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TREND MICRO – Customer Communication 2.0
Trend Micro is one of the leading international providers of cybersecurity and the global market leader in cloud security. Its solutions enable companies, government agencies and end-users to securely exchange digital information.
The Problem Faced: Customer acquisition in times of lockdown
Christina Decker assumed a new position at Trend Micro in January 2020 as Head of Channel & Alliances Germany. The team was just starting to grow together when a few weeks later corona infection figures in Germany skyrocketed and the lockdown was imminent. What is the next step now? How will we communicate with our business partners and external customers in the future if we cannot visit them personally? These were the questions that preoccupied Christina Decker, but she quickly came up with a solution. Two weeks earlier, she had been at Microsoft's International Women's Day 2020 in Munich, where she had heard Franziska Schaadt’s and Katja Pischel’s presentations. Katja Pischel is one of the top personal branding experts for specialists and executives in the German IT industry. Franziska & Katja shared their knowledge about Personal Branding and for the first time had drawn Christina's attention to the topic of Social Selling and its great importance in today's sales routine. Both topics seemed very important to her and together they resulted in a well-rounded event.
Selection of the coaching & participants
The combined knowledge of personal branding & storytelling on social media (focus LinkedIn) is a great toolbox that Christina wanted to give to her colleagues at Trend Micro. Therefore, she booked seven coaching units: Three webinars with Katja on personal branding and then four webinars on social selling & LinkedIn by Franziska.
Since these topics will continue to be very relevant in the future, she took the whole team, which is responsible for the external partners at Trend Micro, into the coaching. Also, the sales engineers and the colleague who is responsible for PR work in marketing were added. Christina was aware that the seven coaching sessions were only the beginning of an exciting journey and were primarily able to convey the tools of the trade. The implementation afterward would be done by the team. The large extent with which the employees of Trend Micro were involved in the coaching made it clear to everyone how important the topic is and led also to a strong connection and a common language among the colleagues.
Findings through & after the coaching
For the newly formed team it was a real bonding: Because in personal branding, you first look inwards, analyze your own strengths and values. The team found Katja's support very helpful, as it takes some effort to reveal personal things that create trust. The openness that each of the participants showed brought the team very much together. In the exclusively created LinkedIn group for the Trend Micro team, communication was diligently carried out and a unique momentum developed.
"The coaching sessions gave us an incredible team spirit and, in my opinion, the fact that we were so fresh together as a team made us grow together incredibly strong. The insights from the coaching sessions were a great learning experience and super important. I can say that it was a great development for the whole team. We had great feedback from all participants, already after the first coaching sessions", Christina enthuses afterward.
All this was a good basis for the second part, when it came to storytelling. Because now everyone had a good view of themselves and how they were perceived by their colleagues. The awareness of how the outside world perceives you is an important component of storytelling. Since this was already present among the participants at the time, Franziska was able to go directly into depth with the participants, convey expert knowledge of storytelling, and shed light on the sticking points.
"I assumed that I already had a plan about storytelling and in principle knew how to do it. However, we all realized very quickly that we were still at the beginning. We made small mistakes, but at the end of the day, they had a big impact. We learned a lot in Franziska's coaching about LinkedIn's algorithms and the importance of emotions in storytelling," says Christina Decker.
Successes that Trend Micro could celebrate immediately
Thanks to the great toolbox that the participants now had at hand and the unbelievable momentum that the team developed and strengthened enormously, Trend Micro was already able to achieve success during the coaching: Through the feedback from their customers, they quickly learned that the counterpart could be reached on a completely different level when working with images and emotions. Even if a good post is work, and time and ideas have to be invested to present a great story, the effort is definitely worth it. The participants reported intensive feedback from their customers. All recognized that a personal touch creates very strong trust, leads to reactions, and thus to contact the customer and often to a shortened sales cycle.
Already within a few weeks, the participants had completely different networks, which had grown significantly in a very short time and the feedback also increased significantly in quantity & quality. According to Christina Decker, the team was at a completely different point after these 7 webinars than just a few weeks before; the participants were enthusiastic and the customers confirmed the success. The initial situation and also the usage behavior of the participants had completely changed.
"We all learned incredibly much. The outcome has made a big difference in many, many areas: For the team and also for communication, in times of digitalization, to use such media.”
“These days, this is something you should simply deal with, regardless of whether or not a virus is currently preventing customers from visiting your site. Social Selling is a very, very important cornerstone in sales, which companies should definitely set and use now", says Christina Decker. "Everything we had hoped for from the coaching has come true. Significantly more, in fact. The team spirit and motivation that Franziska and Katja brought to the team with the topics were not on the agenda at all.”
Christina is convinced that every area, not just sales, can benefit from social selling and that is exactly what her next steps are – to bring the topic and the enthusiasm to all areas.