April 21, 2015

How I Build Relationships: 5 Relationships That a CEO Needs


This is the first of our newest series "How I Build Relationships." We firmly believe great relationships power great businesses, but how do you build those great relationships? Here's our take with influencers, Contactually users and employees, and others on how these individuals build relationships.

Zvi here. I'll let you in on a secret. Everything Contactually builds and does is really just because I wanted a good relationship management platform for myself.

One of our developers apparently programmed a loophole letting everyone else in on this secret... Oh well, you're welcome I guess.

Since you're using a product that was built for, well, me -- you might want to know what the CEO of a software business does to improve his relationships.

Who do I build relationships with? How do I build relationships? More importantly, how do I make these impactful relationships?

BONUS: I wrote an entire ebook on this that you should download -- it's free and I think you'll find advice you can act on today.

Here are the 5 types of relationships that are most critical for a CEO as his company scales, and some points on how you can best leverage them:

1. Your employees!!!

I know, Zvi, what a cop-out. Of course you're going to list that first. But in truth, it's really hard to maintain good relationships with each one of your employees.

We're more than fifty employees -- building a good personal relationship is really hard, even with people you talk to every day.

Tip: Set recurring 1:1s every quarter where you sit down, put work aside, and just see whats going on.

2. Customers

For the first year or so, you'll know every customer. Because who is crazy enough to give you money so early?

And unfortunately, as you scale, you'll know a smaller percentage of customers.

That's where I rely on my team to make sure we're engaging with all of our customers regularly -- and we can see the analytics through our own product, Contactually.

Tip: I still maintain touch with our early customers by having them in a bucket, and for our larger customers, I engage with them as well by having them in a bucket.

3. Potential Hires

Related to #1 -- the biggest mindset change I had to go through was learning that hiring a team was much more important than what I personally did. I interview and get introduced to people all the time.

Tip: I put them in a 30 day follow up bucket just to ensure no one slips through the cracks.

4. Investors

We're a venture backed business. We're lucky to be backed by some amazing investors, and will likely be raising more money at some point in the future.

Tip: I make a point to stay engaged with my current investors by sending them a ScaleMail every month, once we've closed the books on the prior month. For partners I think could be beneficial in the future, I have them in a bucket that I engage with every 45 days. Investors invest in lines, not dots, so I want to show that our line is trending upwards!

5. "Legends"

I'm going to use the term Legend as a catch-all for anyone else that could be critical to your company's growth.There is no one goal you want out of Legends -- they help you in many different ways.

They advise and mentor us on challenges we may face, provide introductions as necessary, and, overall, provide a "luck surface area" through which we're able to achieve our mission.

Tip: I would recommend not trying to get too specific with how you segment or categorize them -- just have the concept that "these are the important people that I should stay top of mind and build a relationship with."

Hope this helps you. Want to use some of these tips to build your network? Start your free trial of Contactually below!