The title kind of eliminates the need for a proper introduction. After launching our fresh Clintelica freemium application, which helps entrepreneurs and start-up companies enjoy all benefits of a fully functional Networking, CRM & Feedback application, we tried to list other ways to connect with prospects.
So, what are the best ways to connect with people outside your own network?
1. The Cold Calling Approach
Make up a list of prospects, make some research, find out who are the decision makers, make some more research and find out their contact details, decide wether you want to reach them through e-mail or phone, then start cold calling.
Efficiency: Very Low
2. The Business Meeting Type Approach
Make up a list of prospects, make some research on which business groups better in your city fit your business expectations, find out how much you have to pay to get in and then join the group and start networking in person. Some say it helps if you’ve ever participated in any kind of AA meeting beforehand, as the usual intro is: “Hi, my name is Dave and I sell biscuits. Today I’m interested in connecting with key buyers in supermarkets.”
Efficiency: Higher than cold calling, but time consuming
3. The Social Networking Approach
Make up your list of prospects, go online and use existing and successful social networks to start interacting.
Basically, all social networks these days revolve around the individual an his own network, and any kind of effort and time you put in socializing online can pay off, eventually. You just have to do it wisely and pursue your goal. For example, you could start by reading this kind of advice (good find by Robert Clay at Marketing Wisdom).
Alternatively, you could try our way:
4. The Clintelica Way
As opposed to the above, we:
- give sales people the chance to avoid cold calling and reach prospects through connections
- save time by giving sales people the opportunity to search though a huge database of people and create watchlists for people they want to reach
- shift the social perspective from the individual to the power of a company’s social capital
a) make a list of prospects
b) set up a free account on Clintelica
c) download your company’s overall e-mail and social networking contacts & upload your prospect list
d) let the Predictive CRM system work it’s magic, crosscheck your contact database & prospect list for connections, follow up on all resulting leads and close deals through networking!
Clintelica uses patented innovative ideas to help companies get new clients through intelligent networking and Predictive CRM, manage & improve existing clients through relevant CRM solutions and improve existing business relationships through instant client feedback.
Today, we have released a Freemium version of our application, which gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to use all of our innovative features for free, for up to 3 users per company. More than this, we also offer a complete database of all companies in Sweden and Romania, as part of the CRM functionality.
Just register on www.crm.clintelica.se and tell us what you think!
Your Apple dictionary will be a bit outdated on the subject of networking, as it will list the following top meanings: 1. an arrangement of intersecting horizontal and vertical lines and 2. a group or system of interconnected people or things.
We all know, in fact, the true meaning of the word “networking” nowadays: Creating a group of acquaintances and associates and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit, would be one meaning. Or the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business, would be another one.
Basically, networking resonates differently in our minds – as all things do – in direct relation to our experiences around the concept. Browsing the web for the subject will surface loads of articles, guru’s, trend setters, guides, tips and tricks, and, once you read enough of these, you will eventually find yourself in one of two categories of people:
1. those who resent networking
2. those who understand networking from it’s core perspective
The people who reject the word, the concept and, basically, everything related to networking are, usually, those who have received one to many introductory requests based on pure interest. Those who have been assaulted by questions like “Hi, my name is Don. You don’t know me, but could you introduce me to Donald Trump?” Those who can’t stand being used & manipulated, in a perfectly understandable attitude. Allen Gannet, for example, who recently wrote this article for The Next Web.
On the other side, there are people who consider networking from beyond the “nice-to-meet-you-let-me-take-advantage-of-you” approach and dismiss it like you would throw away a bad apple from a basket full of fruits. These are the people who understand not to use twitter for business, these are the people who understand the importance of becoming an authority figure in an industry, and these are the people who will teach to “pursue the relationship, not the sale“.
Because, at the end of the day, networking is about trust.
Networking helps sales, but it only helps sales if done properly. Of course no one wants to be used and manipulated into referring friends to acquaintances out of the blue. But I’m sure any of us living in the social revolution welcomes connecting people for mutual benefit.
And it doesn’t matter if you do it face to face, through business cards, or online, through social media platforms.
As long as you do it properly and you value common sense above everything else, it will pay off.
In case you missed it, read our Top 10 Networking Resolutions for 2012 and see how many you’ve checked so far.
Cold calling is time consuming, inefficient and totally demotivating, so attending meetings where you meet new people and exchange contacts with members from different industries is certainly a much more efficient sales strategy.
We’re now taking these networks to the next level, by giving members the possibility to access information in Clintelica’s Online BizNet Environment.
Members of a group will now be able to
- browse through a huge database of contacts
- search for people by name, position or company
- save searches as Watchlists in order to constantly monitor for new clients and be alerted as soon as new prospects that fit their search patterns enter the network.
This is how it works:
If you were to ask anyone these days to give you a brief history of Social Networks, they would most-likely think about Facebook, then do a bit of research and come up with this:
1971 – the first e-mail is sent (and no, the text was not some inaugural speech, it was something more like QWRTYDHS – a test between 2 computers over ARPANET, a network of computers preceding the Internet)
1997 – the birth of the instant message, thanks to AOL
2002 – Friendster – the network that connected online real-world friends
2003 – MySpace – a Friendster clone, is born.
2004 – Facebook enters the market
2006 – Twitter is launched.
Well, that’s all fine, but there’s more to it…
…or how companies can benefit from customers sharing their positive brand experiences on social networks.
Market Research has now reached a point where it’s too much about anonymous respondents, even though in this day in age, people tend to build their Social Media reputation based on the product reviews they write and talk about.
This is why I believe 2012 will have to bring a huge change, because companies will start to realize the dormant power of social media influence on brands. Satisfaction Sharing. SatShare, if I may.
Let’s say you analyze a Market Research report where 50% of your 1.000 respondents have given positive reviews. In a conventional situation, these 500 people would end up in a spreadsheet and clearly, important decisions would be taken based on this. But if you took an innovative approach to this figure and gave these 500 people the opportunity to share their satisfaction on social networks, then you’d stand a good chance of reaching about 50.000 people instantly, considering at least 100 of them would share the info to 500 friends (on average)…
Networking is a lot like PR. In order to be successful at it, you need to be the best you can be.
At first, I wasn’t going to go into the advantages/benefits of good networking, because stating the obvious is not something we’re used to doing around here. But once in a while – 2 days before New Year’s Eve, for example – it’s good to take a step back and remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. And I’m not talking here about the usual reasons, because those answers are easy (finding a new job, meeting new clients, etc.), but I’m talking about the kind of motivations that are even more obvious:
- Because we’re social animals and networking feeds this natural need for all good people. If you have doubts about this, ask Tom Hanks why he felt the need to make friends with Wilson in Cast Away.
- Because your friends / network say as much about you as your clothes do. “Tell me who you’re friends with and I’ll tell you who you are” didn’t just come out of thin air.
- Because networking brings out the best in people. Unless you’re Michael Jackson material, you can’t afford to be “bad”. Not these days…
The Semantic Web is an expression that began with a technical meaning.
Most people define the Semantic Web as a web that is able to describe things in a way that computers can understand. Other people refer to it simply as the definition of a… web of data. In any kind of explanation though, The Semantic Web is part of Web 3.0 and Web 4.0, because it will be able to analyze all the data on the web: links, content, transactions between people, computers, mobile devices. This dream not yet come true (of all people who understand that our ability to create content will eventually make us sink in it) means, basically, that we will need to find a way to make our computers work seamlessly with huge amounts of information, and then sort & understand it in such a way that it will become available to us at the blink of an eye.
Instead of us searching for words and expressions on Google and then trying to make sense of the resulting hundreds of pages, in the Web 3.0 and 4.0 Semantic Web age, the online software shell surrounding us in all mobile devices will be able to find out instantly what we desire and then feed that information or data to us. Basically, it looks like in the next web, people will become some kind of end user, because all the processes of searching, accessing and transforming data into knowledge will be done by machines…
Whether you work in media, programming, Wall Street or, for that matter, anywhere else, you might have noticed that our collective ability to create information exceeds our ability to manage it. There are trillions of web pages out there and the number is increasing exponentially, with every new tweet, Facebook status update, blog or concept that gets invented. And even though you might have been blessed with a very structured mind, when becoming aware of this huge amount of information, your brain will immediately perceive it’s huge potential, but it will also be left with no tools to manage it.
Now. If Web 1.0 was all about desktop computing, pre-networks and limited to e-mail, documents, spreadsheets, images and video, then Web 2.0 took things to the next level, delivering networking through websites and applications (social networks with comments, blogs, youtube and instant interactions). And it’s all fine, up until the point where you start realizing that all these two way interactions and all the user generated content essentially translate into huge amounts of data that first of all needs to be stored and then it needs to be accessed.
Obviously, there is a parallel to be seen here regarding CRM Systems which have developed according to the Web itself. If at first we had desktop CRM systems to deal with, we can now enjoy the benefits of Cloud systems that are far more engaging and user friendly.
Sadly, the problems and implications regarding the amount of data and the access to information are practically the same in both cases. And looking ahead at Web 3.0 (happening now), Web 4.0 (in about 4-5 years) and beyond is, of course, the only hope for CRM Systems as well…