systematic process.
You know that somewhere out there a company needs you. You know that someone in your network can introduce you. Your job is to establish that connection.

 

Filtering

I added a custom field to help filter my contacts. That field had the following values: Network, VIP Network, Friendly Network, Headhunter, Don’t Bother.

 

I knew I could call on my “friendly network” for feedback and advice but that I had to be
judicious with my VIP Network. As for the Don’t Bother status… Well, their initial answer or lack off triggered it.

 

crm stage

Stages

I organized my search as a sales rep. works her deals pipeline: I moved my contacts along the stages: To Contact, Contacted, Appointment Scheduled,  Meeting Completed, Introduction etc.

 

Reminders

As you become a fulltime networker you end-up speaking to hundreds of persons at conferences and meetups, sending scores of emails, and calling many more. If you aren’t systematic you will lose track of whom you meet, what you learned, who put you in touch with whom, and whom you need to follow-up with.
That’s where a CRM like Hubspot is invaluable.

 

I systematically added every new contact to Hubspot with details about the meeting, the conversation, and potential introductions. I made a point of reaching out to everyone I had met within 24 hours and used Hubspot follow-up feature to remind me to contact them again. These reminders appeared in the Tasks list.

 

3- Empathy

Chances are that you are going to become so self-focused during your job hunt that you may lose common sense.

Put yourself in other’s people shoes. When you are waiting for an answer time seems to slow down. Look at your pipeline and take this opportunity to move “opportunities” at the “to be contacted” stage to the next. Get busy, just like a good sales rep, you should have opportunities at various maturity stages.  

You need someone to introduce you to their network? Ask yourself what are the risk for them? Do you think they are ready to open their network to you? What is there for them to gain? Karma goes both ways. Always remember to return the elevator and always ask how you can help.

 

2- Make it Easy to Help You

Be concise, straight to the point and don’t ask people to do your work for you. If you need an intro, write an email that people can easily forward. Be conscious of the language you use, adopt the right tone. People will appreciate it.

 

1- Be Thankful

This is all about relationships. You are going to meet a lot of people. Some of whom you will immediately click with and others you won’t; it’s ok. This will also help you figure out what you want in your future job and what compromises you are ready to make.

Whatever happens with the people you meet, always remember to keep them updated on your progress. Not only is this polite, but you never know where you are going to end up. What goes around comes around.

 

When the Planets are Aligned

Fifteen days in my job hunt I had made great progress. Alex, an angel investor and ex-board member of my previous company, KDS, had been fantastic. He introduced me to his friends and I had every interesting interviews lined up. In parallel, two friends in the UK were also engaging with me. Jo almost convinced me to stick to consulting and offered to help me find clients.
Paul, on the other hand, thought that I could be a great fit for a company in his network:
VisaHQ.
He introduced me to the president Oleg Naydonov and… four weeks later I was signing my employment offer.

VisaHQ is an amazing company perfectly matching what I had expressed when I started on this journey!