- Internal Strategy – Figuring out who you need to speak to is the first step. What are your building, decision making, and problem solving hypotheses?
- What are you proving? – You know what you want to figure out, so you can now come up with a list of the types of people at various companies who you want to speak to.
- What channels and networks can you tap into? – The goals here are finding the right people for the least amount of time and money.
How Archie Unlocks and Maximizes its Network
Cass says Archie has a super clear order of operations for unlocking their network potential. They execute with the following key issues in mind:
- They’ve got a pretty heavy cap table, so they use that to their advantage – people have some skin in the game, Archie just has to activate its connections.
- Archie’s always super clear with the ask – they provide people in their network with messaging and a hit list that makes intros low effort.
- Removing any and all barriers that make this process annoying is the key to success.
Cass notes that Archie also operates based on an internal hit list.
They always have a clear understanding of what type of info they’re trying to uncover. They’re looking for the answers to questions like:
- During the customer discovery phase, who are our end users?
- What power and influence do end users have on our decision making?
- What does a day in the life of our end users look like and what are their pain points?
When answering those questions, you can be super targeted about who you’re trying to speak with through your network, at an organization or industry level.
She also says that a lot of work Archie does is derived from The Four Steps to Epiphany by Steve Blank.
How to Have that Perfect Network Conversation
To really pursue its goal of info gathering early on, the Archie team was super strict with themselves about the volume of calls they were having. Tracking that volume kept them accountable for continuing to source info.
What they learned from the volume goal was that volume was, in fact, the wrong goal – success was based on the quality of people they talked to and the questions they asked.
Getting crisp on questions asked yielded far more insightful conversations.
This strategy also improved the vibe of conversations – it eliminated the predatory, salesy side where experts feel like you’re trying to riff on ideas because they’re an expert and you’ve rooted them out for their knowledge.
That’s notable because Cass says you really should be doing your best to get in front of the best people in your industry – Archie prioritized this by ending each call by brainstorming about who those people are and how they can arrange conversations.
She acknowledges that doing so is difficult – it’s almost a campaign in and of itself to get the right people to open your email, even if you contact them through your network.
To navigate these hurdles, she recommends building a custom, structured databased.
Using CRMs for Internal Processing and Tracking
Archie works deeply with Notion to track conversations.
They combine the list of people they want to speak to with their conversation tracker, and add notes and insights based on what they were actually able to accomplish.
That transforms the list into less of a hit list and more of a reality – a promise to themselves that they’re going to hit their goals and record it in Notion. This simple, internal tracking creates a flywheel for their entire process, start to finish.
Cass notes that the fact that Archie’s in the hospitality industry has made all the difference – it’s a really welcoming, connected space rather than a dog eat dog one.
It’s the sort of space where once connection turns into five, which can turn into fifty.
How to Achieve that “One to Five to Fifty” Network Effect
Cass points out the dichotomy of investors – your initial group is incentivized to connect you because they have skin in the game, but some need a bit of a push to get more involved with your project.
She thinks it’s key to let go of your ego as a founder – you may have a crazy great idea, but you don’t have all of the answers. Humble yourself and ask for help.
People read the authenticity of your request, especially in the hospitality industry.
The point is, using connections properly is a combination of incentive and personality. If someone isn’t already incentivized to help you, personality has to lead the way.
It also has to do with what sort of problem you’re trying to solve.
Archie’s short term vision is making people’s lives easier in terms of the day to day ops of paying people. However, their greater vision is giving people access to financial tools they didn’t have before.
That larger vision is easy to get behind, so if Cass were to pitch Archie, she would want to put forward the value prop that people easily support.
People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Given the opportunity to do so, they respond well.