Part of my job was to interview our top sellers and sales leaders, and there were a few questions I liked to ask.
Take me through a given month or quarter. What is your strategy?
The answer was always that you had to own your number. You couldn't depend on inbound alone. You had to do the research, build out your plan, and devote the time to cold outreach and networking.
Friction naturally occurs up and down the funnel. In big companies, it can be hard to identify your best champion and even harder to get them to take a meeting. For your message to land, you need to frame it in terms of their pain points and key initiatives. And even when you get into a sales cycle, you’ve got to look out for all the different people who can send the deals sideways. If you’re not aware of the incumbent, a competitor, legal, or compliance; your deal is in jeopardy of going dark. There’s nothing to show for months of work.
The best insurance against all of this is strong relationships and multi-threading. That's why sales leaders will say, “you've got to get good at connecting the dots.” You’ve got to find all the people who can help you with insight, influence, and warm introductions.
One of the best answers I got to this was from Ann Marie Isleib, an amazing SVP of Sales at Okta. She said, "I find that those that can partner effectively are most successful." That was the single most important precursor for success. By that, she meant partner internally to tap into your resources, and partner externally, with the larger ecosystem.
Internally there are all of these resources at your disposal; SEs, Legal, Field Marketers, BDRs, Product Marketing Teams, and Key Executives. If you could find common ground or mutual relationships, these people were far more inclined to partner with you and give you their full support.
And then there were external partners. For example, if you are a Sales Rep in Denver, you've got to get to know the rep from Proofpoint, VM Ware, Slack, Box, Accenture, and other vendors who are selling to the same buyer. We encouraged our reps to get out there and introduce themselves. The goal was to get together once a quarter to trade notes about who you're selling into and would like to reach. It's an awesome way to generate insight, influence, and warm introductions.
What I find pretty cool about Connect The Dots is that we’re helping companies execute this playbook at scale.
When I showed my friend Adam this app, his reaction was, "This is how you make lots of money. Think about it, the best investors and CEOs are making dozens of warm connections a week."
We’re giving these same superpowers to individuals and teams who want to harness the power of relationships. Simply connect your email accounts and get a complete picture of everyone you know. Users can opt to share their relationships with close contacts, delivering invaluable insights into who knows who, and how well they know each other. It’s free for life for individuals, just like LinkedIn. And we’ve got powerful enterprise features for businesses.
We highly recommend you download the Chrome Extension for LinkedIn. Without changing the way you work, it provides incredibly useful relationship information when you need it. When you’re on a LinkedIn company page or person profile page, it’s neat seeing the two side-by-side and comparing the results.
Tips for building your network.
#1 Add all your email accounts: Each one surfaces roughly 200 strong/familiar contacts on average. It’s quick to add an account and it pays dividends every time you search.
#2 Take 30 min to think about who would be a good connector for you: Have a strategy for who you want to INVITE, and grow your relevant potential contacts.
#3 Get your company on business edition:
Turning on the enterprise connector will increase the Company’s Network Intelligence 10x overnight.
#4 Roll out playbooks:
On the guide site we’ve got playbooks for sales, recruiting, CEOs, IT teams, product innovation, new hire, and alumni networks.