As CEO, your job is to attract influential people to your offer. There can be a near endless number of steps required to sell an enterprise software product. These steps can be taken over what often looks like the laziest of sales cycles. When an influential person champions your product as a “must have” for a business you want to sell to, the number of steps your sales team needs to take to make the sale can be substantially reduced. This can happen over a much shorter sales cycle.
Malcolm Gladwell paints a picture of precisely what I mean by “influential people”. He calls them “connectors”. Gladwell introduces the world to his “connectors” in his book “The Tipping Point: How LittleThings Can Make a Difference“. In a story for the Psychology Today website, Nancy Schlossberg, Ed.D defines Gladwell’s connector as follows:
“Gladwell describes connectors as those people who know many worlds and can link people to networks they did not know existed.”
(quote excerpted from “Malcolm Gladwell’s Concept of the Connector Works As a “What’s Next Strategy“, published by Psychology Today)
People on your sales team may know a connector. But it is your job, as CEO to, first, identify as many connectors as you can spanning the industries you think have a mission-critical need for your software and, then, to convince them your software can do the job. If you own the role of CEO because you wrote the software program, you will need to ask yourself if you can do this job. If you conclude the job requires a level of extroversion outside your comfort zone, you need a Vice President of Sales capable of hunting for connectors and adding them to your team.
Schlossberg hits the nail on the head when she describes the skills a connector possesses. Her choice of words, “[connectors] can link people to networks they did not know existed.” is perfect. If some of your prospects think your software is a “solution without a problem” just think of how much effort your sales team will collectively save once you have filled in the connector slot successfully. Your connectors will clear the fog for these prospects. They will also help prospects sold on your solution who, unfortunately, lack the internal “clout” to drive home a purchase of your solution. Once senior management gets word of your connector’s stamp of approval, what looked like a “nice to have” purchase for a couple of fiscal years from now can happen right away.
Like this story? Here is a link to another you may find helpful: