How to build connections with knowledge with regards to what is going in on your marketplace

Tomasz Sokół
by Tomasz Sokół on May 23, 2017
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At 5next we are continually reviewing the networking habits of the TOP Business Development professionals in sales.

This is article one in a series of five

This is what you will learn reading in this article:

  • An appreciation of how you should evaluate the construction of your network.
  • A definition & explanation as to what type of personnel should be in your network
  • A definition & explanation where these people might be sourced
  • A definition & explanation as to how you might approach this source

(It will take about 30 minutes to take in)

We are especially looking at the Professional services sector & those Business Development areas which generate transactions that are recognised as slow burn opportunity. This could be ‘business to corporate’ software sales for example. These can be a long drawn out process that requires a lot of ‘front end’ work to start the ball rolling.

(By that I mean that you may have work very hard over a period of time to network into a commercial opening).

Our ground breaking application 5next works on the social theory that you are the average of the five people you associate with the most.

Download FREE ebook - Strategic Networking

Learn how to build a network of connections to meet
the strategic & immediate needs of your enterprise.

This concept was first discussed in business terms by the entrepreneurial Jim Roan. However the idea has been around a long time before that & there may even be a version of the ideas that can be accredited to Aristotle! (He was ultimately referring to environments shape potential).

The Business development thinking within 5next is that there are 5 components that create business development success & your mastery of these defines what is available to you.

We have broken these down into the following areas of connectivity:

  • Contacts with knowledge with regards to what is going in on your marketplace
  • Contacts that understand what the future will look like in your marketplace
  • Contacts that are doing business with your customers but are not competing with you
  • Contacts that are the centres of influence that your sector recognises as key players
  • Contacts 6° of separation from a client opportunity…we say who you know & the 5next

We believe that these 5 concepts to describe contacts, as an average, represent your Business Development potential fulfilling the Jim Roan measurement.

I will talk you through what we recognise as knowledge or ‘Intel’.

Intel is having a clear picture of what is going on in your industry, your sector, your competition, decision-makers that you may want to know, your product & whatever other Intel you need to make informed Business Development decisions.

This can include:

  • Who is in the market place for your product or offer?
  • Who you are competing with to get a contract
  • Who are the decision-makers in a particular sales transaction
  • Knowing what’s going on has a considerable impact on your Business Development actions.

Let me give you an example:

I was introduced to someone who I was told would be a great introduction to me in regards of my business. It turned out that because of my connections I was made aware that this introduction was the Brother who was married to the Sister of a man who was a Sales Director of a company that I will be competing with. Having that information was exceptionally useful to me & I only knew it because I have a network that generates the Intel that I need to be a success in my role. (That Intel is invaluable for my company not just me).

Download FREE ebook - Strategic Networking

Learn how to build a network of connections to meet
the strategic & immediate needs of your enterprise.

Think about within your company, do you have access to the key Intel that affects what you should be doing?

In fact if you are a Sales Director do you know which of your sales professionals are really connected to up-to-date intelligence that affects the decisions that you should be making about sales? Think of all the times where marketing decisions have been made without a clear picture from sales as to what works & what doesn’t?

If you have a clear picture of all the connections you possess that could deliver Intel you could use that network, when it’s appropriate, to generate the information to make good decisions. As we are all so time sensitive making good decisions is critical & the only way to do it this is to have a network of connections that know what’s going on.

The way to do this is to start a look at what types of Intel do you need?

Is there someone that you compete with that seems to be exceptionally well informed & connected? As a suggestion look at their on-line profile & do some research to see how they are connected to & start listing who you should try to be connected with?

  • Maybe there are certain networking groups which are a great source of Intel?
  • Maybe there are certain boards that you should try & be voted onto.
  • Maybe there are forums
  • Maybe there is a journalist that you should be connected to who always seems to know what’s going on in your industry?
  • Are there business schools or business groups that your sector recruits from?
  • Is there someone in your sector who has published?
  • Is there a governing body that you can get involved in?
  • Are there any public speakers that seem to always be addressing the sectors at conferences?

By becoming more & more informed as to what is going you will actually become attractive to other ‘networked in’ people that are relevant to you. This helps you build your network via the leading players within it. Information within your sector will support you be more valuable to your clients & introductions. Once you start building this part of your network you will uncover a very different approach to asking for connections:

“In your opinion who is the most informed person that you know in our field”?

It’s very different as you are not seeking a commercial opportunity but actually you are seeking a commercial advantage.

Generally speaking the Intel part of your network should reflect how sophisticated that you offer is & how competitive the marketplace is for that offer. The more sophisticated your offer then the more Intel you need when you are fulfilling your Business Development role. If your market place is busy & competitive then to compensate you need to be exceptionally well briefed or be out manoeuvred continually.

There are known unknowns, that is to say: ‘we know there are some things we do not know’. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know, we don’t know.

When you are developing connections into prospective clients what you don’t know that you don’t know can really hurt you & cost you.

In our next article I will be looking at the importance of making sure that you network as ‘future thinkers’ in it & how that improves what you are doing in Business Development.

Download FREE ebook - Strategic Networking

Learn how to build a network of connections to meet
the strategic & immediate needs of your enterprise.

Summary
How to build connections with knowledge with regards to what is going in on your marketplace
Article Name
How to build connections with knowledge with regards to what is going in on your marketplace
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This is what you will learn reading in this article: An appreciation of how you should evaluate the construction of your network. A definition & explanation as to what type of personnel should be in your network A definition & explanation where these people might be sourced A definition & explanation as to how you might approach this source
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5next
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Tomasz Sokół
Tomasz Sokół
Since 2002, the beginning of his activity in Internet, he has been promoting the knowledge and coding of websites according to standards, guidelines and accessibility - developed by the W3C consortium (in 2004 - 2007 he was active in the development team of Osiolki.net - where he helped improve over 800 websites owned by individuals, company and public websites. At the same time (2004 - 2010), he began working as a coordinator for Mozilla Developer Center PL, responsible for creating and translating documentation of thousands of developer articles. Work on MDC PL was carried out within the Polish Aviary.pl team, which is the official location team working for Mozilla. Since 2007, the owner of the interactive web agency Create Web, helping small and medium-sized businesses to appear on the Web. Co-owner of codewear.co - a full service agency that implements projects for UK and US clients. In 5next.io as managing director in Poland, last year he was responsible for the work of the team that is currently implementing strategic networking applications - 5next. After work father of two wonderful daughters and happy husband wife Joanna.
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