Business Networking, not like Speed Dating

July 28th, 2016

It is easier to sell more to an existing customer than to acquire a new one.  Everybody seems to agree on that.  But why?  Because the pre-existing relationship can be leveraged.

If you accepted 100 connection requests on LinkedIn, could you immediately turn them into customers or trusted business partners?  Of course not, you would need to nurture these relationships over time just like people you met in other circumstances, such as social and professional events.  But similarly to Speed Dating, public social networks require both parties to expose a lot of information about themselves, via their profiles, before a connection is accepted.  Therefore, they are good “passive prospecting” platforms.  (Remember LinkedIn is primarily a “passive recruiting” platform.”)

But the people who can really help you move the needle today in your business are the people you already know. People you have encountered in all the places where you’ve worked, studied, played, volunteered, and communed.  These are your real networks.

Consider how much time you should spend on making new connections on public social networks and how much time you should spend on leveraging existing relationships and networks.  Reachable reduces the effort needed to leverage all your and your company’s networks.  It could be one of the smartest investments you make.

But for many people, especially people in sales and business development, sending 100 Connection requests and seeing who will find you worthy of an Accept is exciting.  We all crave acceptance, it’s human nature.  Just like Speed Dating — it’s all about the conquest and winning.  But customers are different.  They need to know that they can trust you, that you will go the extra mile for them and that you will tell them when there are bumps in the road so they can protect themselves.  It will take more than a 3-minute Speed Date or a Connect to convince them that you are that person.  So, in the meantime, leverage the relationship you already have, there is plenty of gold there.

Laurent Ohana
CEO, Reachable

The Enterprise Business Graph

Online social networks have enabled a revolution in communications of unprecedented reach, empowering people to easily connect and reconnect with friends, family and professional contacts.  By giving people the tools to communicate in new ways, social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn have been able to amass a tremendous amount of information about people and their relationships and now manage large “social graphs” which they are monetizing by selling access to their user data.  Facebook sells demographic and purchasing preference data to advertisers, and LinkedIn sells access to its professional audience’s biographical and work experience information to recruiters.  They are both immensely profitable demonstrating that social graph data is extremely valuable.

Public social networks’ appeal lies in their providing a valuable utility to individual users.  They were never intended to be enterprise tools, although enterprises have used them for outward looking activities such as marketing and messaging, on Facebook, and recruiting, on LinkedIn.  Further, since public social networks’ business model is geared to selling their members’ data their interests are antithetical to the interest of enterprises.  Enterprises are clearly not interested in having their entire workforces conducting business on public social networks, inadvertently leaking enterprise activities (travel plans, connections with prospects, or descriptions of the projects on which they are working or have worked) on their Facebook and LinkedIn activity streams, or even worse, having their workforce’s detailed skills and expertise marketed to competitors.

We at Reachable believe that while public social networks have amassed massive relationship data (Friends, Followers and Connections) about their users, this relationship data cannot be readily leveraged by enterprises or by the users themselves in an enterprise context.

Reachable set out to develop the tools to enable enterprises to amass and leverage their own relationship data into an enterprise social graph or, as we call it, an Enterprise Business Graph.

Reachable’s “EBG” have a number of critical features:

  • Reachable is a cloud-based, private platform.  On Reachable, an enterprise can develop its Enterprise Business Graph without exposing its proprietary data to the world.  Reachable has also designed privacy rules and controls designed to protect users’ Social Capital as it is brought within the enterprise IT environment on personal devices and personal cloud services.
  • Reachable integrates social data from employees (imported from their social networks and contact managers) with enterprise data found in CRM systems and other data repositories.  Enterprise data includes information about commercial relationships with vendors, customers, partners and other entities.   These entities have an incentive to share insights about prospects and accounts with the enterprise for their mutual benefits. These special relationships can be brought into the Enterprise Business Graph and exposed to the necessary employees in the company.
  • Reachable’s initial focus is on leveraging the Enterprise Business Graph for sales and business development.  Reachable answers the questions “Who do We Know?” at the enterprise level to identify paths from sales teams to prospects that leverage their own connections, connections of colleagues, and special relationships that the enterprise has with other entities.  Reachable is geared to facilitate the creation of a comprehensive EBG covering the entire enterprise, and to facilitate the sharing of insights inside the enterprise about prospects and accounts.

We at Reachable believe that no effective implementation of “social enterprise” technology can evolve into a strategic business system to leverage the social capital of an enterprise, or its Enterprise Business Graph, unless it is private and can intelligently manage enterprise relationship data and individual relationship data.  We believe that Reachable has developed the tools to build Enterprise Business Graphs and that it has the knowhow to help enterprises create the policies to engender use of this new powerful business system.

Laurent Ohana
CEO, Reachable