Hi all, Robbie back again.
I’d like to share a story about one of my favourite parts of doing business. It was a normal Tuesday morning a few weeks ago, about half-way through our busiest quarter, when I received one of my favourite kinds of emails – a warm introduction.
This one came from one of our Brisbane-based partners, who were themselves previously introduced to us by their Microsoft channel manager. The new partner had a customer urgently in need of some advanced Azure Active Directory consulting and were lamenting the fact that they didn’t have this capability, nor could they find a non-competitive partner to work with.
I imagine the next conversation went something like this:
“Have you considered Insentra?” asked the first partner.
“I’ve heard of them”, responds the second partner, “but am not quite sure what they do.”
“Insentra are a 100% channel focused services company, helping you to design, deliver and manage complex IT projects when you have a gap in either your capacity or capabilities.”.
“They sound great, can you introduce me?”
And then I get the email in my inbox, with a warm introduction, some background on the new partner’s need and the reflected benefit of their positive experiences from previous Insentra engagements.
Yes, the above is written with my tongue firmly in my cheek, however we’d probably average 2-3 introductions like this per week, many of which develop into ongoing partner relationships.
None of this happens by chance of course and as a company, Insentra spends a lot of time developing and nurturing our channel relationships for the mutual benefit of all parties. With this in mind I’d like to share a couple of pointers that could help you generate more business via the power of referrals.
1. You first need to deliver excellent service of course in order to have people wanting to refer you (and have a robust methodology for fixing things when they occasionally go wrong.)
2. Given an introduction to you is a reflection on the person who makes it, you really need to put your best foot forward by acknowledging and actioning the intro as soon as possible. You could also build an onboarding process, put SLAs in place, share a welcome pack, appoint an executive sponsor – anything you need to turn this warm lead into new business.
3. Show your appreciation to the referrer (perhaps a bottle of wine?) or even better, a reciprocal introduction when the situation arises. Our unique position in the market means that we come across a lot of opportunities that we can’t service, and so a big part of my role is match-making with partners who I know will be able to assist.
4. Build your profile in the market. Prospective customers/partners like to know they’re being referred to a substantial company and so they’ll likely do some of their own research, even if they trust the person making the referral. Is your website up to scratch? Are you visible and active on social media? What testimonials and case-studies are available for public viewing?
5. Network, network, network. Our CEO, Ronnie Altit, is fantastic at this and works hard to maintain a diverse set of contacts across the entire spectrum. He speaks on panels, contributes to journals, mentors up-and-comers, is active on LinkedIn and generally delights in giving back to our industry – all of which is goes into helping us build Insentra.
That’s my take on the topic – I’d love to hear yours and so if you have your own tale to tell, drop me a line (or make an introduction!)
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
National Partnership Manager
I’m a passionate, experienced General Manager who enjoys building and coaching sales teams to success. With an MBA from Australia’s leading business school (AGSM) and 19 years experience in Australia and the UK, I have recently joined Insentra, a rapidly growing Australian success story in the world of channel services. I’ve enjoyed a varied career in IT, building and driving channel strategies for companies such as Microsoft, McAfee and ArrowECS. I’m happiest when helping successful teams to solve problems and truly believe in the mantra of “love what you do and do what you love.”
Key accomplishments by functional area:
– Managing Director level experience and responsibility across APAC (Webroot)
– End-to-end P&L responsibility (Arrow)
– People management responsibility across sales, marketing, finance and operations (Arrow)
– Built and managed a 9-person SMB sales team across three different APAC timezones (McAfee)
– Directly owned and exceeded sales targets of up to $120m (Microsoft, McAfee, Webroot)
– Responsible for channel execution including distribution rebate structures, MDF, training and readiness, compliance and program delivery (Arrow, Microsoft, Tech Pacific, McAfee)
– Experienced in all facets of B2B marketing – segment, brand, product, online and events (MicroWarehouse, Microsoft)
– Sales management including hiring, coaching, forecasting, pipeline control and CxO engagement (Arrow, McAfee)
– Authorised media spokesperson and experienced in public relations engagement (Microsoft, McAfee, Webroot)
– Directly owned marketing budgets of $3.5m (Microsoft)