Let’s call it a PR epiphany. No, let’s call it an enlightenment. Ok, maybe I’m pushing this a bit.
Here’s the realization that occurred. As sales manager, I am relatively new to the IrisPR team. And anytime you join a new company, you learn the story of the company. You learn about the vision; the mission; the goals; the values.
But let’s be honest - typically as you learn these things, you’re mostly memorizing words placed in front of you. After all, it’s difficult to truly absorb the essence of the company on your 2nd or 3rd day of employment. At that point, you’re still trying to figure out what passwords to use for all your logins. “Is ASDF1234” a secure password…? Hmmm.”
As you move deeper into your company role, it’s time to learn the “what” and the “how” of the job. There’s usually no deeper meaning behind these at that particular moment in time. I’m not sure, but I don’t believe that Deepak Chopra ever wrote a book called “The Spirit Behind Updating Your CRM Records.” Just sayin.’
Then as you acclimate and begin to get into the flow of your job, there comes this feeling of contribution. A feeling that says that I do provide value to this company. Now you’re getting to the soul of who you are and the unique puzzle piece you represent.
And then comes the hardest and best part of this learning curve: failure. Oh, you will fail. You will make the “I’m still new here” mistakes. Congratulations! This is awesome because now you can learn from these failures - make the right adjustments and move on to the next one. You build your character and test your fortitude as you become invested in the task ahead.
I’m at the 6 week mark at IrisPR, which means I’ve done my fair share of failing and making the necessary adjustments to manifest my value in this amazing company. Which brings me to the enlightening aspect of my learning phase.
Here’s what happened: I had a horrible day. There was no particular incident that triggered this crappy 24 hours (didn’t stub my toe; didn’t forget my phone charger; didn’t accidentally listen to a Drake song all the way through). It was simply a bad day. So after work, I went home and relaxed and began to adjust my thoughts to salvage the day. I am a firm believer that thought creates reality – that as you think, as you act, so you are.
So within these thoughts, I began to question my professional “purpose.” Why did I choose to work for a software startup? Why did I feel it necessary to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself in this way?
The same answer came back each time: “To make a difference.” I know, kinda corny. But it was the sincere answer.
So I began to think about my sales function of being someone who is at the forefront of speaking to potential customers. Every day I communicate with PR professionals who often don’t even know that there is a better way of managing data, measuring results and building media connections. They want better PR measurement and media relations management - they're just not aware that PR software can do this for them.
The thought occurred to me that in order to better connect with our customers I need to do so from a place of sincerity and “individualism.” So now I’m doing just that. I focus on who I’m contacting and then build the communication based on my knowledge of that person. It’s not about speaking to an interchangeable customer but about addressing an individual with unique PR needs, questions and goals. It’s about recognition.
So here’s the epiphany … ready? During my 2nd and 3rd day of learning the IrisPR vision / mission / values, we discussed the PR philosophy of 1:1 engagement. We talked about why making a personal, authentic connection is critical in building relationships. Approaching each media contact and influencer contact as an individual – learning the reporter’s beat and interests, their communication preferences – helps the PR pros hit their goals and helps the reporters get relevant stories.
Similarly, tailoring each conversation I have with a PR pro helps me solve their specific challenges and helps them get better results. So from day 3 to 6 weeks (and all the wonderful failures in between), I am now coming full circle in the lesson of 1:1 connections, based upon the one thing that is needed for success: purpose. Ka-Pow!!!