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    Marc Benioff on "Connecting the Dots"

    January 11, 2010
    I have been enjoying Marc Benioff's book, Behind the Cloud, which Santa left for me under the tree last month. Benioff is the CEO and Founder of Salesforce.com. Of particular interest to those of us in the business of CXO strategy, is a story he tells on pp. 92-93, called "Connect the Dots:"
    "Don't dial for dollars! Never cold-call; always call with a plan. Learn about the company and use your network to find the right individual(s) to approach. Our sales team uses our network the same way people use the business networking Web site LinkedIn, constantly reaching out to our contacts (our executive team and board of directors) to find connections. With the reach of our executives, customers and partners, it is almost impossible not to be able somehow to connect the dots before engaging with a prospect. When we were trying to win lender CIT as a customer, for example, we realized that Gary Butler, the CEO of ADP, a customer of ours, was on the board of CIT. I reached out to Gary, who recommended us to CIT. The first meeting we had at CIT was with its CEO and chairman, Jeffrey Peek. By connecting the dots, we won the unlikely opportunity to get to the "C" level on an initial sales call. This ultimately resulted in a multithousand-user deal and an extremely short sales cycle."
    This is what we have been preaching for years! We can help you pull together the information you need about your prospects and customers, so you can take a similar approach. And if you haven't checked out Behind the Cloud, you should. It's a great read for entrepreneurs and salespeople.

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    Lee Demby

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    Lee Demby