Business is All About Relationships
Editor’s Note: The article below by Reachable’s CEO, Al Campa, was just posted on Startup Beat.
I’ve been in the technology business for more than 20 years, including a stint as an executive at Taleo, a leader in the talent management sector. The talent management industry is centered on people. But if you think about it, so is every other type of business.
I have always believed that business is about relationships—who you know, who your friends know, who your colleagues and their friends know. I’ve noticed over the years that the best salespeople realize this and leverage their contacts to generate new business, forge partnerships and drive revenue. That’s always been true. But with new technology tools come new ways to extend social and professional networks and new capabilities that allow enterprises to put the power of social media behind sales initiatives.
That’s what Reachable is all about. I first heard about Reachable in its initial startup phase in the spring of 2011. The description of the company—a web-based platform to help businesses leverage social and professional network connections—piqued my interest, and when I took a look, I immediately saw the power it had to change the way businesses operate. I came on board as CEO soon thereafter.
Reachable empowers business people to quickly leverage all the contacts within their organization to broaden their professional networks so they can get their solutions in front of the right people. This enables social selling, a new way to convert cold leads into warm ones by making hidden social connections within organizations visible as a comprehensive ‘social graph’ that can be leveraged to drive sales and make new connections.
Applying Social Media at the Enterprise Level
I’ve been amazed at how quickly social media tools like Facebook were adopted worldwide to enhance personal relationships and facilitate communication between friends and family.
Businesses have adopted social media tools to drive commerce and expand their spheres of influence to some degree. However, until recently, there was a noticeable absence of online tools to enable enterprises to fully leverage the power of social media.
At Reachable, we make that happen by enabling everyone in an enterprise to leverage not only their own personal connections but those of their friends, colleagues, customers and channel partners. Reachable makes previously invisible connections between all parties in a potential business transaction evident, connecting the dots between sales reps and prospects, account managers and clients, hiring managers and applicants, suppliers and logistics professionals, software vendors and IT managers – the possibilities are endless.
It takes a powerful platform to fully realize the power of the social graph on an enterprise level. The Reachable platform’s ancestor was the engine behind Ancestry.com, which was developed in Utah to connect the dots between relatives. The developer, Paul Stevens, went on to tackle the more complex problem of connecting the dots between business contacts.
Revealing connections between business contacts is more complicated because it’s a broader network. To make the invisible visible, the Reachable platform brings all known contacts together from multiple sources—social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook as well as work histories and other enterprise data—and uses a sophisticated scoring algorithm to rank contacts by relevancy, using factors like the number of common connections and how recently connections were made.
The result is the most powerful social relationship management tool ever built to make enterprise contacts more…reachable. We’ve all experienced situations when a simple conversation illuminates common connections between ourselves and our friends. By illuminating the tangled webs of connections in the business world, Reachable helps customers extend their reach and leverage relationships to get business done more quickly.
A New, Networked Reality
I believe Reachable has the power to change the way businesses operate, just as social networks have changed the way people communicate on a personal level. Today, businesses tend to assign work based on geographical territory or industry sectors. That might have made sense in the past.
But does it still make sense? If business is all about people—and I believe it is—it’s not hard to imagine a future in which businesses might assign work based on social graphs, leveraging interconnected networks. Considering that relationships are the fuel that drives business, a social-graph strategy might be a far more effective and productive approach.
Reachable integrates with popular CRM tools like Salesforce and Oracle CRM on Demand. It helps salespeople streamline prospecting, target the right people and leverage the power of the organization’s collective network. It helps recruiters gain warm leads, qualify candidates and expand their networks. And it helps professionals in any business role (or those seeking a new position) to find and manage contacts and influence key decision-makers.
At Reachable, it’s all about extending your reach.