A New Strategy to Grow Your Business With Multiplying Results and BenefitsJuly 23, 2012 | By Wayne O'Neill
Do you wish you had keys to the castle to unlock your companies account development potential? I am not talking about some “pie in the sky” fairy tale, but a practical, “down to earth” approach that one of our clients recently experienced and said was “more powerful than prospecting.” If you have ever waited for hours in a booth at a conference for someone to take interest in your product or services or even stop to take a look at what you have to offer, then you have probably also wondered…what would be a more effective way to reach out, open doors, find potential customers, get our message across and make a lasting impact? One of our clients recently stepped out of the booth with Wayne O’Neill at SCUP 47 and experienced a game changing strategy of connecting with new clients so powerfully that it transformed his whole approach to account development with multiplying results and benefits.
If you are interested in growing your business exponentially, then keep reading. With over a decade of experience leading sales and marketing teams, Broc Zautner, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at AssetWorks, now describes himself as a facilitator of growth. Over the past year of working with WOA, Broc has changed his strategy and now helps institutions by providing a leveraging infrastructure that frees up cash which can be used to move scope in other areas. He now looks for “smart” partners and end users that want to make transformational changes.
If you could experience a game changing strategy of connecting with new clients that had multiplying effects for the future of your organization, would you be intrigued? Then check out what Broc had to say when we interviewed him about our strategy that we call PDPs (Project Delivery Partners):
With the experience you just had with Wayne at SCUP, we would like your practical viewpoints on the value that AssetWorks is seeing in using PDPs (Project Delivery Partners).
As a company, we were not effective in managing partner relationships in the past. Most work came in one at a time in an opportunist type partnership. Some catalyst would prompt us to discover what a certain company does and we would say “We should call them.” We would partner with firms that do business with the same customer. But that client intel and partnership was usually short lived after the opportunity went away. What we’ve learned over the past year of working with WOA is the importance of sharing good relationships with other smart companies that have good relationships and would be smart PDPs. While working with Wayne, it was an eye opener to see how you could work with a partner to leverage client intel. Figure out where the smart customers are and where the smart organizations are that you want to go work with instead of just saying that I want to go work with this company because they look like they would be good to work with. You learn a lot more about the account when you talk with people who are already in the door and have relationships. Based on those discussions, you learn which organizations are good to work with and which would be more difficult. That information helps you decide whether or not to work with certain partners.
How do you find PDPs that are complementary to your service offerings?
To find complementary PDPs, you need to show up at conferences where you share a customer base. You look for firms who may complement what your customers need. SCUP includes university orientation and planning folks that we work with so that was a good place for us to find collaborative partners. APPA, CUBO (College and University Business Officers), NAFSA (State Facilities Administrators) are also good conferences for us to find PDPs.
How do you decide which companies would be good to work with?
Recently I learned from Wayne, the importance of talking to existing customers to discover who they like to work with and who they look to as thought leaders in specific complementary industries. Ask them: Who do you think is ahead of the game? Who do you really enjoy working with? The answers to those questions give you direction as to who would be good to partner with.
How do you start up a conversation with a potential PDP?
If you would like to penetrate an organization, you may start with tidbits of information about an account and ask questions related to that information, such as: Did you win the bid for XYZ? Where do you get stuck in a deal? Do you look to other organizations as places to help you move your scope along? Wayne taught me that people often live in their own bubble and don’t think that working with others could be mutually beneficial. By helping others move their scope along, we can free up cash for them which has tremendous benefits for Project Delivery Partners and the customer. Another more general question is “What are you doing to grow your practice?” or “What markets are you going after?” Then figure out how your services could complement one another and be mutually beneficial.
How do you manage interaction with these external firms?
At SCUP, Wayne managed the interaction with key navigators who he has a relationship with and who can take us places that we did not know anything about. In addition, these navigators can connect us with the president and CEO of the company. Wayne did a good job helping us engage so we could see why we would want to work together, how we were a good fit, and challenged us to think beyond what we envisioned. Now that the conference is over, we are working on getting back in touch with people we connected with. This takes time as partners tend to work with customers first, then will work with partners later.
What is the impactful difference between your traditional booth at a conference and spending time developing PDPs?
At SCUP, we had a traditional booth and got a few single leads. But the impactful part was when I met with Wayne who has 1,000 Linkedin professional relationships in his network and PDPs who have 200 connections in each of their networks, then each connection made has multiplying effects. This is a real shift for our sales staff but they are starting to catch on to the importance of this approach.
What is the most difficult part of using PDPs?
The hardest part is figuring out which ones get the message that you are trying to get across. Many want to partner, but how do you find the ones who have the customers’ best interests at heart. Which ones will you truly connect with? You make your elevator pitch, but their response will determine if they will connect. Wayne teaches you how to fish by modeling it and serving as a catalyst, but then eventually the challenge is to learn to fish for yourselves. So I carefully watch Wayne through the choreography of working with PDPs. It is like a “Whack a Mole” cadence with a steady flow of possibilities.
What is the best way to start the conversation with a potential PDP?
Set up meetings ahead of time with people that you know are going to get your message. It is much easier to connect when you know who you are dealing with and that person is high enough in the company to be a navigator, decision maker, check writer or someone who knows how they are trying to grow their firm. Ask PDPs “Who are your smart clients?” or “Who do you lust after to work with?” It gets them thinking, why are you asking that question. We may have a long time relationship with that organization. Or you may say, “I see your firm is based out of Florida. Do you work with Florida State or the University of Florida? They have been one of our long time clients.” Engage in candid conversations with PDPs regarding who you have worked with that may relate to where they work or what they want to do to grow their business. Use your client intel and ask them if they know about this project or that project. Saying “Ohio State University has been one of our longest customers” may give you instant integrity. In contrast, your partner may also steer you away from potential customers that may be a waste of time.
To summarize, what value have PDPs given you and your company?
“Having seen the PDP process and how powerful it is at opening doors when you have an organization that gets your message and understands the impact that it will have on their customers or their clients, developing PDP relationships is even more important and powerful than prospecting for new accounts. I would never have been convinced of that a year ago (before working with Wayne O’Neill & Associates). Being able to create long term, sustainable, leveraging, cross leveraging type relationships with partners has much more power than just trying to go out and prospect or work your way up or down an org chart in an organization. Instead of the old adage “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” in working with PDPs, “It’s WHO you know and what THEY know.”
PDPs are the most important part of developing any kind of sales relationship. Nothing has more power than that. PDPs can help you in every phase of making a sale. PDPs can even help you in times and places where you can’t even help yourself. During certain phases of the sales process, you are helpless, but your partner can make calls and contacts because they have no vested interest in what you do per se. Your partner can figure things out, talk to people, and pull information from people, where you may not be allowed. Of all we have learned from Wayne O’Neill & Associates, developing PDP relationships is the key to the castle.