One of my company, Mitra Creative‘s, most important clients is Derive Technologies. We produced Derive’s now multi-award-winning interactive site, and continue to work with them to refine their messaging, support ongoing needs for their website — including the development of new tools, SEO, drawing additional business development/lead generation value from it, and much more — and .
Derive is a renowned, Wall Street Area-based Infrastructure consultancy which has served the needs of New York businesses for more than two decades. Their reputation as technology problem-solvers for small to large clients in the Healthcare, Financial Services, State and Local Government, Legal, Advertising, and Education industries is nearly legendary. Leading worldwide brands such as Hewlett-Packard (HP), Microsoft and Citrix have turned to Derive not just as high-volume sellers of their services, but as Elite, Platinum and Gold alliance partners–the highest level of relationship that solution providers like Derive can attain. With Citrix, Derive is a “Platinum Solution Advisor,” wherein, according to Citrix, they “play a big role in Citrix processes, programs and policies and are a valuable business resource in designing and improving our route to market engines with customers.” Derive also maintains Platinum, Gold and other marquis-level relationships with giants such as Cisco, VMware, Panasonic and others, and has built a powerful Healthcare technology specialization extending far beyond standard IT sales and support.
Derive’s John Wood, a partner in the business, and the company’s Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Development, is a visionary. He attended several of the seminars that I have been giving on behalf of Mitra Creative — largely, to-date, for Microsoft partners — about Web 2.0 origins and tools, and the use of online social communities/social networking, Blogging, and social sharing for business development, lead-generation, problem-solving, viral marketing, talent recruitment and more. Most of the presentations that I have made have been to the owners of IT Business Consultancies and to marketers. After seeing/hearing one of my presentations, the highly forward-thinking John Wood asked me to give a talk on the same topic to Derive’s Sales team. Challenged with giving Sales professionals tools to increase their customer reach, John is not satisfied only using the “standard” techniques and offerings that are commonplace in the IT Channel. He sees the current and future wave of social media and wants to get the Derive team ahead of the curve.
I attended, and made my “IT Business 2.0” presentation in, a Derive Sales meeting, held yesterday (6/16/2009). I was thrilled to observe such attentive faces and active listening as I discussed the use of communities such as LinkedIn as a “living CRM” for business development and resource acquisition, the social-professional use of Facebook profiles and pages — including a “how-to” guide and responding to questions about appropriateness and methods of personal and professional information sharing — the power of twitter and micro-blogging, the reach of viral marketing through social sharing/bookmarking (especially to promote company — and/or company + partner — events and news), the use of other social networks (especially contextual and industry-specific networks), my Web 2.0 “chaos theory” (yes, “good chaos!”), etc. During and after the hour-long presentation, there was plenty of lively dialogue and were many questions. The time flew by… and I was barely able to scratch the surface! I felt that, both for the audience and for me, there was a hunger for more. I was right–at least 10 members of the Sales team asked me to come back and do a follow-up session. Before I could say that I’d be happy to approach John about scheduling another appearance, the next question from these Sales executives — of many different professional profiles, ages, etc. — was “when?”… this, meaning how soon can you (*I) do it?
John Wood knew the session would be very valuable for Derive’s Sales team and that they would have interest in the topic. However, when I told him that so many people approached me about a follow-up presentation, he was bowled over by their enthusiasm. “I’ve been in this business for more than 20 years…” John said to me. “In all that time, and after sitting through countless presentations to Sales, I’ve NEVER remembered this team, or any Sales team, asking for someone to come back again. CONGRATULATIONS.” (He followed this with a high-five-like handshake.) Always the cutting-edge marketer, now eager to adopt the principles of Web 2.0, John then said: “You should talk about what happened today at Derive on the Mitra Creative Blog and let everyone know about it. I encourage everyone in the Channel to engage Mitra to educate them on this important topic!”
I look forward to the next session for Derive — which we will schedule soon (in which I will speak about the nuts and bolts of permissions and privacy, more about the tactical use of contextual and vertical social networks, about Blogging, and about creating and implementing a corporate policy on Social Media use) — and to conducting more of these programs for other important IT Business Solution providers.