Mi6 Roundup: LinkedIn’s Disconnect, Budgets, IoT and Innovation

This Mi6 Round Up asks if there is a disconnect with LinkedIn management and their members and answers the question “how much should I spend on marketing and sales”. We suggest that IoT will be adopted by enterprises but warn that security needs to be at the core of all IoT products and services. Finally, we share great insights from leaders on what it takes to lead in today’s business climate and new ways to innovate using agile methods and teams.

Mi6 Round Ups are published twice a month and feature summaries and opinion on 6 handpicked articles that caught our eye in the areas sales and marketing; technology and the c-suite.

Sales and Marketing

1) The Disconnect with LinkedIn Executives and the Rest of Us.

LinkedIn’s Mission is to “Connect the World’s Professionals to Make Them More Productive and Successful” which, according to Mike Gamson, SVP of Solutions for LinkedIn,  is “nestled inside of a bigger idea or dream” which is their vision. What’s LinkedIn’s vision you ask? In one word “economic opportunity”. LinkedIn wants us to see them as the network for creating economic opportunity for all members. While I don’t disbelieve them I think they’ve got to roll up their sleeves and start focusing on making LinkedIn’s overall user experience better for web and mobile. They need to be very clear and specific on how they define “economic opportunity” and show examples of how that is being achieved. They need to get in front of more members and listen and learn and get grounded. In fact, quite often, what’s coming out of the mouths of LinkedIn leaders and what they are sharing contradicts what I’m seeing and hearing amongst those that use LinkedIn.

In my discussions with members and executives, there are many questions being asked about the value that LinkedIn delivers. There’s too much garbage being shared by people, one word comments on Pulse articles, too many fake accounts and generic connection requests, algorithms gone wild and spamming of groups. In fact, recent changes to LinkedIn groups shows a clear disconnect between LinkedIn’s product management team and members and users. We’re a big fan of LinkedIn and still see it as a core network to use for B2B professionals … but the reality is what LinkedIn executives are selling … many people aren’t buying… including their stockholders, members and customers. LinkedIn has solid bones and good people working there. I just wonder whether they think they’re a shade off track or not. Watch Mike’s Keynote presentation below and you be the judge.

Here’s a great example, and piece of content, showing how LinkedIn generated a lot more than economic opportunity for Meg Harris and her daughter and thousands of families faced with neurological disorders.

2) How Much Should My Company Spend on Marketing and Sales?

We get this question quite often and quite frankly there isn’t one clear answer. It depends on various factors including how old your company is, the nature in which your solution is best sold and bought, the average sale and sales cycle … and the list grows on an on. But, it’s a fair and necessary question to ask. So, you ask and we shall provide! In his article,What percentage of revenue should B2B companies spend on marketing and sales?” Ian Dainty draws on his personal experience and research on what Apple, Microsoft and IBM spend on sales and marketing. In all three cases they spend more money on marketing and sales than R&D. Ian recommends that spending at least 15% of your revenue on sales and marketing.

Also, here’s a recent tweet conversation I had with Joy Karp who provides some solid advice based on her experience in marketing.


3) Why IoT Will Be Adopted by Enterprises

This is an interesting post, and report, by Teena Madox from Tech Pro Research. In, BYOD, IoT and wearables thriving in the enterprise Teena defines, in our view, why IoT will be adopted by companies. The key business driver is the consumerism of IT. The reality facing most IT departments is that employees are bringing, and in some cases encouraged, to bring in their own technologies into the workplace. In fact many companies have formal Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs in place. Also, employees are choosing to buy inexpensive cloud applications because their IT departments are too slow, inflexible and a pain in the neck. It’s not unusual to find out that a marketing department is using Google docs to collaborate on a project. Or, a sales department signs up to use a CRM application.

So, where does IoT fit into this? We’re now bringing our smart phones and wearing our Apple Watch or FitBit to work. These are IoT related devices coming into the workplace. As more and more devices and other things become “smart” we will be taking them to work with us. As more and more applications of IoT are created more and more use cases for the workforce and enterprises will become clear. Consumers are enterprise users and buyers of technology. They bring the tech to work, they buy tech (sometimes behind the IT departments back) for themselves and their departments… do you think IoT will be any different?

4) Why Consumer Beware Doesn’t Cut in When it Comes to IoT

Manufacturers of “connected devices” and “communities” need to step up and make sure that their products, systems and sites are hardened and secure. It’s troubling to know that “security camera’s” in the home can be hacked easily is just a signal of what could follow if companies aren’t held accountable. They must ensure that their devices can’t be hacked and that their customers know explicitly what they must do on their end to ensure safety. In this article, “As more devices go online, hackers hunt for vulnerabilities” you can see how easy it was for someone to gain access to an IoT enable security camera (a bit ironic huh?!). And, hacking consumer IoT devices isn’t the only “opportunity”. Infrastructure, including traffic management systems, are vulnerable. The buck starts and stops with the manufactures of IoT devices and software publishers to plug this gap.


5) What Does it Take to Lead In Today’s Business Climate?

If you need help in understanding what companies and leaders are facing this article, 12 Critical Competencies For Leadership in the Future by Tanmay Vora is a must read. The article defines the reality we face today which is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA). The words distraction and disruption are part of today’s business language and conversations. To address this you need to be a different type of leader, one that works.. or better still… engineers a flat organization that is flexible and manages in the moment and can act and adjust. Tanmay, provides a really good set of leadership competencies, that he believes, are necessary in today’s VUCA climate. Two very interesting insights that stand out for me in this post are related to having a compelling purpose and how that will drive profits. And, how hierarchical structures are fading away to give way to purposeful networks and communities of people working together to achieve a shared purpose.

6) How Can Your CIO Create an Agile Company?

In Marie Glenn’s post, Jeff Smith: Lessons from IBM’s CIO on scaling agile, Jeff outlines the keys to creating an agile organization. We like his three precepts that guide IBM’s approach to agile: Clarity, Course Correction and Self Directed teams. The reason why a company implements agile, and other more flexible frameworks and methods such as Lean and Design Thinking, is to innovate. 

SEE ALSO: What is Disruptive Innovation? Where’s it Happening Now?

Innovation is a word that means everything and nothing at the same time. We all know we have to “innovate”. But, in order to do that you need to become familiar with frameworks and working “systems” and structures that enable innovation. You need to understand how teams work productively and create a culture of learning, experimentation and constraints. This is an excellent post because we get to see, through the eyes of a CIO (and former CEO), how he’s creating an agile culture and mindset at IBM.

Chris HerbertChris Herbert is the founder of Mi6. Mi6 is a B2B (Business to Business) marketing and business development agency dedicated to helping companies build their brands and develop commercial relationships. He is the founder of ProductCamp Toronto and the Hi-tech community Silicon Halton. He tweets under the handle @B2Bspecialist.