Bryan Kramer

Posted on June 19, 2012 by Bryan Kramer 0

Part 1: Everyone is Reachable an Interview with Al Campa, CEO

Are you ready? It’s time for you to learn how to use your social networks the right way.

Recently, I was able to talk with Al Campa, CEO of Reachable, a social business solution that leverages your personal contacts with a database of over 65 million business people. I came away with some compelling information about how you can use your networks to truly build real relationships personally, professionally, and through your brand. The opportunities that social media presents are endless. Its true power lies in helping companies build quality connections, something we often overlook.

My conversation with Al explains how quality connections in reachable networks can help build your marketing and sales volume.

Al Campo, CEO of Reachable

Can you give me some general background on the challenge and solution as it relates to social networking?

Over the years, social networking has evolved. Go back to the early days of Facebook—that’s when you would friend everyone you could. You had very aggressive friending and networking going on. But now, as more and more people are joining the network, you see users being a little more cautious and dealing with privacy concerns. People are asking, do I want all these people to see pictures of my friends or family?

Then there is LinkedIn, which is more a professional network, so things work a little differently there. It’s a place with useful contacts and I can get quality information that’s a little less personal. But you still have to be somewhat discerning. For example, the other night I met someone at an event. That same night I got a LinkedIn request from him. What are the chances I’ll see him again? Would I really consider him a “connection?” When you see someone with 5,000 contacts, you know that they don’t know all those people.

I really believe that the online world should mirror the offline world. If you have a relationship online vs. offline, it should be the same. People are being more restrictive now so all of this social networking doesn’t get out of control. A lot of people have polluted their network, which makes it hard to find good connections.

Now let’s talk Twitter—this is an amazing communication tool. Back in the old days you had a business wire. Now you have Twitter. People get news on Twitter, updates, sports trade, etc. You have celebrities, CEO’s, co-workers, etc. all using it and it’s great for information sharing. It’s powerful. But if you aren’t careful, it can be a constant stream of the “wrong” people too. It’s a direct line of connection to a million people, and as a communications tool it’s great.

At Reachable, we take all of your connections and we show you what it all means. We help you make sense of your social networks. We are like Google for relationships. For example, just because I follow Tom Cruise on Twitter, that doesn’t constitute a “relationship.” We help you identify meaningful connections. If you develop a back and forth dialogue with someone, we can mine that connection to show how you can leverage it.

Where do you think social/online connections will be in just 2 years?

You have two competing trends—I’m not sure which one will win. One is the ever-growing reach of Facebook. Will they take over the world? Could Facebook eliminate LinkedIn by adding a few features that could wipe out LinkedIn’s existence? Maybe.

But then you have the growth of specialized networks like Pinterest with a focused social network. To me, it all looks the way search evolved in the early days. You had Google, Ask Jeeves, Yahoo, etc. and Google won and crushed them all. So we might see the same thing happen where Facebook dominates whoever is left. Or we may have the “specialty” or focused networks that may come up and really thrive. Facebook clearly has the dominant share with 1 billion people. With only 7 billion people in the world, that’s going to be tough to beat.

Is social proximity more important than geographic proximity when it comes to sales?

Yes, absolutely, I think social proximity is more important than geographic proximity.

If you aren’t leveraging social proximity, here’s what happens. Let’s say you have 10 sales reps, and they each get 100 leads a day. Reachable ranks those leads by strengths so you can see where the lowest hanging fruit is. This gets into your lead distribution stream. If someone leaves a company, you should be able to follow them through their career changes.

So people are asking, should we align our territories based on who has the best social connections or by geographic position? Well, it doesn’t matter if someone is closer in geographic proximity—that representative who knows that lead better is going to win the business. Research shows that you have a FIVE times better chance of getting a call back if you have a social connection than if you have none at all. We can show how social proximity will start to build and match the right person to the right connections or relationships. So how about if we leverage people who have those great relationships? Leverage the relationship. The only issue is how to solve this.

Talk to me about big data. How will the tools of the future will be able to parse together what matters most and help turn it into real sales?

Data is constantly pulled from public, private, enterprise data and stitched together into graphs. It’s not easy, but possible. Bringing data together from many sources and making sense of it is a challenge. That’s where our analytics algorithms work to bring all the possibilities together. It’s a combination of analytics and the strength of an individual network to give you the best approach.

Take, for example, the San Francisco Giants. They sell tickets based on location and time. They change ticket pricing over time based on how many are available. Analytics is just like selling tickets to the Giants. Another example is the airline industry—the airlines have lost 20 billion dollars collectively and are now taking it to the point where different airline seats cost different amounts. They know which seats are the most preferred based on research data, and they are trying to extract every dollar.

Key takeaway: Social networks are evolving from being quantity-focused (how many friends and followers you have) to quality-focused (how strong and meaningful your connections are). Never underestimate how important it is to foster quality connections. If you have 10,000 followers or friends, but only engage with a handful, you’re missing a huge opportunity in your networks.

(Wait, that’s not all! Stay tuned for Part 2 of my conversation with Al when we talk about how social media has blurred the lines between our personal and professional lives—and what you can do to protect your online reputation, for both your brand and yourself.)