Michael C. Bertoni, Founder and CEO of PhillyTech, sat down with Consumer51’s Justin Butler, Director of Strategic Development, to discuss PhillyTech’s active relationships, another critical component of the Hiring Differentiation Index (HDI).
PhillyTech is an industry leader in assisting Software as a Service (SaaS), and Hi-Tech companies hire talent and drive growth. This is the sixth blog in a series introducing the Hiring Differentiation Index and why it’s critical for SaaS and Hi-Tech companies.
Michael C. Bertoni, Founder and CEO of PhillyTech sat down with Consumer51’s Justin Butler, Director of Strategic Development, to discuss PhillyTech’s active relationships, another critical component of the Hiring Differentiation Index (HDI).
Justin : Today we are back with Mike Bertoni, CEO of PhillyTech, talking about the importance of active connections. We briefly touched on this in our last interview about PhillyTech’s expansive network.
Mike: Excited to be here, Justin. Let’s look at the importance of active connections. I have personally been involved in SaaS business development, sales, marketing, lead generation, engineering, development, and business analysis since 1999. Over the course of my 24-year career, I have built an extensive network of people in SaaS and high-tech companies. My whole mantra around active connections is: “Give people value.”
Right now, I have 22,000+ 1st connections, a good 10% of which probably know and trust me. Active connections are people who can hear your name in the professional world and vouch for your value.
I instill this mantra with everyone in my team: People that know, like, and trust you; build active relationships. As my company grows, and my partnerships grow, all of those active connections grow.
Justin: Let’s take a moment and go back to the beginning. What's the beginning of your journey look like from a networking standpoint? What sort of processes were you using to make active connections back in 1999-2000?
Mike: I’ve always been very passionate about connecting with people and giving them value. Back then, when there was no LinkedIn, or Facebook; you had to create your own networks. I met a lot of salespeople through my company, Computer Associates. I was connecting with classmates and alumni at William and Mary, where I went to college. When starting out as a business owner, you have a smaller center of influence. It's so important that you leverage it.
Justin: So the principles sound the same, although the technology has evolved. We spoke earlier about how we can run automated campaigns to create larger networks, where they never even actually talk to you, but they join your network in today's age, but the core value of a network should be that active connection, which comes from giving value.
Mike: At the very basic level, everybody should be working on their LinkedIn. Constantly connecting with more people and trying to get networking meetings.
I'll give you an example of how active connections work. I was connected with the founder of this great SaaS company in the local Philly area. He’d been a first connection for three years, so our team set up a meeting with him.
My objective when speaking with him was not to pitch him on what we do. Instead, it was to ask, “How can I help you?”. He expressed some of his challenges, and during the course of this conversation, I was able to provide him with a few referrals. Although his hiring needs were on hold at that time, the relationship has been fostered in a way that he now has a point of contact when the needs change. He is more likely to select someone who has already given him value.
Remember that everybody has challenges, everybody has issues. How can you help them? Our superpower at PhillyTech’s is our network. Active connection builds bridges that are mutually beneficial. And these connections don't necessarily have to be somebody you’ve known for years, or somebody you went to college with. They just have to be someone that you’ve given value to without thinking about yourself. The mentality is to keep giving to your connections.
Justin: That's fantastic. It's a great step-by-step for people trying to figure out how to develop their networks. And you have so much history in the SaaS field. Give us a sense of how expertise plays into developing and fostering active connections.
Mike: When I am meeting with one of these SaaS high-tech executives or founders, I am extremely confident that I can help them hire great people. My industry expertise gives me that confidence. To everyone reading this, build your expertise in some domain area. That way, when you're meeting with somebody, you are competent and provide value.
Justin: So being able to give value, primarily targeted value, comes from understanding what your connection needs.
Mike: Exactly. Focus on being an active connection that adds value. This way, whenever your connections need something, you’ll be the first person who comes to mind. Above all else, ask the question: “How can I help you?”.
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