Over this past year I have made an effort to devote more of my time to networking. It’s always interesting to get out there and meet new people and reconnect with past contacts. I have not only made a point of doing this from a business perspective, but from a personal perspective as well. All in all it has been a great success. I have reconnected with old friends and enjoyed watching my two boys meet and get to know my friends’ kids. It has been so much fun to see the kids developing friendships as we make sure to connect a few times a year.
Over the years, my personal and professional network has served me well. I have had some amazing experiences spending time with friends skiing, fishing or just going to the beach.
Professionally, I have been introduced to some of our best customers.
For the first several years of AG Salesworks’ history, our growth was almost 100% dependant on networking and customer referrals, which was great. However, that can only scale to a point. The next logical step was to begin to invest in marketing, which we did. We created a marketing engine starting with the production of great content and supported by a team of business development reps that not only follows up on quality MQLs but reach out in a proactive way to our target marketplace. Webinars and attending shows are also part of our marketing mix. This next step in our scaling process has proved to be very successful, thanks to our Marketing team: Richard, Megan & Allie.
Until this year, I had not given a lot of thought to how networking and marketing could work together. I always thought of them as two distinct approaches to driving demand. After giving myself and my team much credit for bringing in some great customers as a result of networking, I realized than we perhaps would not have had the level of success in this area we did if it were not for the foundation built by marketing. Would our great network of partners have been as interested in working with us if we did not have such a great brand and reputation? Would a new introduction have been so easy if it were not for the fact that they had already heard of us? Probably not. Did we receive a few more returned calls or emails as a result of a blog that was read, or a recommendation made by a peer? Probably.
For a career sales guy who has long been pretty hard on marketing, I must say it’s nice to hear, after having been introduced from a partner to a high level contact, that “AG Salesworks is the company that keeps popping up everywhere.”
It takes some time and patience, but I will say investing in a marketing process that warms up the marketplace can sure make your life as an executive or sales professional much easier. Of course, you still need to pick up the phone or attend the event, but you’re halfway there when upon meeting someone new, they say “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of you guys.”