Earlier this week, I ran across a simple tweet logging a common complaint.

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(From a sales standpoint, the author isn’t wrong. Mess up that first – or second, third, etc. – impression and your chances of landing a conversation with a prospect are incredibly slim.)

So naturally, the first thing I did was tweet back my two pennies.  

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But it got me thinking. This is a big issue in business these days – blaming technology for people problems. We see this every single day with our clients and prospects. “Nobody uses our CRM because the platform stinks – we really should have gone with XYZ, I used it at my last company and it’s way better” or “IT rolled out SharePoint and now it’s just this dumping ground where docs go to die” or “this UI just isn’t intuitive enough for me” or “sorry for the error, it’s our system’s fault”.

Though it’s true that technology can be fickle and frustrating and even I have often restrained myself from sending my laptop sailing out the window, well…it’s a computer. Can we all just agree, collectively, to assert our human brain’s superiority and stop blaming technology?

Here are a few ways to start bringing people back into the mix.

1. Educate

The beautiful thing about working with other people is that, if you let them, everyone brings something to the table. I constantly joke about being the lone creative, non-techie person around my office. Need your computer fixed? Technical specifications written? Project plan initiated? Cashflow report generated? Anything having to do with JavaScript, C++, .NET or otherwise? Don’t talk to me – I’m not your girl. But I’ll talk to you for days about the ins and outs of marketing automation or B2B social media strategies.

By educating my coworkers on the latest best practices and new ideas coming out of marketing, we are one big seamless, lead generating team.  With a larger collective reach, we all win.

And they educate right back. We schedule Lunch ‘n Learns to share new ideas or training across teams. Even the non-techies like myself are continuously trained on the platforms we deliver, are daily users, and participate in testing, QA, and upgrades.

It’s not about the technology – it’s about the ways we, the people, use technology.

2. Evolve

Technology doesn’t stand still, and neither should we.

When it comes to social media, I tell everyone “Like, Comment, Share”. Because social media thinks like a high schooler – you have to be popular to be liked. Or, you have to pay for your friends.

Recently, LinkedIn and Facebook have made some changes the impact sharing. Shared posts are no longer bringing the original text to the new post. It’s a problem, especially for picture posts. When a person shares a business page's post, it delivers that content to more feeds - and that can drive more followers to the business page, or more interaction with the post. More interactions mean higher popularity, and highly popular posts get into more feeds and stay longer. But without the context of an explanation, now lost from the original post, the new readers may not know why they’re seeing this post in their feed. So they do one of the most dangerous things of all…they ignore.

Instead of blaming these social media sites’ new treatment of metadata, my original mantra has evolved. “Like, Comment, Share – and please include a short sentence about WHY you are sharing so your own followers get the message!” Ok, so it’s no longer as cute and pithy. But it’s important to the success of our online voice.

3. Edit

At C5 Insight, we joke that we specialize in failure - fixing, not causing, struggling CRM and SharePoint projects. We talk at great length about the causes – many avoidable – of failure. Over and over, our clients bring us systems so burdened with unimportant data that it’s no wonder they don’t work. Set aside time daily, weekly, or monthly to clean out the SharePoint page you manage so that it’s no longer a sad document graveyard, void of helpful tags. If you use a CRM, make sure leads get disqualified, qualified, set to nurture, sent to sales, put through a guided process, etc. on a regular basis. Keep your online space clean, whether it’s the campaigns you’re managing, or the marketing lists, email templates and other digital assets your regularly touch, archiving the out of date versions.

Don’t be a hoarder in your technical realm!

4. Establish

More than anything, establish your own best practices. Despite my somewhat rabid attachment to technology, I’ve learned over the years that I still do best with a handwritten To-Do list each week. I get so much satisfaction from drawing my pen across the paper to check off an item as done. So while it’s pretty neat that I can do all kinds of syncing between my Outlook and my iPhone and my CRM and my OneNote and my Yammer and everything else I throw into the daily mix, I haven’t let technology win completely.

Repeat after me...I am still in control of my professional and personal success, and I can harness technology effectively to keep those plates spinning and dots connected.

Feel free to comment with your own thoughts on ways to keep the importance of people ahead of technology. For more information about C5 Insight and the ways we help people work together better, please Contact Us.