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LinkedIn cited as critical tool

Yissum maximizes IP marketing efforts by harnessing social networks

This article appeared in the July 2016 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. Click here for a free sample issue or click here to subscribe.

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As the effectiveness of social networking in tech transfer has become increasingly apparent, more and more TTO leaders have engaged with a number of social networks to enhance their marketing efforts. But while many have enjoyed some level of success from their endeavors, it is unlikely that few, if any, can match the nearly 40,000 LinkedIn connections and impressive business achievements achieved by Tamir Huberman, MSc, BSc, vice president of business development for computer science and IT director at Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ltd. He also serves as IT director at ITTN.

Huberman’s involvement with social networking began when he realized there was something missing in Yissum’s marketing efforts. While he had helped Yissum make great strides with the development of its TTM Software, he knew that was not sufficient. TTM had enabled the collection and organization of data on Yissum’s numerous activities (at any one time Yissum will be licensing or patenting about 350-400 technologies). TTM also tracks royalties, sublicenses, milestone payments, and other data surrounding the tech transfer enterprise. “We have already gotten ten-fold out of our investment in TTM,” Huberman asserts. (For more on TTM, see Intellectual Property Marketing Advisor June 2009, p.70; “Custom-built IP Management Software Enhances Marketing for Yissum.”)

Recent upgrades have further enhanced data management at Yissum, he continues. “We are now using two systems,” says Huberman. “The older system, called IntelliVIEW, is for slicing and dicing data anywhere you like.” Now, however, Yissum also employs Qlik View, which he calls “one of the best [business intelligence] systems in the world. We get reports automatically by e-mail; it sits on TTM and generates what you like.”

Still, as far back as 2008, he realized that TTM could not do all the selling for Yissum. “The first big resolution was knowing what was going on at Yissum; that was TTM,” he explains. “But the idea was, how do we let the world know what we have to offer?”

Much of the world knows now; Huberman has about 38,000 first connections through LinkedIn, and he is the owner of more than 15 LinkedIn groups. And while he also participates in Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, he asserts that LinkedIn offers by far the best social media for B2B. “That’s a lot of power,” he asserts. “You can showcase technologies on your website, but [without LinkedIn] nobody knows about them in relevant groups on social media.”

“Aha!” moment gets things rolling

While SEO alone can be effective, says Huberman, it is difficult and insufficient. “An effective effort costs hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he asserts. “When you have a gorgeous one-stop shop but no one knows about it, you want to meet or write to the right people.”

Huberman recalls the thought process that ultimately led to social networking. “We would sit and think ‘Who would want to sign license deals for our technologies?’” he says. “We mentioned Google, or Intel, but it was impossible to reach those people. We had mailing lists as a way to try to engage them, but the response rate was really low; nobody knew Yissum.”

His first step was building a LinkedIn profile — and building it, as he says, ‘correctly.’ “People only get back if your profile makes sense,” he observes. “We made it powerful, which took six months.”

This, of course, included using the right keywords. But in addition, says Huberman, “a lot of profiles exist that do not have sufficient text — a summary, details about what people do in their current job. If someone is searching, for example, for a start-up innovation expert in Israel, I want to be found; that’s a must.”

Next, he adds, you must use the right multi-media. “People sometimes take their profile picture from Facebook,” Huberman notes. “I tell them you have to be put on LinkedIn as you would dress for the most important meeting in the most important deal you ever made — not in shorts on the beach. Dress in a suit, with a nice, one-color background with high quality.”

Since LinkedIn is so textual, he continues, “it only takes a second to know if you are professional or not.” Multi-media presentations add to the feeling of professionalism, Huberman notes. “Also, you need to have at least 500 connections or people will say you’re not using this tool at all,” he observes. “You could have a great profile, but with 100 connections people will say, ‘Okay, this guy is not serious.’”

So, armed with his “powerful” profile and his 500 connections, Huberman was prepared for his “Aha!” moment — when he truly realized the potential of LinkedIn. “The first e-mail I wrote was direct to Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon); I heard from his personal secretary after less than two days and that was a game-changer,” Huberman says. “I realized this was a tool to get in touch with almost anyone you want to in a short amount of time.”(For more of Huberman’s LinkedIn “success stories,” see the sidebar below.)

Creating connections

In addition to creating a profile that attracted great interest, Huberman has used several other approaches to increase his connections. For example, he has created numerous groups, which he refers to as channels. He has channels for computer science, agriculture, life science, drug development, and so on. “In each subsection I put the relevant Yissum technologies and upload them for the groups,” he explains. He also uses the groups for licensing, for events, and even for talent searches. “We completely changed the model at Yissum; we search for talent that could not only take the technologies and bring them to market but also for potential CEOs,” he says, noting that he gets so many leads he can usually find someone in less than a day.

Huberman also is connected to numerous consultants via LinkedIn, who he can reach out to for leads, or when he needs information on a market in which he does not have the necessary level of expertise. “LinkedIn has the best database in the world to search for people,” he notes. “I searched for people who were the best in their field; it took years, but I connected to them. Now I have hundreds — mainly in computer science — and if I want to license a technology I get in touch with them and ask them if they think it is interesting, or who might be interested.”

Infrastructure, or what Huberman calls the profile, is also critical, but in addition to the personal profile it should also include a company page. “This is very important, as is the connection with the right groups,” he says. For example, he notes, there are more than two million agriculture groups. “Part of getting connected involved simple searches, like computer science software experts, or CIOs, or Edtech groups — that’s part of it,” Huberman explains. “Also, have a website that is constantly up to date. Ideally the way to do that is to have TTM or a TTM-like system, such as IntelliVIEW, Inteum, KSS (TechTrac) and others that are out there.”

In addition, notes Huberman, he uses his connections to reduce patent costs by using a quick vetting process to weed out low-potential technologies. “When you have a tool which could get you feedback from the most relevant companies out there in a very short amount of time, by definition you save money by not investing in things you know are not interesting enough,” he explains.

Tools to gauge your social engagement

Thanks to a number of valuable tools, you don’t have to guess how well you are using the opportunities presented by LinkedIn and other social networks, Huberman points out. For example, he says, LinkedIn’s SSI (Social Selling Index) provides “the best feedback you can get from LinkedIn on the profile strength you have.” SSI scores from 0 to 100, with 100 being the best possible score. “It contains four pillars, with up to 25 points for each,” Huberman explains, including strength of content and strength of connections. “Mine is usually around 90,” he shares.

The insights SSI provides are invaluable, he continues. “You might have a great profile, but perhaps you’re not using it — not searching, for example,” he says, adding that your score changes on a daily basis.

SSI is also one of the main ordering tools used by LinkedIn, says Huberman. “The higher score you have, the higher the chances are people will see you on the first or second page — same as Google,” he notes. “If you want to be found, the best thing you can do is to increase your score.”

Klout also grades from 0 to 100, but it is scored for all social media. “You can see the Klout scores for others, which you can’t do on SSI,” says Huberman. If he wants something to go viral or to get leads, he explains, he can seek out people with high Klout scores so they can re-tweet or share his message.

Hootsuite is another platform he finds valuable. “I have a YouTube channel, Twitter pages, and Facebook,” he notes. “Hootsuite allows you to put something in one place and showcase it in all your social media, which makes it much less time-consuming.”

Huberman also uses ITTN, the Israel Technology Transfer Network. “It’s a one-stop shop portal for all technologies coming from Israel,” he explains. “You can view a nice map that shows which university has what to offer, so it’s easy for global players to know what’s happening in Israel.” He notes that there is a similar portal for Korea, and they are also trying to create one in Finland.

“In addition to putting our technologies on our website, we double on ITTN,” Huberman continues. “It’s a better type of search for any global players who do not know the ecosystem here. For example, if Samsung wanted to know about Israeli university cyber-security efforts, this search lets them know. Since Israel is small it makes a lot of sense; it’s very intuitive, and synchronizes with the universities.”

Clearly Huberman is more than pleased with what social media has produced for Yissum — but that doesn’t mean he ignores the value of low-tech connections; he just translates them into the most productive space. “Anyone we meet we connect with on LinkedIn,” he concludes.

Contact Huberman at +972-2-6586678 or tamir.huberman@yissum.co.il.


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