Reachable Blog

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And the Oscar for Best Enterprise Private Networking goes to …. Reachable!

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You might have missed it Sunday night if you checked out before the end of the ceremony.

So, here’s the scoop.  Enterprises are waking up that it’s the morning after LinkedIn.  And they are liking the Reachable story more and more.  Hence, the Oscar! (Excuse me for conflating my watching the Oscars and thinking I was actually there winning one.  It can happen to anyone…)
Here’s what I would have told the interviewer at the post-Awards party:
  • Networks of Enterprises will dominate.  Reachable provides the rules and the technical platform to enable sharing of contact data among a group of collaborators, including people inside an enterprise and members of an enterprise’s ecosystem.  It’s Airbnb for contacts for networked enterprises and networks of enterprises.
  • Employees want to control their data.  Employees are increasingly empowered by social networks to control their data.  CRM tools that are predicated on employees giving up relationship data to the enterprise are doomed.
  • CRM is not where Relationship Data will Reside.  A company’s IT infrastructure is just one of many platforms that employees use to connect with people, build relationships and do business.  As social and business networks proliferate, and as the length of time that anyone spends in any job shortens, the fraction of relationship data that will be captured on an enterprise platform (be it CRM or otherwise) will decrease.
  • Reachable Cracked the Code.  Reachable provides a hosting, analysis and connectivity platform that aggregates all contacts from all networks.  It respects Privacy, protects employee data and enterprise data.
So, thanks to the Academy for recognizing the immense value that Reachable provides to individuals and enterprises!  (But Gartner already gave us our first award back in 2010…!)
Laurent

 

Don’t Chuck Your Salespeople Just Yet!

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In a masterful content marketing play (or ploy), a CEO posted a story on LinkedIn saying he would never hire a salesperson again and would basically do away with his sales team.  This ignited a firestorm in the world of B2B sales with tweets, articles, counter-articles and all the usual hallmarks of a tempest in a teapot.

Let me grossly simplify the argument.  Buyers are now extremely educated with all the reviews, comments, endorsements and brochureware available about every possible product.  This is supposedly reducing the value of salespeople — pushing product just does not work.  You need to let the customer come to you and then delight them in not leaving.  So, instead of salespeople you need customer success staff.

For me the argument for having a B2B sales team to sell a SaaS product was definitely resolved by Mark Cranney’s on the Andreessen Horowitz blog. Your freemium strategy may get in the door at a client but once you landed, you need to expand.  And that can only be done by salespeople who can translate what your product does into an articulation of the value that your product creates for your client.

The argument therefore should not be about whether you need salespeople or not but what type of sales force do you need and what are its objectives.  And that is determined by the nature of the product you are selling and the competitive landscape.  But I am convinced that at some point in the sales funnel, a conversation with a client will be required.  It could be at the beginning of sales process — we are seeing lots of a traction in the model of companies like Insidesales.com which are combining predictive analytics with a methodological pursuit of sales prospects by inside sales teams.  Or it could be later stages where a free product tier has identified motivated users who can be targeted for an up-sale.

At some point, you will need to ask someone for their attention and their trust and to help you navigate a selling process that will involve a decision by committee.  That’s where leveraging relationships will be important and where Reachable will help you reach the people you must get to in order to open the doors to the kingdom.

Your Contacts are Leading a Double Life

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Sorry to be to one to tell you.  But it’s true.  They are yours but they are not.  It’s complicated.

You met Jane Peters* 10 years ago have been doing business with her on and off since then.  She is in your Contacts in Outlook on your PC.  You joined Allied Systems a year ago and uploaded your Contacts into the enterprise Outlook.  You sent her an email about a potential deal.  She thus entered  Allied’s CRM.  She eventually bought one of Allied’s services.  Unbeknownst to her, Jane now belongs to Allied.

You found out because you left Allied to work at United.  When you left Allied you tried to download a copy of the Contacts file from the enterprise Outlook.  You were a shy person and during your time at Allied you did not meet a single person.  So, the number of people in your Contacts was the same the day you left Allied as it was on the day you started: 1984.  But you were locked out of the PC and you could not do it.  No matter, you are the “always have a plan B” guy and you had a copy of the 1984 contacts on your iPhone.

United and Allied sell similar products so you thought that your old friend Jane should hear about United’s amazing gizmos.  She agreed the gizmos were amazing and she took her business to United because she trusted you and your judgment.  Unfortunately for you, Allied heard about this and did not like it.  It sued you for stealing the Contact file and the customer (Jane) and it sued United for allowing you to upload stolen property unto their systems (i.e, your, or their, Contacts.)

You were a bit upset about all this so you uploaded all your contacts to LinkedIn and made them public.  Allied was not amused.

I could continue this parable but you got the point a while back.  Every time you enter your contacts into an enterprise system or into most social apps, the contacts acquire another life that belongs to someone else.  There may be legitimate reasons for this of course. You may have consented to this trade to receive a free service.  Businesses have a legitimate interest in keeping a record of communications with clients or prospects — in case someone else is assigned to work on the deal, or in case of a legal dispute with the client, etc.

At Reachable, we thought that this state of affairs was not good for the employee nor for the employer.  After all, the fuss is about something that may not be that valuable.  While I would not just hand them out, if you got a hold of my Contacts and started calling my relationships chances are you would not go very far.  Your best chance of getting to them is through me.  Still people do get sued about things like these.

Our response was to become the Contact Data Switzerland.  Contact data uploaded into Reachable’s platform is date stamped and belongs to whoever uploaded it.  A person can upload it or a company can.  Until a court tells us otherwise, it belongs to whoever uploaded it.

Companies and groups can set up a collective pool of Contacts hosted on Reachable and use Reachable to datamine the data to find connections to targets without sharing the original raw data in the group.  Employees join such enterprise groups with their data and leave with their data.  Companies add enterprise data to the group and can take it away anytime.  Everyone retains ownership of their data but the value of the Contacts can be exploited by the enterprise team while the employee is part of the group.

Every body wins with clear and simple rules and a technology solutions that embodies and enforces the rules — Reachable.

Laurent

* All names are fictitious of course, except for mine…

Those Tricky, Tricky Intro Requests

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We all get them, and we have all made them.  They are tricky.

In case you were wondering, the intro request conundrum preceded the advent of social networks by, I am sure, hundreds if not thousands of years.   Social customs developed in every age to handle these requests.  In the Victorian Era, for example, the Letters of Introductions were an elaborate affair with the choice of paper, scent and whether to seal them or not of major import, and the relative social status of the requester, the connector and the target dictating who could ask whom for what.  (See how Benjamin Franklin dealt with it in Paris.)

I think that in the age of LinkedIn and Facebook there is an urgent need for some new rules.  People are exposing their Connections wily nilly (though that may change) and connecting to lots of people they barely know.  As well, the ability to hide behind a computer screen is encouraging intro requests.  On the receiving end, showing off the size of your Connections list online exposes you to getting lots of requests, and having to figure out whether to grant them or not.  What if you don’t want to help the requester? What if you don’t really know the person regarding whom the intro is requested?

Yes, I am aware that some people may be reading this thinking that this discussion is a waste of time because they would never ask for an intro.  They are convinced that their abilities in the cold calling department are so hot that they can overcome the chill of any unsolicited call.  Or their marketing automation tools are emotionless and they will continue emailing you forever anyway.  This is completely missing the point!  Consider this:

Rule #1.  Go for Insight.  Use the fact that I know a person or an organization to ask me for insights.  You may learn something.  (May be you are calling on the wrong person?  How valuable would it be to avoid an infinite sales cycle with this account?)  Use the new ease of, and lack of formalism in, communications to connect and learn.

Rule #2.  Be Patient.  Often it is better not to ask but wait for the intro to be offered.  I know you are calling for an intro but don’t corner me.  Allow me to decline without having to say no.  I will appreciate it and next time you call, I will take your call as opposed to ignoring you for eternity.

Rule #3.  Don’t Exclude the Connector.  Asking for contact info so you can contact the target directly takes me out of the loop and excludes me (a bad thing unless I am seeking to hide my involvement).  I may need or want to remain somewhat involved to make sure that all goes well and everyone behaves.  Some people move me to bcc right away, others never do — somewhere in the middle will do.

Rule #4.  Choose Who you Ask Carefully.  Ask people you trust and let them introduce you to people they trust.  Even if an “extra hop” is introduced in the connection path (using Reachable lingo), you gain knowledge with every hop because the trust factor leads to information sharing.  Remember, your task is not to “get to this person,” it is to close a sale/deal with this company.  Very different…

Rule #5.  Reachable can help :).  Yes, it’s a plug but I mean it.  Reachable gives you information about the context of relationships — who knows who but also how they know each other and (using our algorithms) deriving how well they might know each other (our relationship scoring).  Reachable gives you many paths to a target — you be the judge of who is the best connector to use in this context, we can’t really figure that out (thankfully for you we don’t read you mind, or your emails like other companies I won’t name…)  TeamReach protects the data of your teammates by only revealing metadata about their relationships not contact data and enhancing people’s expectation to privacy at work, not destroying it…

Relationships are tricky indeed but also very helpful.  Only you can truly manage them but Reachable can help.

Laurent

It’s All About Relationships (& My Holiday Message)

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I hope you are not reading this on Christmas Day!  But if you are, I will keep this short to allow you to get to more important things.

The last 2 weeks of December are an odd time for people on the revenue generation side of businesses (aka Sales, Business Development, Deal Makers, etc.).  For most businesses, it’s the last 2 weeks of the business year and the pressure to make the quarterly number and/or the annual number or close that deal are intense.

At the same time, pressures from family and loved ones to disconnect from work are intense.  And the fact that every work team has someone on vacation on the third week or fourth week of December, or both, does not help productivity.  And if you are doing business across the world, it’s even more tricky.  Sure, with laptops and smart phones it does not matter if people are at work.  Not true, things slow down still and everything is more complicated.

How do you get through it? Rely on your relationships.

At work, there are people you can count on that will go the extra mile to get the project done now, get the contract out today, stay an extra hour or respond to an email from the other side of the globe in the middle of the night.  In your business network, there are people on the other side of the phone or email, who will process the invoice today, sign the contract now, review the proposal today, because you asked.  And at home, there are people who will forgive you (again) for a promise half-kept to really disconnect.

That’s who you can count on.

Our Team at Reachable understands that we are here because you, our clients, users, collaborators and friends went the extra mile for us, encouraged us and contributed to our successes.  So, Thank YOU!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Laurent

(Excerpted from the Reachable Newsletter of 12/25/14)

Networking: Is it a bad thing?

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It’s December, the holidays are upon us and there are parties everywhere.  Now, I love parties as much as the next guy but I can think of a few friends who are truly compulsive party-goers.  About one of them we might say “John is a networker,” with a bit of better-than-thou attitude.  It’s as if meeting people and having a great time at party is OK, but going to the same party with the intention of meeting as many people as possible and going home with lots of business cards appears less than genuine.

Genuine is a key word in selling.  It’s a rare quality, though.  If you are too aggressive and don’t appear genuine, you will not garner the trust needed to close a sale.  But if you try too hard to appear genuine, you will reveal that this is your modus operandi and lose the trust.  So, bottom line naked aggressiveness won’t work, and aggressiveness cloaked in fake genuineness does not work.  This relationship stuff is hard — an art, not a science.

The compulsive networker has gone online now as well.  He is that guy who boasts “10,000 followers on LinkedIn”.  Do you want to be Connection #10,001 to that guy, or Connection 367 to someone with 366 Connections?  And what about you, will you accept any incoming connection request as a matter of principle, or will you be selective? Do you make the requester wait and sweat it out a bit, or do you accept right away?  Do you personalize the request or just send it?  Networking on a social network often feels as if you emigrated to a new country and had to rebuild your life from scratch, redefine who you were.

Except that you are still here and you have a network, so use it as best as you can.  Reachable uses similar tools to those employed by the giant social networks but it puts these tools in the service of your existing rolodex.  Think of it as having the power of Big Data analytics attached to your rolodex, constantly analyzing it to figure out how your relationships, from the web or real life, can lead to insights and introductions to the people and companies you want to reach.  That’s the big idea behind Reachable (or at least one of them!).

Happy Holidays!

Laurent

[Reprinted from the Reachable Newsletter Dated December 18, 2014]

Creep Factor in Social Networks, not with Reachable

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At a business meeting recently, one of my favorite subjects came up: the Creep Factor in Social Networks.

The successful SN’s have become successful businesses because they managed an incredible feat: to simultaneously grow their audience and monetize it by encouraging people to share as much as possible about themselves.  Their mantra is share, share, share and, while that is going on, the SN is observing you, quantifying you for advertisers and engaging you with endless email reminders of why you need to keep on sharing.  It’s a great business, a money printing machine, why didn’t think of it!

But it’s kind of creepy.

So, as we ponder the Consumerization of the Enterprise, will the Creep Factor from the consumer SN’s be imported into the Enterprise?  Gmail managed to go enterprise without too much fracas.  But what about the SN’s whose raison d’etre is to monetize User Generated Content?

Take LinkedIn: it makes money by selling access to the resumes of its members to recruiters.  If I were to use and pay for LinkedIn as my enterprise relationship analytics platform — my collective rolodex, I would be paying for a tool that is responsible for the most successful employee poaching scheme ever invented.  Hmm… Take another example.  You may be happy that your sales team is on LinkedIn amplifying the messages that the marketing department comes up with.  At the same time, if one of your salesperson connected on LinkedIn with a potential customer with whom he’d just had a great sales meeting (the new norm nowadays) but one of his buddies (working for a competitor) happened to notice the new connection and stole the deal from you, how would you feel?

That is why at Reachable, the default setting is PRIVATE.  We keep our users’ data private and our enterprise clients’ data private, and we don’t enable the publishing of data to the outside world thus avoiding prickly compliance issues.  With Reachable you can boost the power of your personal rolodex with the power of Big Data analytics, and you can create Private Contact Networks with colleagues at work but one thing you don’t have to deal with is… the Creep Factor!

[Republished from the Reachable Newsletter dated December 11, 2014]

Business Networking, not like Speed Dating

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December 1, 2014

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.

I hope you had a good Thanksgiving holiday.

Laurent Ohana,
CEO

Reachable Signs S&P Capital IQ to leverage People Data on Social Selling and Enterprise Networking Platform

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NEW YORK, NY – July 22, 2014 — Reachable, Inc., a technology company that helps enterprises leverage their relationships for competitive advantage, today announced an agreement with S&P Capital IQ, a leading provider of business research, data and analytics, to provide S&P Capital IQ’s “People Data” on Reachable’s social selling and enterprise networking platform.

Reachable is a third-generation social networking system that enables an enterprise to better leverage its collective rolodex by answering the question “who knows who?”. The web-based platform has unique relationship mapping and scoring, tracking lists and alerts. Under their agreement, S&P Capital IQ’s people data and company profiles are available on the Reachable platform. This unique combination allows Reachable technology to sit on top of verified, institutional quality data – a competitive advantage in leveraging the collective power of personal networks.

“Our combined solution enables users who are involved in business development to be more proactive and gain additional insights on relationship networks that can drive larger opportunities,” said Tim Walker, Managing Director and Head of Global Channel Sales at S&P Capital IQ. “We believe it enhances productivity by giving users a better understanding of customers and what collective relationships they can leverage to reach them.”

“We are very pleased to partner with S&P Capital IQ to offer a compelling product to enterprises wishing to increase revenue generation and retention, and improve their competitive edge,” commented Laurent Ohana, CEO of Reachable. “Reachable enables professionals to aggregate all their social and business contacts on a single unified platform and helps them find the best pathways to business executives they want to reach by leveraging data in their personal contacts and, through Reachable’s enterprise business networking platform, across their enterprise and in premium databases.

The S&P Capital IQ People Database is backed by specialized information management professionals and analysts dedicated to collecting and continuously updating information about some of the most important companies in the US and internationally, including financial institutions, private equity funds, investment banks, asset managers, non-profit entities, educational institutions, and public and private corporations in every key market around the world. Its integration with the Reachable social selling and enterprise networking platform will provide enterprise customers with unique insights and unparalleled access to validated business connections across a global set of companies and executives.

About S&P Capital IQ

S&P Capital IQ, a business unit of McGraw Hill Financial (NYSE:MHFI), is a leading provider of multi-asset class and real time data, research and analytics to institutional investors, investment and commercial banks, investment advisors and wealth managers, corporations and universities around the world.

S&P Capital IQ provides a broad suite of capabilities designed to help track performance, generate alpha, and identify new trading and investment ideas, and perform risk analysis and mitigation strategies. Through leading desktop solutions such as the S&P Capital IQ, Global Credit Portal and MarketScope Advisor desktops; enterprise solutions such as S&P Capital IQ Valuations; and research offerings, including Leveraged Commentary & Data, Global Markets Intelligence, and company and funds research, S&P Capital IQ sharpens financial intelligence into the wisdom today’s investors need. For more information, visit www.spcapitaliq.com. S&P Capital IQ’s Channel Partnerships Team creates new strategic partnerships and fosters the development of integrated relationships with third-party platforms, technology vendors and start-ups to provide our clients varied access to our data and analytics. They understand the evolving delivery needs of clients, and work to continuously support and enable their growth and success.

About Reachable, Inc.

Reachable, Inc. is a provider of enterprise social networking and social selling solutions that help professionals and enterprises better leverage their relationships to drive sales, business development and recruiting processes. Using patented graph technology, proprietary algorithms, and an architecture designed to protect the confidentiality, privacy and proprietary nature of relationships while still sharing their benefits within enterprises, Reachable is helping to reinvent the world of enterprise business networking. For more about Reachable, please visit www.reachable.com.

Media Contacts

Michael Privitera, S&P Capital IQ, michael.privitera@spcapitaliq.com
212.438.6679
Renee Harper, Reachable, Inc., renee.harper@reachable.com
212.480.1312
Andria Arena, Reachable, Inc., andria.arena@reachable.com

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