Friday, August 13, 2010

Value Proposition Campaigns

Pretty much all of my posts so far have been about how to get a “job”, as in an existing, defined role in an existing, defined company. You know the drill, create resume, find an opportunity, then apply or try to identify who the hiring influence is etc. A second process would be to work your network until someone tells you about an opportunity that hasn’t been advertised and follow up with the person who needs the new help. Both of these can work and for many roles those are the two most effective ways for finding a new job. There is another approach and for some kinds of opportunities it’s especially useful.

Smaller companies, say less than $20m in yearly revenue, simply can’t afford hiring one of the big search firms to find their most senior executives, and frankly putting an ad on Craig’s List for a new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is pretty tacky and simply not going to net an interesting candidate. So how is this new CFO found?

There are a few ways, but only one of them is the subject of this post. This isn’t especially original, but it seems difficult for people to do; it’s the creation of a “value proposition campaign”. Using the above example, you are a Stanford MBA, CPA and have the requisite experience. For whatever reason you are now looking for your next opportunity and your target is CFO of a medical manufacturing company with between $5m and $20m in revenue.

The theory is very straight forward: Identify the 2 or 3 things you are sure will be needed by every company in this sector and that you have done well and look forward to doing again, write them down (on paper) and snail mail them to the CEO. Follow up 2 or 3 days later asking the CEO if you can sit down over coffee to discuss how this might benefit his/her company. Pretty simple, right? Unfortunately, the devil is in the details.

Trying to cover the various parts of this process in a single post is pretty hopeless, so I’ll break it into parts:

• This is the intro (of course) and covers the concept and what to expect the next few entries to entail.

• Market research/identification, how do you find the companies you want to send these letters to? What about the name of the CEO? What about whether a company even has a CFO currently?

• Creating the letter

• Getting the interview

• Asking for the sale

This is going to be interesting.

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