Don’t Become a Wallflower…Use Your Sonar!

Have you ever been to a networking meeting and felt completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of people that are attending and thinking – how I am going to meet the people I NEED to network with?

I have been traveling down to NYC the last couple of months and have been attending the NY Tech Meetup’s which have been awesome. I have loved all the presentations, but there are hundreds of great people to meet and sometimes I don’t know where to begin!

At July’s event I was really impressed with a new start-up called Sonar, which lets you connect your LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook accounts and then allows you to see people you’re connected to who are in the same location radius. How COOL is that…. I thought this was an app that I could leverage greatly at every networking event, because usually I go into a networking event filled with new faces to meet. I immediately downloaded this app right then and there!

Since July I have been experimenting with this new way of connecting. With Sonar by my side at networking events, I can go into a room and feel more at ease knowing industries people work in, what they do, and how I’m connected to them. This is a tool that I wish I had over a year ago, right after I graduated from college and jumped right into attending events alone.

Going into an event, for anyone, can be a bit nerve-racking at times. For me, it was a challenge to find the right people within the same industry to target and connect with. For some events if it was possible, I would research who was going and what they did. Great for small gatherings, but at a large event it was like finding a needle in a stack of needles.

The Sonar app can guide my way through a room, and make it easier with just a few clicks to find industry-related people that I can network with in person. It can also be a great conversation starter by letting the person know what friends you have in common.

Sonar, Sonarme, Mobile App

When I was at a recent NYU Women in Startups panel, I got a Twitter shout out from another Sonar user, stating that we had 85 similar connections. He was sitting in the same event as me, and looking to network. (Unfortunately my phone has its own mind, and decides which Twitter messages should appear on my home screen!) If I had seen his Twitter response sooner, we would’ve had a great conversation about startups at the panel…We are looking to connect at the next NY Tech Meetup. I’m excited to go into the next meetup and have a connection already introduced, out of a large roomful of 700+ new connections waiting to be found by Sonar.

It’s amazing what technology can do now! Sonar is an app that helps you make introductions to people who are connected to you in all different degrees. Now you have no excuse becoming a wallflower at events! Sonar is a dynamic tool that I’ve used to leverage all of my connections on social media in specific locations looking for new people to network with. How will Sonar build your network?

Post written by Julie Skowronek, Assistant Marketing Manager at Whiting Consulting.

Decorating a New Office on a Budget

We all have hobbies…one of mine is decorating. I love fabric and color and putting ideas and concepts together. I would say my sense of style is traditional.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, I would like anything out of the Pottery Barn catalog.  🙂

I decided to give the office a different look and feel and bring out the pink girly-girl in me. The design concept for the office first came from the space itself…I was going to have a ton of natural light and high ceilings.  The building was built in the 1880’s and it has a lot of dark wood and character.  It is an open space, but with a lot of “defined” areas where I knew I would be able to differentiate them with different uses of color.

I bought this fabric about 6 years ago for one of the first pieces of furniture that I recovered.  It was a little stool my kids used to stand on to wash their hands in our powder room.  In our old office the walls were grey…and I am not a grey kind of person.  I love color and light and need that to feel productive. So I knew right off the bat I wanted the walls to have a bright color palette. I decided to pull greens, blues, and pinks for the space…similar to the colors in our logo. I also used a green hue – Laura Ashley Sage Green that I used in my dining room at home – I think it is good if you can to leverage color that you live with all the time in other spaces…it looks different at the office than my house because of the light. I also painted the inner walls a yellow green to make the green pop and to feel like sunshine.

I also decided I wanted the office not to look like an office but more of a comfortable sitting room – so I went with a French Country theme… and started shopping – another one of my favorite hobbies!  I also decided to buy local, so I hit the area Antique stores, thrift stores and Craigslist….

I got such joy in buying an ugly, beat up of piece of furniture for 10 to 50 dollars and making it beautiful with paint and fabric…

So where do you start?  I started with the fabric and style…I knew I wanted a farmhouse table for our conference room ($45.00)…I also knew I wanted a floral fabric for the chairs…I wanted a turn of the century camel back couch (which I found in a local antique store for $150 dollars – that was the deal of the century). Instead of office furniture I utilized dressers and credenzas for storage and places to put printers…

It took me about 5 months to buy all the pieces and my garage and my mother in law’s garage looked like a used furniture store. We started at the beginning of the summer refinishing furniture and painting…my big splurge was having two chairs reupholstered, a trade that I wish I new…but boy was it worth it and I love the chair in my office – it is one of my favorite corners in the new space.

All in all I spent less than $2000.00 on furnishing a 1,600 square foot office.  It was a very exciting process…I am going to have fun picking pieces of art and little odds and ends for the space…I love having a place that is pink and has shades of green and patterns that I can’t use in my own home. If you are a business owner have your office be like a second home – it sure does feel like it sometime…look for pieces and color palettes that will inspire your staff and get them excited about coming into work each day.  I think decor really does matter and makes a first impression when you have a candidate walk into your space…If your employees feel comfortable in their surroundings they will want to come to work and feel motivated to do a great job for the business….

Don’t go to your regular OfficeMax; think outside the box…think about your brand and who your company is and what story does your space tell…Use your creative side…for me it was so fun to see what had been in my mind for a long time become a reality.

We Have Exciting News- We Have Moved to a New Office…

So if you haven’t noticed we have not written a blog in over two months – we apologize for that ….however, we have been busy getting ready for our office move.

The adventure started some 7 months ago when we realized we had out grown our current space (which was a two room office suite).  Even though we loved being part of a traditional old town main street – we were growing and needed to spread our wings. I was not looking for the typical office space. Since we spend a lot of time at the office I wanted a unique space that had character and that I could decorate…..

I heard about a couple of historical buildings that were being taken over and made into office space. When I first looked at the new space it was down to the bare studs and lath (something that I have not seen since my parents redid there 1828 house)…I was not sure – I could not figure out how this building was going to come together…

Greg O’Connell, a local businessman that restores old buildings and has been very successful in the revitalization of the neighboring town Mt Morris, purchased the building. Greg was awesome throughout this process…he really let me design and customize the space to my needs.  He knows that a happy tenant is one who will stay for a while.

We decided to open up the space as much as possible – making the doors wider and adding glass and keeping the old finishings to keep the building in its native state….We ended up with an office for me (24 foot ceilings), an open environment for our recruiting and sourcing center that could fit 4 desks, a sitting area, a conference room, break area and kitchen – we more that quadruple our space….



Over the last several months as Gregg’s restoration team went to work it really all came to life.  First, the lathe was covered up and we had walls!  Amazing!  Then, color on those walls that really helped define the space.  Finally, the original floors were refurbished to their natural beauty and the space all came together!

When redoing a space you need to think about flow….as a business owner I needed to think about what I really needed – how did I want communication and energy to flow throughout the space….I wanted an open office concept…our business thrives on energy – I wanted big windows, natural light – no more fluorescent light bulbs for me….I wanted normal looking furniture….I did not want to be surrounded by everything looking like an office…I wanted a space that would encourage productivity and an environment where people wanted to come to everyday and be their best.

We have now been in our new space a week…still have a couple of things to iron out – not used to walking in high heels on the hardwood floors – but to be surround by great colors, beautiful sunlight (natural light on those grey days) and pieces of furniture that have a story to tell have been awesome. I look forward to our next blog where I will talk about how I decorated the space on a budget by utilizing many of our local antique stores and consignment shops.

Marketing Manager (New York, NY)

Whiting Consulting is looking for a Marketing Manager for our client in the New York City area. They will be primarily responsible for developing and executing innovative B2B demand generation campaigns utilizing a mix of email, online marketing, content, webinars and event-based campaigns to generate new sales leads, engage existing customers and promote awareness of the products and services. Principal communication will be through email, online, social media, SEO/search, events and other channels. In addition, measuring, optimizing, testing and reporting on the results of the programs/campaigns will be critical. The objective is to generate new leads through inbound activities as well as convert leads and aid in the progression through the sales cycle. This role will support other marketing initiatives including public relations, trade show marketing and collateral development, as well as helping in marketing efforts related to the affiliate sales channels.

Responsibilities Include

  • Identify customer needs as required to ensure the right programs and campaigns to gain market share.
  • Develop multi-channel demand generation campaigns, objectives, targets, tactics, and metrics to drive customer
  • Acquisition success may include asset down load, online events, promotions, search, newsletters and online content.
  • Initiate and manage lead nurturing programs to accelerate prospect movement through the demand generation funnel.
  • Develop and execute email campaigns for lead generation and lead-nurturing activities.
  • Drive attendance and track success metrics for webinar programs.
  • Manage web content for products and services — search engine optimization efforts, paid search activity, landing pages and web-based lead generation and tracking.
  • Work with events team to ensure brand/product messaging and optimized demand generation tactics and measurement.
  • Manage, track and optimize online marketing campaigns including email, social media, partners.
    • Analyze and interpret key metrics/reports; recommends corrective action; ensures continuous improvement and effectiveness.
  • Ensure critical campaign elements (promotional code, tracking setup) are created for lead flow and reporting.
  • Support overall company branding and awareness as part of the overall marketing initiatives and lead generation programs.

Requirements

• 5 years of experience working in a results driven marketing environment
• 2+ years lead generation experience responsible for analyzing and executing campaigns in a business-to-business environment
• Experience marketing B2B products and services preferred
• Must have a proven track record of managing and delivering successful integrated lead generation campaigns
• Experience developing cross marketing channel campaigns
• Demonstrated results in improving sales pipeline/funnel close ratios
• Experience with Salesforce
• Experience using email campaign management tools to create, send, and track emails
• Experience with content management tools a plus
• Experience developing key messaging throughout the sales process a plus
• Organized, detail oriented and strong at attacking challenges
• Ability to establish and manage priorities and drive projects to completion
• Strong interpersonal skills; ability to influence others without formal authority
• Ability to communicate ideas and collaborate to execute and problem solve
• Excellent written and oral communications skills
• Proven excellence in managing multiple projects and deadlines
• Must be able to multi-task in a fast-paced environment with strong attention to detail
• Skilled at working with cross functional teams

Apply by sending your resume to resumes@whitingconsulting.com.

Whiting Consulting is a recruiting firm specializing in placing highly-qualified candidates for: Executive-Level Roles, Marketing / Sales Engineering / Inside Sales, Product Management / Product Marketing, Software Development & Engineering / QA, Implementation Consultants, Production Support, and High-Tech Public Relations.

Business Analyst (New York, New York)

Our client is an up-and-coming provider of technology and consulting solutions for the most pressing challenge facing every business today: multichannel commerce. They are currently looking for a Business Analyst (BA) who is a true self-starter and can work well in an unstructured, entrepreneurial environment.

Responsibilities

  • Responsible for creating the functional specifications for client facing software implementation and development projects.
  • Work directly with clients to gather and document their requirements.
  • Will work directly with the company’s engineering team to ensure that they deliver a work product that meets those requirements. (Sample projects could include re-platforming an eCommerce site; designing a dynamic online collaboration space for employees; creating a system to manage warehouse, or inventory and shipping functions.)
  • Directly interact with senior management, other business analysts, and engineers.

Requirements

  • 3-5 years experience as a technology Business Analyst.
  • Undergraduate or Graduate degree in Computer Science, Information Systems, Business, Technology, or a related field.
  • Outstanding communications skills, both verbal and written—no exceptions.
  • Familiar with common web technologies, technology project management, and the general principles of open source software.
  • Good working knowledge of SQL databases and Object Oriented programming concepts and practices.
  • Technical writing experience.
  • Hands-on experience working with common web technologies preferred.
  • Hands-on experience writing software code (Java or PHP) is a plus.
  • US citizen.

Apply by sending your resume to resumes@whitingconsulting.com.

Project Manager (New York, New York)

Our client is an up-and-coming provider of technology and consulting solutions for the most pressing challenge facing every business today: multichannel commerce. They are currently looking for a Project Manager (PM). We are looking for someone who is ready to add intense contact with external, paying clients to their portfolio of skills. More important is a demonstrated ability to understand the all-important “human vector,” namely, the motivations and expectations of the stakeholders who ultimately define and determine project success. You will recognize that Requirements are a set of statements negotiated amongst you and these stakeholders.

Responsibilities

  • Manage internal project teams comprising developers, analysts and designers.
  • Analyze client requirements.
  • Manage external client expectations.
  • Set up and maintain our collaborative Project Studio environment.
  • Create and manage detailed project plans and schedules.
  • Assign task responsibilities to project team members.
  • Track progress of special projects.
  • Identify project risks and develop mitigation plans.
  • Proactively maintain project scope through effective change management.
  • Continuously evolve our project management processes to ensure they meet industry best practices.

Requirements

  • 3-5 years experience as a technology Project Manager.
  • Experience with ecommerce platforms and mainstream web technologies.
  • Ideal candidate must have an undergraduate or graduate degree in Computer Science, Information Systems, Business, Technology, or a related field.
  • Professional certification (PMP, Six Sigma, PRINCE2) is a plus but not required.
  • Familiar with structured project management disciplines and techniques such as project initiation documents (PIDs); online collaboration tools; mainstream project management software; software development lifecycle (knowledge of Agile development techniques is a plus); budget management; schedule management for multi-person, cross functional teams; containing scope creep; change management/change order process.
  • Outstanding communications (both verbal and written—no exceptions), presentation, and consensus building skills.
  • Effective technical writing and proposal development skills.
  • Excellent organization and time management skills.
  • A true self-starter and able to work in an unstructured, entrepreneurial environment..
  • US Citizen.
  • Must have proven your ability to manage a project to successful completion—and have references to say so—and can point to live sites to which you made substantial contributions.

Apply by sending your resume to resumes@whitingconsulting.com

Regional Sales Director – NYC Area

Whiting Consulting is searching for multiple Regional Sales Directors to be based on the New York City area. Our client is looking for these dynamic Regional Sales Directors to join a high impact team that is on a relentless mission to revolutionize online recruitment advertising. These positions will report to the Vice President of Sales.

Our client’s sales team develops affiliate relationships with local media and advertising companies by providing them with technology, products and tools to grow their business and become more competitive in their local markets. They are in need of professional, creative and hardworking sales directors to help them sign-up additional partners and maintain the level of personal service they demand of themselves for our partners.

The director will develop strategies for his/her territory and work together with the company’s Affiliate Development function in order to maximize resources and sales impact in the region. Key to the success of this position is maintaining the unique values and culture of our client’s organization.

The ideal candidate will have proven experience with sales management and possess a demonstrable process-driven approach to developing his/her own sales pipeline while embracing compliance of established sales management processes. The candidate must thrive in a start-up environment and embrace navigating through constant change productively. Building a business requires the ability to patiently pursue the bigger opportunities, while still delivering on stretch short-term goals.

Responsibilities

  • Build and develop a territory establishing for our client and their affiliate partners in their specific locations.
  • Analyze local markets and formulate sales strategy.
  • Together with our client’s Marketing department, identify local companies that have the highest potential to partner with our clients.
  • Contact prospective trade publications and sign partnership agreements that will drive revenue and result in local dominance.
  • Maintain relationships with local affiliates to ensure their success and introduce new products.
  • Grow sales in the region, meet sales quota and manage priorities per the company’s strategic plan.
  • Identify and pursue strategic partners that are headquartered in the territory.
  • Manage an annual budget plan on a monthly basis.
  • Maintain an up to date pipeline, activity and contact information in our client’s Sales Force Automation System (Salesforce.com).
  • Work closely with Affiliate Development and Marketing departments in order to advance and support sales activities.
  • Provide feedback to Product Development with regard to affiliate experience with the product/service.

Requirements

  • At least 5 years of sales experience in Internet/Software sector (preferably in media technology/internet advertising).
  • Experience is selling to “C” level decision makers.
  • Experience is territory sales management and strategic selling.
  • Experience in funnel management and selling process.
  • Demonstrated success working with Regional Channel/Affiliate Partners (a plus).
  • Experience in recruitment advertising or HR related product sales (a plus).
  • Ability to work independently and provide timely and accurate status via established management reporting processes.
  • BA Degree.

Apply by sending your resume to resumes@whitingconsulting.com.

Whiting Consulting is a recruiting firm specializing in placing highly-qualified candidates for: Executive-Level Roles, Marketing / Sales Engineering / Inside Sales, Product Management / Product Marketing, Software Development & Engineering / QA, Implementation Consultants, Production Support, and High-Tech Public Relations.

New York Tech Meetup Afterthoughts

"NY Tech Meetup", NYTM, startups nyc, technology entrepreneurship, "tech startups", "nyc technology", startups, "NY Tech Meetup 2011", "New York Tech Meetup"

NYTM organizer, Nate Westheimer, welcomes the audience on July 5, 2011

With my second journey down to New York City for the New York Tech Meetup (NYTM), I was once again very impressed with what the presenters had to offer on-stage. With about nine tech startup demos, how can I choose a favorite?!

With the increase in popularity and evolution in mobile technology and social networks, there were trends in the demos along with a really neat surprise…break dancing!

What really stood out to me was Sonar.me. They built an application that can pull all of your social networks contact information and further connections, and also pull those people in your precise network of expertise at a particular networking event or area. I think this tool has the potential to bring great value at events and conferences for any individual.

SnapGoods created a great tool that recruiters and sourcers can play around with. Their site can pull all of your contacts from Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and simultaneously extract a particular keyword from all three networks. Super convenient and a huge time saver!

What really wowed the crowd was a tool that anyone can use to have the same experience as a doctor viewing every layer of the human body. It took BioDigital Human about seven years to create this interactive, HTML-based application… the first of its kind. Technology at its finest!

Lastly, presenters from SkillSlate went to a whole new level of “demoing,” and presented their results by searching a skillset from their site and brought the search results to NYTM. What did they search for in the city? Breakdancers! So the audience at NYTM got an awesome treat!

Overall, it was a great group of enjoyable demos, eye-openers, and several oohs, aahs, and cool moves. I’m thrilled to see what NYTM will bring to the stage next time. This leaves me thinking “What will people think of next?!”

Post written by Julie Skowronek, Assistant Marketing Manager at Whiting Consulting.

The Entrepreneur Age is Limitless!

entrepreneur, startup, "job search", entrepreneurship, "business dveelopment", "small business"

I recently read an article in the NY Times talking about how the job market for teens this summer was limited.

I remember thinking about summer jobs. In my family we had one car growing up. I know that sounds almost crazy in this day and age! That issue, however, created some challenges in my job search. For example, the nearest mall was about 30 miles away (another crazy thought in this day and age; being 30 miles away from a mall!) so working in retail was not an option. But, if I wanted to buy the stuff I needed as a teenager (clothes and music) I needed to find a job. I turned to babysitting. Now that I think back to it I see so many similarities to starting my own business as an adult. I leveraged my parents to reach out to their friends (networking) and started from word of mouth. Pretty soon I had my regular families that I would work for. I also landed a work-study job after school to supplement the babysitting income.

I think this is the perfect time for our teens to go out and create work for themselves. There is plenty of opportunity around our communities; we just need to be a little creative. In our neck of the woods we need kids that would cut the grass or weed gardens. The average price to have your grass cut is about $35/yard. A teenager could charge $20-$25 and get most yards done within 1-2 hours. Kids can make a good hourly wage and then if they do a good job build their network and bring on new clients. There are many opportunities out there: Walking dogs, yard work, painting, etc. The key is to identify the needs within the community and then offer those services. Young families are busier than ever and any chance to get some help is greatly appreciated. Summers are so busy that I know I would love and extra pair of hands around for these odd jobs.

So leverage this opportunity to develop your business skills and get out there and have some fun. The kicker: You will make some money at it too!

Photo credit: fooyoh.com

Employee-Customer Interaction Starts with Engagement

The focus of building a trusting relationship with customers takes time and patience…but what else? In a recent post from Brian Solis, he says that changing your company’s focus to the quality of the customer experience should be top-most on your list of company priorities.

Listen, Customer, Customer-centricity, "Employee-customer relationship", "customer service", custome rfocus

Once in a while, we come across an experience where an employee might not seem 100% customer focused. Sure, they might be interacting with the customer…but are they listening? Hearing the input and feedback carefully, and having the employee interpret it properly will ultimately build a longer valued relationship with the customer. A process similar to this one takes some training and practice for employees, but it’s a great way for a company to change their tactics in grasping what is most valuable…not necessarily the product, but the people and the brand.

Similar to Tony Hsieh’s WOW customer experience…listen and give back 105% more than what they’ve expected. This will create a brand that is solid rock. My favorite quote in Brian Solis’ post that fully represents the real employee-customer relationship is:

“Customer-centricity begins with internal transformation and the willingness to adapt or create processes and programs that break down internal silos. It’s not just about communicating with customers; it’s about showing them that listening translates into action within the organization to create better products and services and also foster valuable brand experiences and ultimately relationships with customers. It’s also about empowering employees to improve those experiences and relationships in the front line and to recognize and reward their ability to contribute to a new era of customer engagement and collaboration.”

His words are powerful and completely true. What are some of your successful customer experience stories?

 

Post written by Julie Skowronek, Assistant Marketing Manager at Whiting Consulting.

Photo credit: Allbizanswers.com

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