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Scale up your business by leveraging your Business Connections.

“You need to communicate to your prospects that I understand the problem you are facing, I have a solution for it and I have provided that solution to another company who is of your size, in your geography, in your domain and uses similar technology. I understand you and have solved the problem in a similar ecosystem. You NOW have built the trust and confidence with your prospect by leveraging the Business Connection.”

As an entrepreneur, when you start your business, you rely on your people network to get the initial business. Your network is typically the companies where you worked earlier or even your ex-customers who know you well. These initial references revolve around the CEO and other senior founders. After you serve your initial customers, you get some references from these customers. These customer references are a great validation of your satisfactory services to them. All these references take you to a certain level of growth. Then as part of any business cycle, you lose some customers and gain some and soon start feeling stagnation. Your year after year growth is flat or negative. You realize the need to do something different than just relying on your network and inbounds. You realize that there is no choice but to go to unknown prospects in your defined market and pitch your solution. You need to be seen by the potential buyers and they need to feel like buying your solution. You need to come out of your comfort zone of immediate network. How do you do that? How do you get in front of your prospects you don’t have any reference?

You make sure you have enough web presence, you invest in the SEO so that the prospects see you and you are in front of them when they are searching for similar solutions. You participate in the relevant events, you call your prospects, email them and reach them out on social media. You need to do not one but all of the above if you really want to scale up and go beyond the escape velocity to get into the next orbit. You do all this and invest into calling, email campaign tools, digital marketing but some still may not see results. Why?

You have increased your reach but before that have you put enough efforts to introspect into your offerings, your prospect target profile, your message articulation to them? Do you have good clarity on your own offerings? Have you identified your target market well? When you are reaching out to the prospects, are you articulating your solution to them such that they identify with your solution? If you answer these questions and get good clarity on what and whom you are selling, how to identify if they need my solution and how to articulate my solution to the prospects; you will see your efforts yielding excellent results and the same communication channels becoming much more effective. We need to make our reaching out to the prospects more intelligent and knowledge based. How do we achieve that and can there be some structure to it?

If we look at our own business transactions, it is very clear that we do business with someone we trust. That trust comes from some connection we see with that business and individuals. We can broadly categorize these connections as People, Corporate and Business Connections.

People Connections are - someone worked with you, you are connected on social media with that person, you studied with the person etc. Your people network can be really useful to open the door for you and get to the decision maker. But that is just one of the many pieces. You don’t give business to someone just because you know the person or you studied with the person. There has to be the need and the solution to satisfy that need. More importantly, you need to have the trust that this person and the company he/she represents will solve your problem. If that trust is not there then you will meet the person as a courtesy but will not do any business. We see many such meetings which are just exploratory or courtesy meetings and things just don’t move forward after that meeting.

The Corporate Connections are customer references and channel partners. The customer references are really strong source of inbound business and generally conversions here are faster and more assured. This is because your customer has already used your solution for a problem and is referring to the other company who talks about the same problem.

The people connection is a great door opener but needs to be leveraged once the match between the need and the solution is done. The customer references are great but you can’t expect your customer to keep referring you all the time and they have their own business to run. So though very effective, you can’t scale the business based on only customer references. These are good sources and you should be happy to get inbounds with this but you can’t build a scaled up business with that.

The best way to scale up your business is to reach out to the prospects with the Business Connection. You need to have reasonable number of prospects you reach out to and you should reach out to them after qualifying them and leverage Business Connection when you are communicating with them. What really is the Business Connection?

Each company is solving a problem and hence providing a business solution. To provide this solution they are leveraging different tools, processes, methods and technologies. When you are buying something you are always looking for a vendor who has solved the problem you are facing and someone who has done it for a similar customer, in the same domain, for similar size company, with similar technologies. This is exactly what we term as Business Connection. We are always looking in our vendors that Business Connection, the exact matching business capability so that I can trust the vendor to solve my problem. What is true for you is true with your prospects. And hence to make it work the other way, your way, you need to reach out to your prospects leveraging the Business Connection. That is the best way to develop that trust in your prospect’s mind.

You need to define and refine your target profile and reach out to the prospects understanding the business connection you have with them. You can use sales intelligence and research to understand the problems they may have, what technologies they already have/prefer and leverage this to qualify the prospects you want to reach out to. You need to communicate to your prospects that I understand the problem you are facing, I have a solution for it and I have provided that solution to another company who is of your size, in your geography, in your domain and uses similar technology. I understand you and have solved the problem in a similar ecosystem. You NOW have built the trust and confidence with your prospect by leveraging the Business Connection

The communication leveraging Business Connections is very effective. You need to continue doing what you are doing with calling, emailing, events, SEO, social media but strengthen the message with the Business Connection and you will see dramatic improvements in the results you get from the same channels. You can continue leveraging your people network to open the doors, you can continue to enjoy your customer confidence and their referrals but to accelerate your sales further, leverage sales intelligence and Business Connection to reach your prospects and scale up your business!