July 19, 2018

3 Ways to Shore Up Your Skills for the Digital Age

Paula Sansburn | COO, GreenFig
Written by:

Paula Sansburn | COO, GreenFig

Recently, the GreenFig blog featured a post about the growing value of liberal arts-educated workers and why their nontechnical skills, such as writing and communications, are increasingly attractive to tech firms across the country.

Another reason for this is that technological advancements are placing a higher emphasis on automation and artificial intelligence. An Oxford University study found that 47 percent of U.S. jobs are at risk of being eliminated by automation. This is not a call to freak out that unemployment rates are going to surge or that we will all be reduced to minimum wage service industry jobs. Rather, it is a call to action for both educational institutions and workers to rethink how to enable digital literacy and practical job skills as they prepare for a changing job market.

As the workplace changes rapidly to keep pace with the digital and innovation economy educational systems and workers should focus on learning as a lifelong pursuit – “not an endeavor limited to a few years in early adulthood” – and place greater emphasis on developing a combination of business and technical skills.

That is according to Jeff Selingo, a Washington Post columnist and education researcher featured in a recent EdTech blog post titled: “Lifetime learning is the new model for higher education.”

Based on his own research and the research of others, Selingo delivered a keynote address suggesting that the country’s outdated higher education model is not in step with hiring needs of today’s companies — regardless of industry. He urged stakeholders to rethink how it prepares the American workforce and offered solutions to bridge the skills gap between workers and industry.

Below are some highlights from the speech:   

1. The Soft Skills Gap

Among recent college graduates, there is a persistent gap in soft skills such as teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and organization, according to Selingo’s research. These skills are particularly valuable to recruiters and hiring managers given the increasing influence of AI and automation.

“In many ways, the education system we have today is like the workplace of old,” he said. “Punctuality, rote tasks, following an established set of processes — these were once the path to success. But in an environment of rapid, ongoing change, this model no longer works. The modern work world is a mash of activities with no scheduled end.”

He goes on to recommend that the new “lifelong learning” model should emphasize both soft and hard skills to meet the needs of employers.

2. Internships and Real-World Experience Matter

According to Selingo’s research, the primary difference between college graduates who have achieved financial independence and those who have “hit the pause button on professional progress” is internships. Selingo goes on to say that the finding is not surprising since many employers hire individuals who previously interned with them. So why is it worth noting? A student’s ability to find a professional “on-ramp” at some point during their twenties can have a significant impact on future earnings and career trajectories.

3. The New Solution

New programs are emerging which better fit the needs of today’s students, such as “micro master’s degrees” found online and significantly less expensive than traditional higher education models, according to Selingo. How do you gauge an institutions’ effectiveness? Question how many graduates find high-quality jobs and are able to repay student loans, he said.

How GreenFig Can Help

GreenFig is a micro education company which offers microdegrees in the applied business sciences to bridge the gap between higher ed and high demand careers in an accelerated learning format. We provide students with practical experience executing real-world projects, which is why our graduates are attractive to hiring managers. Plus, our students gain a hard-soft skills mix of business strategy, tactics, AND technology so they can more effectively add value to their employers and differentiate themselves from their peers. Students graduate with business science microdegrees – a holistic combination of business, technical and soft skills.

Learn more about our Fall course curriculum. Or, let us know how we can help you achieve your professional goals in the digital-based innovation economy.

Paula Sansburn,



Related Posts.

How to Optimize Your Sales Funnel With Better Lead Management

GreenFig instructors Sue Hay and Jerine Erice recently taught classes in Marketo, Salesforce and analytics to our lifelong learners in Digital Marketing Science. We share their blog that underscores the value of a well-examined lead management process and provides actionable steps to optimize marketing strategy and increase ROI. Read and learn! Resolved to improve your sales and marketing effectiveness this year? Lead management might be the answer. A good lead management process starts with defining potential customers (or leads) and taking them on an educational and nurturing journey based on their buying persona before ultimately being passed on to the sales team. Lead management measures, tracks and reports on this customer acquisition process, from the first point of contact to the closing of the sale. This allows sales and marketing to work in tandem, with the ultimate goal of increasing conversion rates and ROI while shortening the duration of the process. This process is arguably the most important aspect of marketing. But according to DemandWave’s 2017 State of Digital Marketing Report, many marketers still find that obtaining high-quality leads is their number one challenge. Why do marketers continue struggle with this, and what can you do about it? Here are four lead management tactics that you can adopt now for a more robust lead marketing strategy and better-optimized sales funnel in 2018. 1. Get Sales and Marketing Aligned The alignment of sales and marketing is critical to lay the foundation for an effective lead management process. This ensures that the company as a whole is working toward a similar goal. The responsibility of increasing ROI becomes the responsibility of both teams. This alignment, especially in the case of B2B companies, shortens the sales cycle and makes it more efficient. In order to achieve this alignment, both teams needs to be on the same page -- aware of their responsibilities, as well as the intricacies of the process itself. Call a meeting to go over your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and the lead management process. Make sure everyone knows the different stages a lead goes through as well as the proper way to handle a quality lead. Some key journey points to remember include Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), which is based off of lead scoring, Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) and Sales Accepted Lead (SAL), which are identified after a meeting occurs and the lead progresses through the sales cycle. Here is a helpful checklist to get you started. 2. Analyze the Lead Journey Once a lead is created and enters the process, the lead journey is analyzed over time. Tracking can be done through a CRM platform like Salesforce.com, SugerCRM, Hubspot CRM, social media analytical tools and email marketing analytics. Salesforce is one of the major Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to document and keep track of important information. Through Salesforce, marketers are able to take a well-rounded look at their business and manage relationships with the partners and other strategic alliances, existing customers and prospects. With tracking, you learn that lead’s process and behavior. This knowledge proves valuable when developing content and tactics to use during the lead management process. Even if these leads have been passed off to the sales team, they are still important to track. Through monitoring, you can measure sales performance, and calculate marketing and sales ROI. This information is key because it allows you to learn how expensive each lead is and the proper steps to take in order to get more quality leads while reducing cost. You are able to analyze your marketing efforts as a whole, and make any necessary adjustments to save time and money while increasing revenue. 3. Score Your Leads Next, it is crucial to score your leads with lead scoring tools built into platforms like Marketo or Hubspot. Through scoring, you are able to determine not only the lead’s interest in you, but your interest in them as well. This allows the sales team to only spend time on leads that matter since higher scoring leads are more likely to convert. To have an effective lead scoring system, it is important to look at the lead’s persona, level of engagement and timing. 4. Nurture Your Leads Last but not least, it’s important to nurture high scoring leads before passing them to the sales team. According to DemandGen, leads who are nurtured with targeted content produce a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities. It is important to determine the unique preferences of your leads. What drives their attention? From there, you can create targeted content that is relevant and valuable to them. Some of the most effective targeted content includes email nurture campaigns, promotional offers and call-to-action content. For more information on GreenFig’s upcoming courses taught by industry leaders like Jerine and Sue, check us out at www.greenfig.net.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Contact us

Need a quote.