Leveraging Networks for Success: Insights from Drew Sechrist, CEO of Connect the Dots
As a podcaster, I’ve had the privilege of hosting numerous industry leaders on my show. One such leader is Drew Sechrist, the CEO and Co-founder of Connect the Dots. Drew’s journey from Salesforce to starting his own company is a testament to the power of leveraging networks. In this blog post, I’ll share some of the key insights from our conversation.
The Power of Networks in Sales
One of the biggest challenges faced by salespeople is reaching the right person. Often, they find themselves stuck with lower-level contacts or blocked from accessing decision-makers. Drew acknowledges this pain point and the techniques sales training offers to navigate it. However, he believes that starting at the bottom and working one’s way up is a challenging and inefficient process.
During his time at Salesforce, Drew learned the power of leveraging networks from Marc Benioff, the CEO. Benioff had a strong network and was motivated to help Drew tap into it. This culture of making introductions and leveraging connections was ingrained in the company, leading to its rapid growth. Drew initially assumed that every company worked this way, but he later realized that most companies don’t leverage networks effectively.
Why Organizations Fail to Leverage Networks
When I asked Drew why many organizations fail to leverage their networks, he shared a couple of reasons. Firstly, some companies forget the importance of asking for introductions as they scale up. They lose the habit of making these requests, which can be valuable for generating new leads.
Drew also discussed the approach he took to open doors and make connections at scale during his time at Salesforce. In the early days of the company, when it was still small, Drew would simply walk down the hall and ask Marc Benioff if he knew anyone at a potential customer’s company. As Salesforce grew, they started sending all hands emails to ask for connections, which proved to be helpful. However, as the company continued to expand, this method became chaotic and inefficient.
The Role of LinkedIn and the Birth of Connect the Dots
Then, LinkedIn came along, providing a way to scale up warm introductions. However, Drew notes that while the quantity of connections on LinkedIn increased, the quality of those connections decreased. This led to the plateau of how much they could scale warm introductions.
To solve this problem, Connect the Dots was created. They help companies build a “super graph,” which is a graph of all the relationships individuals in the company have and how well they know each other. By analyzing the metadata in email accounts, Connect the Dots calculates relationship strengths. This allows users to easily identify the strongest relationship paths and ask the right person for introductions.
The Solution Offered by Connect the Dots
Drew introduced the concept of “ghost emails,” where users can write emails on behalf of their connectors, such as CEOs or investors, making it easy for them to send the introductions. This eliminates friction and streamlines the process.
Despite LinkedIn’s efforts to overcome the issue of spam and unmanageable networks, many users’ networks have become less effective over time. Connect the Dots aims to consolidate the best aspects of LinkedIn into a more manageable and usable platform. They have developed a Chrome extension that overlays LinkedIn, providing users with additional features such as relationship strength and mutual contacts. This allows users to easily identify the best path to connect with specific individuals, even if they are second or third-degree contacts.
Drew’s insights into the power of networks and the innovative solutions offered by Connect the Dots are truly valuable. If you’re struggling with leveraging your network or finding the right connections, I highly recommend checking out Connect the Dots. Drew is always open to connecting via email and is frequently traveling between the US and Belgrade, where Connect the Dots has a significant presence.
In the world of sales and entrepreneurship, your network can be your most powerful tool. As Drew’s journey shows, leveraging your network effectively can lead to incredible growth and success.
John is the Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged Sales & Marketing thought leader, speaker, and strategist. He is CSMO at Pipeliner CRM. In his spare time, John is an avid Martial Artist.