Charlie Needs PR People … Not Salespeople

August 9, 2017

by Kacie Escobar

Today, I received an email encouraging me to apply for a role with the Charlie team in Chicago as a key salesperson for the company’s new product.  Seemingly innocent, everything about this email rubbed me the wrong way.

Having just returned from the 2017 FPRA Annual Conference, PR:  It’s Personal, the power of personalized communication was fresh in my mind.  And this email was anything but personal.

Ironically, Charlie’s success is built on technology that “finds information from 100,000’s of sources” to build one-page profiles about your professional contacts, helping you get to know them without doing all the work.

Perhaps Charlie should have put its technology to the test.

I once researched the Charlie app, but never used it.  In fact, I had not received any previous emails from Charlie since the day I signed up nearly one year ago.  Simple research would have uncovered my lack of engagement and unfamiliarity with the company, along with my lack of experience (or interest) for a senior account executive role in sales.

The advertised position has enough responsibility that it reports directly to the CEO, yet Charlie clearly used an email distribution service to spam everyone on its list without any knowledge of the recipients’ qualifications.  The kicker:  it was sent to the inbox of the email address where I currently work, which, for others, might have sparked an awkward office conversation.

While Charlie’s tactic may eventually achieve the desired outcome, the company could have taken a far more effective approach.  A little research would have gone a long way to personalize this outreach and, as a result, reach the right target audience with the right message in the right place at the right time.

Before it can recruit the right salespeople, Charlie may want to consider recruiting someone to drive a more personalized approach to its PR.


Share What you Learn

August 9, 2011

by Kerry Martin

They say it’s important to share what you learn.

The “they” in this instance was an SVP of corporate communications that I just had the pleasure of learning from during a general session of the Florida Public Relations Association’s Annual Conference (which is an even bigger pleasure because I’m in attendance this year!).

The keynote speaker, Angela Buonocore of ITT Corporation, passed on more than a few pearls of wisdom during her presentation, and it struck me how applicable her advice was– not only for communications professionals, but for all business professionals.

While presenting the topic of “What CEOs Want and Need From PR,” Angela detailed some of the qualities that make any professional essential to their team… and to their CEO.  Qualities such as ‘strategic thinking’, ‘understanding corporate goals’ and ‘mastering complexity’ were not unlike our firm’s Five Steps, (which focus on the big picture and the things that keep the client awake at night).

But what stood out to me the most was her drive to keep raising the bar.  At some point, she warned, professionals can get in the comfort zone where “good” becomes “good enough.”  And for Angela, good but not great is not good.

Then what’s the recipe for success?   She gave a few tricks to make you push yourself.  Like a pool player, she says, you have to call your shots.  Putting it out there that you’re going to sink a big play is telling management that you’re working harder to reach your goals, not getting lucky on a surprise win.  Another tactic is to ask for feedback–but not just from your boss.  Get a review (an honest review) from peers, customers and external partners whenever you can to make sure you’re always improving, strengthening your skills and growing.

As the closer for Day 1 of the conference, that’s what I call good professional development.

I hope the knowledge she passed along can be something you learn from too.  For more notes and takeaways from the conference as it happens, you can follow the action at FPRA’s blog.


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