A couple of weeks ago, I received the following message through my LinkedIn account from a young Coupa sales representative:
I currently work at Coupa as an Account Rep. I came across an article you wrote regarding the 3 BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACED BY SUPPLY CHAIN/PURCHASING PROFESSIONALS. My job is to reach out to prospect to discuss these very pain points. Often prospects are unwilling to take a call or respond to email.
If at all possible would you be able to provide additional details that can help me deliver a great intro email that would grab Supply Chain/Procurements attention.
As I frequently receive similar requests of this nature, I was more than happy to provide my perspective and scheduled a Skype call.
Beyond talking about the general market and the research upon which my article was based, I had also indicated that the image one projects within the realms of the social media world is critical.
After all, our social network profiles including the picture we use has become our calling card. What people see creates that lasting first impression of not only the individual but the company they represent. I then suggested that the Coupa representative would be well advised to “update” her current profile pictures on both LinkedIn and Facebook. The reason I gave is that it is not uncommon for potential clients or employers to check out both sites to obtain a more complete picture of the person they are considering as either a vendor or employee.
Obviously there is no need to use the individual’s name, as this post is not intended to embarrass anyone. Especially since the above is more of a reflection of the lack of direction young employees receive from their companies in terms of an established social media policy.
Here is another example of a profile picture that may not be the ideal representation of the Coupa brand:
Of course, the apparent absence of a social medial policy that provides clear guidelines as to what best represents the brand, thereby leaving the creation of an account profile up to the individual themselves, is not always a bad thing. This is demonstrated by the following profile of another Coupa representative:
If you were a senior decision-maker in a corporation looking to do business with Coupa, with which person would you be inclined to deal.
Even though the first two individuals may be knowledgeable and committed to providing great service, based on their social network profile pictures, which person comes across as being professional?
Once again, the purpose of this post is not to embarrass anyone, or to suggest that the professional qualifications of the young individuals referenced above are lacking in any way because of their profile pictures. However, one cannot deny the immutable truth that a picture is worth a thousand words. In the hyper-connected Internet world, very few people will take the time to look beyond their first impression to see the true value one has to offer. After all, the person who initially took the initiative to contact me via LinkedIn obviously cares about her position, and has a desire to succeed. Unfortunately, this important truth will likely go undiscovered as will a potential client opportunity for the company.
All I am suggesting is that not just Coupa, but all companies, take the time to invest in the development of their young representatives. This includes the establishment of a sound social media policy.
As always, I welcome your comments.