Malcolm Gladwell’s personality types help lead generation. In his book “The Tipping Point” Malcolm Gladwell introduces 3 characters:
- Mavens and
For readers who haven’t read the book,the FastCompany website provides an excerpt with portraits of each.
Why should you care?
These characters not only play roles in the spread of ideas into popular notions. They also play roles within large organizations. So you should get familiar with them. Your lead generation effort should learn what makes a “maven” different from a “connector”, or a “salesman”. The effort will do better for you if they use conversations with contacts from the same organization to identify the people filling each of these roles.
It helps to understand organizations with more than 1K employees as highly political. You can think of silos within them as towns, or even states. The managers leading each silo perform like the mayor of a city, or a state governor. The bigger the organization, the more the emphasis on politically correct behavior. Your sales team needs to have the experience to respect boundaries beween, for example, purchasing (procurement), and the silos as selling opportunities come up. Your lead generation team needs to be looking for Gladwell’s mavens, connectors and salesmen.
Mavens are information scouts. Mavens usually have a reputation within the organization as people to go to for new ideas about how to fix a problem, or to satisfy a need. They can get your product in front of the people who seem to know all of the movers and shakers. Gladwell calls them “connectors”. When people working on leads for your business crack a big organization they should start looking for mavens right away. They should be asking
“Who is your go-to gal (or guy) for new ideas?”
Conversations about “new ideas” aren’t threatening. It should be easy to get contacts within the organization talking on this topic.
Once the lead generation team identifies the maven you need to get people talking about your product, they will probably have to bring an SME (subject matter expert) into the conversation. Mavens can’t build a good reputation without showing they know what they are talking about. Plan on a technical discussion with the maven (or mavens) if you want to get to the next step (winning an introduction to a genuine “connector”). The conversation should also produce more information about any important problems the organization is working on where your product can provide the solution. Don’t let the conversation with a maven go off track, meaning into no more than a technical discussion. Tech is fine, but keep it in context of a search for big “mission critical” problems facing them where your product will either amount to a solution or a big contributor to one.
The goal for your lead generation team is to convince the maven (or mavens) more conversations are needed about your product as a solution. The result should be a referral to someone well connected. This person, or persons, are examples of Gladwell’s “connectors”. Like their maven colleagues, these folks have built a good reputation because the referrals they have made have delivered big returns for the organization. If they endorse your product, the path for your sales team becomes a lot easier. Your lead generation team will schedule the first meeting with a connector, but the sales team needs to be invited too. The sales team takes over from here.
The purpose of meeting with the “connector” is to identify someone with the authority to convince the organization to purchase your solution. Gladwell calls these people “salesmen”. Your sales team will use the relationships they build with a salesman (or, better yet, salesmen) to build the first sale into the organization.
Here are some related blogs from our collection: