SalesHood - Sales Enablement Platform

Social Selling – Connect the Dots

  • by Elay Cohen
  • September 14, 2015

Social Selling – Frank van Veenendaal and Jim Steele shared their relationship building and networking secrets on stage at a Salesforce sales kick-off event when they introduced thousand of us to the phrase “connect the dots.” We adopted “connect the dots” as a mantra. It became a big part of our sales values and go to market.

It’s amazing that “Connect the Dots” is even more relevant almost ten years ago.

 

We pushed our teams and managers to make connecting the dots a big part of how we won.  It helped us  and avoid late deal surprises.

Reps were coached and trained by sales managers to answer these questions in deal reviews, account planning sessions, and forecast calls:

  How have we connected the dots across all direct and indirect influencers and decision makers?

  Whom have we not connected the dots with to move the deal forward?

  What help is needed to more effectively connect the dots?

I’m sharing “connect the dots” to bring this winning mantra and best practice deal execution to every team on the planet

What is Connect The Dots?

Connect the dots is the act of engaging all direct and indirect relationships in conversations to better understand challenges and priorities of decision makers and influencers. It’s who do you know. 

You know a sales team has successfully conducted a “connect the dots”strategy when they are multi-threaded versus single threaded, their organizational chart is complete, and influence maps are known.

Here are some of the revenue benefits of connecting the dots:

  • Get to power faster
  • Qualify deals faster
  • Qualify champions
  • Uncover direct & indirect influencers
  • Mitigate deal risk
  • Expand deals
  • Close deals faster

Connect Through Your Network

Connecting the dots in deals helps us uncover all the people we don’t know, that we don’t know. Think about it. By not directly connecting with as many decision makers and influencers as possible, we risk not knowing what’s really happening. Sometimes we fear reaching out because we don’t want to find information out that isn’t favorable.

How can we solve big problems if we’re not connecting with the real decision makers? How can we solve big problems if we’re not understanding what’s really going on? If we don’t look up the management chain and engage in conversations with the right people, we risk spending too much time with folks who aren’t really plugged into real pain and real go to market challenges.

Don’t underestimate the power of peer-to-peer collaboration to connect the dots. Your network is only as strong your relationships. Our teams help us avoid blind spots by helping us to connect the dots. Connecting the dots is best done prior to engaging with a lead to plan a prospecting strategy approach and an account strategy. Team based deal reviews give us a chance to explore new angles of power and influence. Team-based account planning sessions open up doorways to extended team members contributing their networks to connect the dots and open new relationships.

Rules of Engagement

Here are rules of engagement and tips to up-level how we engage with peers to connect the dots in our deals, accounts, and territories:

  1. Always connect on Linkedin with co-workers, customers, and partners.
  2. Create an onboarding task to have reps do this on their first day.
  3. Be disciplined. Invest the time to do your connect the dots research.
  4. Connect the dots early and often.
  5. Be relentless. Assume there is always a connection.
  6. Don’t be shy. Aim high.
  7. Share your network. Give and take. It’s good karma.
  8. Be respectful of time and relationships when asking for introductions.
  9. Make it easy and ghost write introductory mails.
  10. Be grateful.

How do you instill the culture and action to always “connect the dots” on deals?

About the Author
Elay Cohen

Elay Cohen

Elay Cohen is the author of SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed and the co-founder of SalesHood, a SaaS sales enablement platform and community for sales professionals. Elay is the former Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity at Salesforce. Recognized as the company's "2011 Top Executive", and credited for creating and executing all of Salesforce's sales productivity programs that accelerated its growth from $300M to $3B+ in revenue. The sales training and sales support innovations delivered over these years by Elay and his team to thousands of sales reps resulted in unprecedented hypergrowth. He also created the Partner Relationship Management (PRM) category.

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