July 19, 2018

Inaugural Innovation Day 2017 – Bend, Oregon

Libby Unger | CEO & CO-Founder, GreenFig
Written by:

Libby Unger | CEO & CO-Founder, GreenFig

Wow. I love my job. I am fortunate to meet incredible people every day, to learn from them, and to be inspired by them. This week is no different. On Tuesday, a diverse group of senior leaders from Bend, Oregon committed a full day – yes, a full day, a WORK day –  to sharing ideas and innovative ways to solve common problems at Bend’s first formal Innovation Day. The goal of the day was to showcase innovation happening in Central Oregon as well as to inspire attendees, including featured companies like GreenFig, to think creatively about their work, company, organization, and community. The fast-paced break-out sessions kept the energy moving, dynamic and interactive.  Yes, we were all inspired! And, even more importantly, I am certain that our purpose with GreenFig is not only life changing but critical for long-term business vitality and economic growth.

Themes We Consistently Heard - The Talent Gap

The challenge to attract, retain, and develop talent persists in good times and in bad. In good times, you are competing against companies that pay more, offer more perks, or give individuals more of what they are looking for with respect to culture, making an impact, feeling valued and continuously learning. In bad times, you may have employees who are staying because they do not have other options, are over-burdened due to limited resources and cutbacks or are doing ‘just enough’ to not get fired – this has a real impact on the team, morale and the overall ability of a company to compete.  At the end of the day, regardless of whether times are good or bad, we all want to be excited about what we do, who we work with and continue to make an impact. Successful companies and leaders know this and enable it because it is also good business – it is what is required to attract, retain and develop high performing, engaged and committed talent.

Finding talent with technical skills is hard. Finding talent with both technical and ‘soft skills’ is harder and exponentially more valuable. Definitions of ‘soft skills’ vary by individual and leader, yet it is without a doubt deemed invaluable to most. In many camps, ‘soft skills’ are defined as the skills required to effectively communicate and collaborate with others across boundaries – up, down and across organizations – to get things done and deliver competitive results.

For many others, ‘soft skills’ are defined more broadly to include critical thinking, problem-solving, and understanding the broader context of individual work and translating that to work within a cross-functional team environment. Company culture dictates what is hired for. Some companies will hire for culture and train on technical skills and others will do the opposite. The one thing everyone agreed with is that finding skilled talent is hard and there is no single solution for bridging the gap efficiently and effectively (until, of course, GreenFig came along!).

Finally, everybody agreed how skill-based training and continuous learning are essential to everyone’s success. We heard some innovative ways one company enables continuous learning – new employees bring best practices from prior roles, recommend changes, and own getting buy-in and the implementation. From day one, an employee feels valued and heard and is making an impact. Wow! Talk about a company empowering individuals and continuously challenging the company to grow and evolve. Another company scans the globe for practices that fuel an employee’s full potential including mandatory sabbaticals every two years – NOT optional – recognizing that we need to step out of what we know to be able to see new ways of doing things.

Innovation Day 2017 Underscored Our Value and Purpose  Individuals and companies alike yearn for training that teaches the business strategy, tactics and technology underpinning business functions like product, marketing, sales, service, support, and operations. They need a solution which accelerates an individual’s time to impact and increases the likelihood that new practices and ways of doing things will get adopted and integrated into business practices to help them be competitive and economically viable. The GreenFig hybrid learning model does just that – applied learning in action – live classroom, online and offline team-based learning including a mini-internship (aka project) that tests and reinforces lessons along the way.

As you know by now, our Digital Marketing Science course launches September 13th – be a part of our next cohort, send your team or an employee, and recommend a friend.   Your time is now!!! I look forward to meeting you, learning from you, and sharing in your commitment to lifelong learning and personal empowerment.

Libby Unger, 

CEO GreenFig Micro Education, Inc.

Innovation Day is a collaborative effort, sponsored by US Bank, OSU-Cascades, Technology Association of Central Oregon, Bend Tech, and Oregrown, organized by Bend Chamber staff and Opportunity Knocks board members. 

Click here to learn more about Innovation Day 2017.


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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

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