Sunday, June 4, 2017

Social Selling as an end-of-FY (and year-round) tactic


Social selling: the process of getting and staying on the radar of potential partners and prospects in a positive way via social networks; positioning your company in a manner that makes it stand apart from and above the competition; solidify and expand relationships with existing customers.

Social selling is not a hard-sell tool; it is a soft-sell, stay on the radar tool. And it works.

It should be a year round process, but it could be especially useful at the end of an FY when your customers and prospects just got their budget approval. 

Nothing like getting your full budget in the last third of the FY!

LinkedIn is ideal for end-of-FY as there are at least 1.6 million Feds on LinkedIn (from my 2016 research), with a significant percentage in management positions. You can find key people by searching for their agencies (listed just like company profiles) and scrolling through the employees.

All federal agencies, including the IC, are represented on LinkedIn.



Having reviewed all federal agencies on LinkedIn, and having scrolled through thousands of profiles, my empirical research shows that at least 15% of federal employees on LinkedIn have IT-related job titles. About 35% have program, project or general management functions, and between 5-10% have executive level job titles.

For any government contractor, this is a gene pool worth looking into.

Looking for more business at CMS? Try scrolling through the 3,125 employees on LinkedIn until you see a job title that gets your attention. 

How about DISA? There are 4,320 employees on LinkedIn.

Looking for current or former SEWP employees or contractors? I can find 1,399 LinkedIn members who have SEWP in their description. I found a proposal expert with SEWP experience for a client bidding on SEWP V. 

Looking for contacts in the systems integration community? GDIT has 14,616 LinkedIn members. CACI taps in at 12,775, and Raytheon at 39,967.

The GovCon community, Feds and contractors, are on LinkedIn.

However, the vast majority of contractors have a "drive by" mentality when it comes to LinkedIn, using it only when they have a specific inquiry (who is the person that wants to connect, or who is the PM for SEWP at Red River).

We all use LinkedIn that way, but the more intelligent companies are using it to map out strategic connection strategies, meet key players, set up meetings, for account/agency-based marketing (ABM), for content sharing and much more.

LinkedIn should be a part of your end-of-FY marketing, and part of your year-round sales, marketing and business development efforts.


< I offer customized training on Social Selling for GovCon nationwide via webinar. Drop me a line for details - markamtower@gmail.com

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

VAR WARS continues - Art Richer moves to DLT

Holy guacamole Batman- Art Richer, president of the immixGroup for 18 years (1998-2016) has moved over to competitor DLT Solutions.



In February of 2015, international IT distributor Arrow bought immixGroup . In my LinkedIn post I said this would change the face of GovCon IT products sales over time.  Apparently the current investment bank owner of DLT agrees, at least to a point.

There have been numerous changes at the top levels of DLT over the past few weeks, but I have to say I was surprised to hear that Art Richer, one of the three architects of immixGroup (along with founder Jeff Copeland and Steve Charles) was moving into the top spot at DLT.

There are three major value-added distributors (VAD) in GovCon: Carahsoft (by far the largest), immixGroup (now owned by Arrow), and DLT. While DLT technically was first into this category, they have not experienced significant growth since Craig Abod (founder and CEO of Carahsoft) left in 2004.

Each of these VADs represents a suite of OEMs in the GovCon arena. Each has a good array of contracts (IDIQs, GWACs, BPAs and GSA) and each sells direct to Feds (and SLED) as well as working with other resellers in the channel.

So here's my take on why DLT has hired Art.

1) The owners are tired of being third in a three-horse race. Art is arguably the most talented person available and if anyone can spur growth, he's the one.

2) LPTA has made the channel tough for everyone, Each of the VADs has to work closer and more productively with OEMs and VARs to make this model profitable. I think Art will expand DLTs influence with the VARs.

3) There are other international distributors out there (Ingram Micro, TechData, Synnex and others) who are paying close attention to this as it develops.

Is Art at DLT to grow the business, sell the business, or both?

It makes me wonder why Arrow let Art go....

And it makes me wonder if Bob Laclede might end up at DLT as well. He knows the GovCon  VAR community better than anyone I know.

(I do not currently advise any of the companies in this post. These are my thoughts as a market observor.)


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Small contractor with an IDIQ not making much $? We need to talk...

Are you a small contractor that has a GSA Schedule, or prime spot on a GWAC or other IDIQ and you are not getting traction?

We should talk.

Winning business from an IDIQ is part art and part science, but requires planning, execution and making the right decisions.

Sometimes you need to make quick decisions and may not have sufficient data or the experience to make the best decision.

**When a major GovCon trade conference was announced two years ago, I advised my clients not to participate due to the event's lack of focus. Only one client did not listen and they spent over $35,000, plus time and personnel, in an event that was a three-day total flop. Prep time, staff time, cash spent and three days on-site at the event down the drain.

**One of my clients was considering joining a major trade association simply for exposure, and the fee to join was in the mid 4-figures. She brought this up during our regular call and I asked her if she had heard of a small group of contractors that targeted the agency where 80% of her work was performed, primarily as a sub-contractor.  She hadn't but after joining, she developed relationships with other small contractors and a few larger primes, and won more business.

The wrong decision can waste time and money.

The right adviser can help you make more money from contracts you already have.

My advice to client companies has saved time and money, led to extraordinary opportunities, identified key differentiators leading to significant market share, created media coverage, and generally helped companies establish a more viable and profitable presence in the government market. I have helped my clients dramatically increase the dollar value of their contracts, often spending much less on marketing.


If your marketing and business development efforts are not paying significant dividends, we should talk.

Due to requests and advice from a few friends, clients and former clients, I am offering a year-long GovCon Advisory Program. Rather than charge an hourly fee to companies tapping into my expertise on a semi-regular basis, I have created an advisory program that small companies can afford.

The Amtower GovCon Advisory Program includes:

- An initial planning session to map out your growth strategy

- A detailed review of your web site

- Monthly training on social selling techniques leveraging LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook

- Strategic introductions to subject matter experts, OEMs, channel partners, other contractors, federal managers, media and others

- Low-cost content marketing techniques

- Advice on selecting other outside services (events, associations, bidding services and more)

- Regular news alerts on your niche

- Regularly scheduled teleconferences for advice, updates, tracking progress, address problem areas, discuss opportunities and more

- Immediate access to advice from one of the most savvy government marketing professionals -when you need it.

Having an experienced government marketing adviser on call can save you money and help you make more money.

If this resonates with you and you want complete details, drop me a line NOW as we only have a limited number of openings for this program. 



markamtower@gmail.com   301 854 9493

Mark Amtower   Amtower & Company   www.FederalDirect.net

https://www.linkedin.com/in/markamtower/    @amtower


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Some Thoughts on GWACs: An Amtower Off-White Paper (take 2)

(Updated with a few corrections) 

Much has been written about GWACs over the past few years, both collectively and as individual contracts. In the fall of 2016, Bloomberg Government (BGov) released a study stating GWACs hit a record $10 billion in 2016. 

I agree it was a record year, but my tally shows about $15 billion. I got my data from the GSA GWAC dashboard, a call to the SEWP office and from having worked with NITAAC most of FY 2016. GSAs combined GWACs are nearly $6.2 billion, NITAACs 3 GWACs almost $5 billion, and SEWP came in at about $4 billion.

Regardless of the actual total, GWAC the dollars and growth are real. Everett Dirkson would be impressed, because now we're talking real money.

So overall a good year across the board for the eight GWACs. But before we proceed, here’s…


A Brief History of GWACs

As things go in GovCon, GWACs are a relatively new contracting method, the first being SEWP, a pilot GWAC awarded in November 1992, but the awards were delayed due to the Presidential transition until Feb 1993. This was a primarily single award contract, with one category having more than one awardee.

It was awarded as the pilot GWAC (a test case) under GSA delegation of procurement authority; Clinger-Cohen created the official Executive Agent designation for GWACs under OMB.

The second GWAC came in 1996, the HHS/NIH contract, ECS, was the first multiple-award GWAC that got significant traction for small businesses. ECS was awarded to three large companies, seven small companies and seven 8(a)s, and according the Federal Computer Week from a 1996 article, the smalls did pretty well.

SEWP I offered a category for multiple awards, but it was not until SEWP II that the MAC version was more fully implemented.

In the late 1990s there were several agencies trying to launch GWAC experiments, including Commerce, Transportation and Interior. They soon found that the successful management of a GWAC was not simple. Commerce punted COMMITS to GSA and to the best of my recollection, the others just folded up and went away.

So in the early 2000s, three agencies emerged from the quagmire with viable vehicles: NASA, NIH and GSA.

In the summer of 2006 I interviewed Max Peterson about selling to the government. In a four hour CD interview one of many stand-out quotes was as VP of Sales for CWD-G, his team had the “IT product trifecta: SEWP, ECS and GSA Schedule 70.” This, he said, covered all the agency bases.

Fast forward to today 25 years later, and there are still only three agencies authorized by OMB to award GWACS: GSA, HHS/NIH (NITAAC), and NASA. GSA contracts are Alliant II, Alliant II Small Business, 8(a) STARS II, and VETS. NITAAC contracts are CIO-SP3, CIO-SP3 Small business, and CIO-CS (formerly ECS). NASAs contract is SEWP V.

Eight GWACs and billions of bucks.

Back to the Present

Why the seemingly "sudden" growth in the popularity of GWACs? There are several factors.

First, and perhaps most obvious, many of the companies that own prime spots on the GWACs are out there actively pushing these vehicles to their customer and prospect base. The GWACs usually offer lower fees for agencies than the GSA Schedules, are very easy to use, have vetted providers, and have a broad range of products and services. The companies that are most successful on GWACs - even small companies - are aggressive in promoting those GWACs. Just look at the growth of Red River, a top SEWP perfomer over the past several years. Red River is also one of several contractor to hold both SEWP V and CIO-CS.

World Wide Technology, a SEWP contractor for 3 iterations and now on CIO-CS, has leveraged these vehicles very well over the years.

Which leads to factor two: OEMs and service providers love GWACs. OEMs without access to GWACs or other IDIQs have limited access to Federal buyers. When Oracle announced it would no longer make products available on any GSA Schedule, do you think it hurt their sales?

Probably not, as their partners in the GovCon arena own spots on multiple GWACs and other IDIQs. One major partner, DLT Solutions, is on SEWP V, CIO-CS and has an Army BPA for Oracle. Oracle's departure from GSA Schedules will hurt Schedule 70, not Oracle.

I advise hardware manufacturers to talk to both NITAAC and SEWP directly, then to look for key contract holders, preferably companies that have spots on both contracts. Adding new OEMs on SEWP and CIO-CS takes hours, not weeks or months. I often assist OEMs in their search for right channel partners.

Another factor contributing to the growth is the number of sub-contractors for these vehicles is growing. Most of the prime contract holders welcome the new subs if it is a good fit for them and the contract. Joanne Woytek of SEWP, Casey Kelley of Alliant and Rob Coen, then with NITAAC but now at FEDSIM all discussed this aspect of their respective contracts when they were guests on my radio show on Federal News Radio. GWACs and IDIQs are frequent topics on my show.

If you don't have a prime spot on one of the GWACs, look for a partner that does.

Yet another factor is that each of the GWAC program managers will spend time with any agency contract shop explaining how and why to use their contracts, as well as the lower fees and the ease of use. SEWP and NITAAC are quite active in this.

Alliant’s Casey Kelley and his team have taken spending time with agencies to a new level, getting agreements with some agencies (after mutual vetting for a good fit) to use Alliant as a preferred contract.

We are also seeing more contract specific training events, a key to educating both buyers and sellers. I have moderated GWAC panels at conferences like 930Gov  and the Government Procurement Conference because of the growing popularity of GWACs. Alliant, NITAAC and SEWP all held events in early 2017.

Then there is the FITARA halo effect. NITAAC has e-GOS, a dashboard that allows the agency (and the contractor) to see and download their entire transaction history: date, price paid, vendor, product/service, SIN, delivery and much more. This helps the buying agency when it does FITARA reporting. SEWP is launching a similar dashboard in 2017.





As FITARA will probably be with us for a while, the dashboards will make reporting almost seamless, making the contracts more attractive to CIOs, who are being held more accountable for IT purchases.

Where Does the GWAC Growth Come From?

Although there are other factors at play, when you tally the pluses of GWACs against the mis-adventures of strategic sourcing (FSSI), TDR and other GSA Schedule changes, GWACs come out looking like manna from heaven for both buyers and sellers.

Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQs) are contracts that have no money assigned specifically to the contract, but that are open to audiences defined by the type of contract. GWACs (Government-wide Acquisition Contract), for example, are IDIQ IT contracts open to all federal agencies, but like GSA Schedules, are simply a hunting license. 





The companies that win the coveted spots on each of the GWACs are pre-vetted through the award process, technically making them more attractive to all federal buyers. The bidding and award processes are vigorous, weeding out the contractors that are not ready for prime-time.

The dramatic growth for GWACs over recent years has caught the attention of many, making these coveted vehicles even more popular for both the contract holder and the buying agencies.

The question is how does the growth occur?

There is no question that the NITAAC GWACs growth during the Rob Coen years (2009-2016, and being PM from 2012-2016) was nothing short of spectacular. NITAAC is now under the direction of Acting PM Bridget Gauer with basically the same team, so growth should continue. The three NITAAC GWACs (CIO-SP3, CIO-SP3 Small Business and CIO-CS) combined for nearly $5 billion in 2016.

SEWP, under the guidance of Joanne Woytek for the last 18 years, has always been a great performer and sought after vehicle for contractors. Joanne has the most experience running a GWAC and the SEWP program is deservedly the best known GWAC in the GovCon arena. SEWP had its best year ever in 2016 with nearly $4 billion.

Casey Kelley and his Alliant team have another growing GWAC that has introduced a unique process for awarding contract wins. Alliant and the other GSA GWACs (Alliant II, Alliant II Small Business, 8aSTARS II, VETS2) combined for almost $6 billion in 2016.

Each of the GWAC Program Managers works hard for their contracts, but does that lead to the growth?



The answer is yes, with a caveat. The caveat is that like the GSA Schedule contracts, the GWACs and other multiple-award IDIQs have super-performers, adequate performers, and not-so-great performers. Companies with well-managed contracts help the GWACs grow.

The difference between the top performers and other contract holders comes down to how the program is managed on the contractor side. This includes several factors, among them:

-      -  The relationship between the contractor and the GWAC contract office, the teams on each side, is critical to growth. The government team can show no preference for any contractor, but each GWAC PM and their team is open to working with any contractor to help them be successful. SEWP’s Woytek personally visits each contract holder to ensure they understand the value of the vehicle and how to leverage it. This has been a trademark of SEWP for at least the last two iterations of the contract. Not all contractors take full advantage of this.

     -  Each GWAC has agencies that prefer their respective vehicles. While technically any agency can buy off any of these contracts, some agencies prefer CIO-CS over SEWP V and vice versa, some agencies have signed agreements with a GWAC to declare them a preferred vehicle, and so on. The contract holders that understand which agencies prefer which contracts, and grow deeper relationships with those agencies, tend to win more business through the contract. Not brain surgery, but also not a method employed by all.

-      -  The contractors willing to push the bounds of the contract into new agencies also find allies in the contract Program Managers. The PMs will help educate an agency on the value of their contract without endorsing any particular contractor. When a contractor takes this approach, it could be for several reasons, including their current relationships with that agency, or perhaps they uncovered a specific opportunity where a certain GWAC would be best used. In any case, this is a longer term tactic not employed by chronic under-performers.

     -  The approach by the contract holders on the sales, business development and marketing part of the equation differ widely. In part this is a resource issue (smaller companies have fewer resources to draw on) and in part it is because some companies with multiple contracts market all the contracts together, not each separately. Other companies still suffer under the misguided notion that winning a contract makes the phone ring. Not so. Aligning your marketing, BD and sales and creating specific programs to target specific opportunities increases sales. A separate Off-White Paper on this topic is forthcoming.

     -  The ability for contractors to respond quickly and accurately to the RFQs that come from the GWAC contract office is the most obvious part of the puzzle. However as we all know, responding to RFPs and RFQs is part art, part science, part reading between the lines and part knowing the customer and his/her preferences on both the responses and the bidders knowledge of the agency and how that plays out in the response by the contractor.

While this is not a complete inventory of factors for why some companies perform better than others, it does touch on some significant points.

My point is winning a spot on a great contract is just the beginning of the process.
Growing the contract business is the job of the GWAC PM. Growing your share of that business is up to you.

That combination makes the GWAC more attractive to government buyers.


Why some GWAC contractors are better at monetizing contracts




Here are a few final thoughts on why some GWAC contractors do better than others.

First, contractors with good relationships to OEMs often have an easier time with vendor registrations. Which leads to…

Contractors that know the target agency better than others are more likely to know when something is coming to fruition. One of my contractor friends has a DHS rep second to none. Consequently, this rep surpasses his goals and drives significant business through various contracts, but does so because of a deep knowledge of the agency and knowing exactly when to get his contracting office to register a deal.

Third, knowing when to take your executives to client meetings is critical in building a relationship with the customer. I’ve seen too many smaller companies where this simply does not occur.

GWACs are only as good as the GWAC program office. SEWP has been a leader in this realm, but NITAAC and Alliant have closed the gap.  The Alliant team is the best of the GSA GWACs. (1)

In the end, it’s relationships: contractor of GWAC program office, contractor to agency, contractor to OEM.



Back to the Future


Given the uncertainty about the budget (perpetual continuing resolution and civilian agency spending) and the direction the new administration might take on both program and procurement issues, I think the use of established GWACs and IDIQs like OASIS will rise dramatically over the next few years.

Not that I have an opinion.


***

(1): there was nothing about VETS and 8(a) STARS in this because neither seems to have great traction, and I don’t hear much about either contract from media or industry. If you have details on either, drop me a line.

* This article is a combination of two recent blog posts and one newsletter article. I merged them into one piece to organize my own thoughts, then share them. This version was first published in my newsletter, The Amtower Report.

If you need help maximizing the dollar value of your GWAC, email me at markamtower@gmail.com 

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Growth of GWACs: An Amtower Off-White Paper*

(updated version here)

Let me preface this by saying I am not a contract expert – I am a marketing guy. However, over the last 30+ years I have advised thousands of companies on how to maximize the dollar value of contracts in the federal market. Several of those I have advised became or remain market leaders. My experience marketing GWACs dates back to the mid-1990s when I was an advisor to PRC on the SuperMini contract, the 2nd GWAC ever awarded.

Great- that’s out of the way.
Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQs) are contracts that have no money assigned specifically to the contract, but that are open to audiences defined by the type of contract. GWACs (Government-wide Acquisition Contract), for example, are IDIQ IT contracts open to all federal agencies, but like GSA Schedules, are simply a hunting license.  
This paper will focus on GWACs.
The companies that win the coveted spots on each of the GWACs are pre-vetted through the award process, technically making them more attractive to all federal buyers. the bidding and award process are vigorous, weeding out the contractors that not ready for prime-time.
So- to the point. The dramatic growth for GWACs over recent years has caught the attention of many, making these coveted vehicles even more popular for both the contract holder and the buying agencies.
The question is how does the growth occur?


There is no question that the NITAAC GWACs growth during the Rob Coen years (2009-2016, and being PM from 2012-2016) was nothing short of spectacular. NITAAC is now under the direction of Acting PM Bridget Gauer with basically the same team, so growth should continue. The three NITAAC GWACs (CIO-SP3, CIO-SP3 Small Business and CIO-CS) combined for nearly $5 billion in 2016.


SEWP, under the guidance of Joanne Woytek for the last 18 years, has always been a great performer and sought after vehicle for contractors. Joanne has the most experience running a GWAC and the SEWP program is deservedly the best known GWAC in the GovCon arena. SEWP had its best year ever in 2016 with nearly $4 billion.


Casey Kelley and his Alliant team have another growing GWAC that has introduced has introduced a unique process for awarding contract wins. Alliant and the other GSA GWACs (Alliant II, Alliant II Small Business, 8aSTARS II, VETS2) combined for almost $6 billion in 2016.
Each of the GWAC Program Managers works hard for their contracts, but does that lead to the growth?
The answer is yes, with a caveat. The caveat is that like the GSA Schedule contracts, the GWACs and other multiple-award IDIQs have super-performers, adequate performers, and not-so-great performers. Companies with well-managed contracts help the GWACs grow.
The difference between the top performers and other contract holders comes down to how the program is managed on the contractor side. This includes several factors, among them:
-        The relationship between the contractor and the GWAC contract office, the teams on each side, is critical to growth. The government team can show no preference for any contractor, but each GWAC PM and their team is open to working with any contractor to help them be successful. SEWP’s Woytek personally visits each contract holder to ensure they understand the value of the vehicle and how to leverage it. This has been a trademark of SEWP for at least the last two iterations of the contract. Not all contractors take full advantage of this.
-        Each GWAC has agencies that prefer their respective vehicles. While technically any agency can buy off any of these contracts, some agencies prefer CIO-CS over SEWP V and vice versa, some agencies have signed agreements with a GWAC to declare them a preferred vehicle, and so on. The contract holders that understand which agencies prefer which contracts, and grow deeper relationships with those agencies, tend to win more business through the contract. Not brain surgery, but also not a method employed by all.
-        The contractors willing to push the bounds of the contract into new agencies also find allies in the contract Program Managers. The PMs will help educate an agency on the value of their contract without endorsing any particular contractor. When a contractor takes this approach, it could be for several reasons, including their current relationships with that agency, or perhaps they uncovered a specific opportunity where a certain GWAC would be best used. In any case, this is a longer term tactic not employed by chronic under-performers.
-        The approach by the contract holders on the sales, business development and marketing part of the equation differ widely. In part this is a resource issue (smaller companies have fewer resources to draw on) and in part it is because some companies with multiple contracts market all the contracts together, not each separately. Other companies still suffer under the misguided notion that winning a contract makes the phone ring. Not so. Aligning your marketing, BD and sales and creating specific programs to target specific opportunities increases sales. A separate Off-White Paper on this topic is forthcoming.



-        The ability for contractors to respond quickly and accurately to the RFQs that come from the GWAC contract office is the most obvious part of the puzzle. However as we all know, responding to RFPs and RFQs is part art, part science, part reading between the lines and part knowing the customer and his/her preferences on both the responses and the bidders knowledge of the agency and how that plays out in the response by the contractor.
While this is not a complete inventory of factors for why some companies perform better than others, it does touch on some significant points.
My point is winning a spot on a great contract is just the beginning of the process.
Growing the contract business is the job of the GWAC PM. Growing your share of that business is up to you.

That combination makes the GWAC more attractive to government buyers.

***

If you aren't getting traction from your GWAC, we should talk. Send me an email at markamtower@gmail.com 

·      *   The Amtower Off-White Papers began in mid-1998 with “The GSA Schedule Results,” the first study showing that growth on the GSA Schedule was contractor-driven (see link below). The growth drivers at that time were Dell, Gateway and Micron PC. My Off-White Papers are based on market observations and my market knowledge, not scientific research. Each Off-White Paper uses facts, market observations and my point of view, honed by experience and constant observation of the key and emerging players. The term “Off-White” is my differentiator, indicating that the conclusions are predicated on how I see things playing out at a particular moment in time in the complex world of government contracting.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

LinkedIn Black Belt Workshop returns to Columbia March 7, 2-5PM

If you have the new LinkedIn user Interface, you are probably wondering where some of the functionality disappeared to. This is one of may topics that I'll address int e the March 7 LinkedIn Black Belt Workshop.

Seating is limited to the first 18, so register now!



If this is your year for LinkedIn, this is your workshop. Only 18 seats per session. Real info from the front lines of LinkedIn - stuff you can use today, tomorrow and going forward.

Learn the tactics that make you and your company stand out in your niche.

Without a doubt, LinkedIn is the premier social network for business professionals. With over 465 million business professionals and over 11 million individual company profiles, LinkedIn is the place to be found, and to find and connect with influencers in your market niche.

However it is estimated that fewer than 20% of LinkedIn members use it effectively, and less than 10% truly maximize the value this powerful tool can bring to you and your company. It is time for you to migrate to LinkedIn power user!

LinkedIn has
-      465 million+ members
-      1.6 million federal managers, IT profiessionals and employees
-      Millions of seaches every day are done on LinkedIn
-      Almost 12 million company profiles
-      Over 3 million groups representing every imaginable business niche
-      All Fortune 500 are represented
-      YOUR PROSPECTS (they are here)!


And you have the opportunity to stand out!


Attend the LinkedIn Black Belt Workshop and you will learn how to

-      Design a strategy that fits your business goals
-      Create a powerful LinkedIn profile that attracts targeted prospects and encourages people to connect with you
-      Find and connect with those who can help your business grow- prospects, partners, media and more
-      Select the groups that will pay dividends
-      Find and develop content to share in those groups that makes you stand out
-      Get more recommendations and endorsements
-      Get on the radar of decision-makers who buy what you sell
-      Develop and defend a “subject matter expert” platform
-      Create a company profile that attracts the right people
-      Stand out in your market niche
-      Q&A  and much more!


Questions?  email markamtower@gmail.com


Registration is $195 - and seating is LIMITED!


Monday, February 13, 2017

Welcome to LinkedIn Lite



Ever try putting together a jigsaw puzzle only to find several key pieces missing?




Welcome to LinkedIn Lite - tastes like crap and is less fulfilling of your business needs than ever before.

Over the past few years LinkedIn has been removing features that many found useful, including

- the Q&A forum
- the events calendar
- the group statistics
- getting introduced (part of the messaging)
- BCC  removed from :bulk" messages
- the ability to reply to connection requests before accepting
- the "advanced search" capability
- the ability to view people's entire profiles without having to click "see more"
- seeing the groups your connections belonged to
- and now, the ability to post

This is far from the entire list, but you get the point.

Some LinkedIn members may not know all of these, but those who've been on the platform for a longer time may recall some or most of them.

Bottom line? The overall functionality of LinkedIn is going down in a big way for those not willing to pay $900 a year for Sales Navigator. 

In my market, U.S. government contracting, government employees are not going to pay the $900, nor will the agency they work for. This will drive the value down the value for federal managers, and they will use the platform less. This, in turn, will reduce the value for contractors, who will then use it less.

My market is measured in $Trillion$, and LinkedIn is trying to get the federal government to use the HR platform for recruiting. With the reduced functionality AND the ridiculously high price for the Sales Navigator, Federal and state and local governments will find much less value in using LinkedIn.

For over a decade, LinkedIn worked hard to build a great for social networking platform business, and largely they succeeded. However over the past few years, much of the value for active LinkedIn members has either evaporated or migrated to Sales Navigator.

As LinkedIn approaches year 14 (it launched May 5, 2003), 460+ million LinkedIn members are asking "WTF?!?!?"

So, welcome to LinkedIn Lite -tastes like crap and is less fulfilling of your business needs than ever before.