Archive Page 2
Vish Kokkonda writes that Networking Is a Waste Of Time. He states that much networking is a waste but it’s not if “you are willing to work at building solid professional relationships.” Absolutely. I’ve written about networking practices, expectations, and objectives for 10 years at MyLinkWiki. Hundreds of other social media gurus have said the same.
This is easier said than done. How can we look at the networking challenge in a way that brings insight and more importantly results. How can good networkers become even better?
Let me share a few thoughts.
Much networking is weak.
I refer to the kind that doesn’t generate results that Vish was talking about and which encompasses both the networking activity and the nature of the person-to-person connection. This includes:
- Open online networking
- Networking events where the primary activity is drinking
- Connections where there is little communication after the initial interaction
This isn’t your granddaddy’s or even your daddy’s business world.
Today’s technologies have fundamentally changed how we relate and communicate. Before the Internet, executives averaged 150 connections. These were strong personal relationships. Services like LinkedIn now enable networks with thousands, or tens of thousands, of contacts. While the network is much larger, it’s also far more diffuse and difficult to engage. You have permission to contact these connections (sometimes). But that doesn’t change the fact that they barely know you. As a result we vastly overestimate the value of the large network.
It’s just like the Sales funnel
Sales, just like networking, is all about the depth of a relationship. A strong networking connection, comparable to a qualified lead ready to buy at the bottom of the funnel, enables you to reach your objective, whether it’s finding prospects for your business or a new job. A weak networking connection is at the other end, at the top of the sales funnel. Expecting a weak network to help you is like expecting to close cold calls. It rarely happens.
Building the relationship is just as critical as creating it.
In sales one qualified lead is worth 100 or even 1,000 prospects. That logarithmic value is similar to networking. Yet people spend only a tiny fraction of their networking time, energy, and money in building their relationships.
One Solution is the Un-Cold Call.
Yes, it’s that time of the program for a short commercial pitch. At Revenue Typhoon we applied the Pay It Forward approach of networking to the beginning of the sales process. It’s not longer a cold call. It’s an Un-Cold Call, which effectively moves your prospects down the sales funnel so they’re more receptive to a call or meeting.
The same happens in reverse. In the Networking Un-Cold Call we apply similar marketing automation and sales techniques to effectively build your relationship with your connections. The result – you can have a large network AND expect it to be more responsive to your requests.
The Internet has finally come to Dallas. This is the one time it’s good to be in a red state, though it is a blue city. Uber is here and getting a nasty reception from the Dallas City Council and local gendarmes. The Dallas City Council wants to kick them (and Lyft, which is coming soon) out.
Now the local taxi companies have a point. Uber is violating the law and clings to silly semantics to get by where they can. Of course we’re lucky the regulations support motorized carriages. You might as well forget about anything having to do with the Net.
The right solution is promoting competition, accommodating new ways of doing business, and allowing businesses to better serve the public. The government should be promoting the welfare of its citizens, not sheltering legacy businesses.
Please join me and sign the petition to say No to the Anti-Uber proposal.
Not to gloss over the titled intent of the article Understanding Russia’s homophobia, the most interesting part for me was the history lesson on Russian culture and how similar it is to the U.S. You could have changed countries and names and easily been reading about our version of ultra-nationalists, including American exceptionalism, ruling oligarchs and corporatists, conservatives, Tea Party, fundamental Christians, NeoNazis, and old white men (and some women) still pining for the fantasy of the “Good Old Days”. It was only two years ago that our own national homophobia was still institutionalized. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Case in point, as documented in the piece – fancypants liberals from Russia – or the US – spouting French.
Added 8-15. Originally $19,000 in prizes. Now up to $39,000! Newly added – The top prize is a Private Jet Experience with America’s Business Expert and Superspeaker Bill Walsh. The package includes a complimentary ticket to the inspiration2020.com Success Conference on November 8-10, 2013 in Los Angeles plus a VIP Private Jet Experience to Las Vegas on November 10th and a room for the night in Las Vegas!
DallasBlue has partnered with the MyCEO Convention to promote entrepreneurs and business in DFW. I’ll be speaking Saturday August 17 at 3:45pm on Engineer Your Marketing for Scalable Sales: Four Secrets to Ensuring Regular Repeatable Rising Revenues.
Convention speakers, including me, are giving away 83 prizes worth over $19,000 of workshop and event tickets, courses, coaching, consulting, DVDs, CDs, and books! You don’t have to be an attendee to register (although you may have to pay shipping for hard products if you’re not there). Enter the MyCEO Convention Sweepstakes. Sweepstakes closes Saturday August 17 at midnight CT.
The startup mantra is scalability. Build your product and IP. Leverage it for high growth that attracts investors. Repeat for the next funding level and continue until you exit.
Tech scalability is well known. Code is the ultimate example of reusing a resource at virtually no cost.
Sales scalability though is still a mystery. Marketing and sales are a custom, personnel-intensive, and thus costly part of company operations.
But that doesn’t have to be the case.
In Scaling Sales: From Craft to Machine Jeff Bussgang writes about successful sales models. Sales teams though are just a part of sales and marketing process.
Here is how you engineer a complete solution.
2. Understand customer sales psychology. A typical product sale is actually a series of customer buying decisions. This Point of Decision approach requires separate marketing and sales processes with appropriate offers.
3. Manage the entire funnel. Every step of the marketing and sales process needs to be optimized from prospecting to lead gen to lead nurturing to sales conversion to repeat or upsales.
4. Employ a marketing system. Just like the tech investment in reusable code, a marketing investment in Point of Decision automated campaigns for direct or rep-closed sales features a low recurring cost. Incremental sales have a much lower allocated marketing and sales cost that hikes margins and accelerates profitability.
Earlier I commented on VC Fred Wilson’s smart quote “Marketing is for companies who have sucky products” and the failure of companies that focus on tactical programs when they should be thinking strategic. I wrote:
Marketing is THE customer expert and advocate. … Marketing ensures that the product has the right features, optimal positioning, pricing, packaging, and promotion, and a market and customer-oriented product roadmap.
That’s only part of the solution.
For far too long marketing has been a custom, personnel-intensive, and thus costly part of company operations. The lack of coupling between marketing and sales is the single largest failure, if not albatross, of Marketing today.
This is especially so at high performance companies that develop tech products that generate exponential returns or tighten the supply chain to wring out a magnitude of inefficiency and costs. How can the Marketing department be just as responsive and productive?
The answer is not the “sucky” marketing that Fred Wilson so accurately wrote about. Yes, you’ve got to have tactical marketing programs like a web site, newsletter, blog, social media, PR, etc. But they’re akin to the modules of a software program – necessary but not the strategic organizational driver that’s going to make your business a huge success.
Let’s step back and look at this from an evolutionary perspective.
- Fair marketing is product-driven.
- Decent marketing is sales-driven.
- Good marketing is customer-driven.
There is a clear trend that’s moving from me the provider to you the customer. The next step is to dive even further into the customer to understand not just what he wants and needs, but how he makes decisions.
A typical product close is not one decision but a series of customer buying decisions that have their own individual marketing and sales processes.
The implementation of this Point of Decision (really, Decisions) approach is through a marketing system with campaigns that automatically and seamlessly work the lead through the sales ladder, deliver the offer, and promote the customer to the campaign on the next level and ultimately your target market.
One example that scratches the surface of Point of Decision is the free version of many software and web services today.
Point of Decision avoids the brute (and blunt) force trauma associated with much of today’s marketing with sales conversion rates that are a fraction of a percent. It’s a natural customer-centric process that puts the customer in control, while subtly selling at the same time. As your prospect and then customer naturally arrives to and makes each individual buying decision, he gains trust in your company and product and becomes increasingly engaged. The result is hugely more leads, more closes, and more revenues.