How These Brothers Went from Hip-Hop Duo to Transforming the World of B2B Sales – ReadWrite
Accord co-founders, Ross & Ryan Rich opening for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, circa 2012
Right before the pandemic hit, Ryan Rich and his brother Ross left their job at Google and Stripe for their craziest adventure yet: founding Accord! They’d worked together in the past – performing as a hip-hop duo in college (yup, that’s them in the photo) and organizing countless fundraisers and concerts. Starting a VC-backed tech company was the next logical step for them, right?
It was late 2019 when they started Accord, the world’s first Customer Collaboration Platform. It’s a shared workspace so buyers and sellers can work together throughout the laborious B2B sales process—making it a lot more collaborative and a lot less painful.
As part of the founding sales teams at Stripe (Ross) and Google Cloud (Ryan) saw how little innovation there was around the buyer <> seller relationship. Account executives were running multi-year, multi-stakeholder, multi-million dollar deals with email and conference calls.
They went through Y Combinator’s Winter 2020 Batch and recently raised $6M from Stripe. Some of their early customers include Figma, Productboard, and Very Good Security.
Connecting with the minds behind Accord
I caught up with co-founders of Accord, Ross and Ryan Rich, who talked with me about the future of their company and the world of B2B sales.
Q: Accord takes a buyer-first approach, what exactly does this mean and why did you decide to take this approach?
As sales reps, Ryan and Ross shared that they used to think closing a deal was hard work… But that was before they started talking to buyers about their experience. After interviewing dozens of buyers while getting Accord off the ground, they quickly learned what it was like to be on the other side of the table.
“In retrospect, we really had no idea how challenging it was to actually buy something! The legal reviews, security reviews, consensus building, budget negotiations. Most evaluations end in no decision AND there are over 10 decision-makers just on the buying team.”
There are thousands of sales tools that focus on making life easier for the sales team—yet none built with the buying experience in mind. This is the perfect example of how sales aren’t truly focused on the most important person in the sales cycle: the buyer!
Q: There’s mention of moving from“Vendorship” to “Partnership”, what exactly does this mean?
Ryan shared his perspective on what Accord’s tagline “From Vendorship to Partnership” really means:
“A vendor is focused on their product and selling as much of it as possible. They love talking about bells, whistles, and discounts. (No one wants to work with a vendor.)
A partner, on the other hand, is a subject matter expert concerned with helping their buyers make the best possible decision. The modern buyer comes to the table looking to collaborate. They want a partner to help them think about their business and its challenges. Take Figma for example. Companies want to buy from Figma because they want a partner to help them with their over design and creative process, not simply because of a function or feature.”
Q: How will B2B sales evolve in the future?
Think of everything that’s happened in the B2C buying process in the last 20 years… buying insurance, a trip abroad, or a new car. It’s frictionless and a human is only involved in the last 20% of the process (if at all). That’s coming to the B2B world.
Buyers are begging for a different buying experience and sales leaders are struggling to keep up. Especially at more traditional enterprise organizations. Ryan believes that there’s about to be an explosion of technology to support this new relationship. There’s no way email, Slack, conference calls, and shared docs are going to cut it. You can’t replicate a frictionless B2C experience using home-grown tools.
It’s an expensive problem and you are already starting to see a lot of new startups, like Accord, in the space.
Q: What are some actionable strategies B2B sales reps can implement to put their buyers first?
Build empathy for your buyers. The more a sales team understands their buyers, the better they can help them. Take time to interview your buyers after as many won and lost deals as possible. What was the most painful part of the sales process, where did they experience the most friction? Ryan also recommends a recent article on positioning yourself as a partner and how build empathy for your buyers.
Most teams are afraid to ask their buyers about their experience—especially when deals were lost. Buyers are surprisingly open to helping their selling counterparts learn and improve.
Q: What are the plans for the recent fundraise? What’s the future hold for Accord?
Off the back of their recent $6M seed round fundraise (led by Stripe & YC), Accord is staying laser-focused on building the Accord Customer Collaboration Platform to help revenue leaders create a repeatable, collaborative sales motion.
This includes: investing even more in our R&D team (across engineering, product, and design), as well as starting to scale the GTM side of Accord with new hires in sales and marketing.
Feel free to reach out to Ryan to talk B2B sales, hip hop, or whatever’s on your mind: firstname.lastname@example.org, LinkedIn, or subscribe to Accord’s newsletter.
5 Benefits Engineers Can Bring to a Tech Hiring Team
The tech job market is in a perpetual state of flux. One day, there’s news of talent shortages; the next, rampant layoffs. But one thing remains constant: there will always be a need for skilled tech workers. Whether the market is booming or a recession looms, positions for highly skilled tech professionals can sit unfilled for months, while employers struggle to find the right candidates to stay on top of the game. To win, every company needs an airtight strategy for attracting the best possible talent.
Some companies are handling today’s tech hiring challenges by turning to recruiters with more specialized knowledge, such as backgrounds in engineering. Startups and established enterprises alike may benefit from including engineers at the hiring table or handing over their recruiting processes to highly experienced tech professionals. Dedicated experts — rather than more generalized recruiters — can help companies create leaner, more efficient tech hiring processes.
Here are some reasons engineers and other tech experts can help save companies time and money, while ensuring they find the best candidates for each role.
1. They Speak the Candidates’ Language
In a 2022 report on tech hiring, the New York Times points out that traditional recruiters can scare tech candidates off with too much friendliness and fluff. They forget that their data-oriented audience may just want the hard facts about the job. Engineers in recruiting roles know that a quick message highlighting the most important bullet points of the role will often go much further in attracting a left-brained candidate than a lengthy personal introduction penned by a more conventionally personable recruiter.
Furthermore, tech talent may find that encounters with standard recruiters feel like a game of telephone. A current member of the team explains the ins and outs of the role to a recruiter, who must then convey that information to a potential candidate. But when recruiters possess only general industry knowledge, a lot can get lost in translation.
Recruiters may not understand enough about the role to accurately relay the information or answer candidates’ questions about the inner workings of the position. This can lead to a frustrating experience for the candidate and a whole lot of back-and-forth for the company and the recruiter. With experienced engineers at the recruiting helm, candidates waste less time waiting for answers to more detailed or technical questions about the job, and current employees exhaust fewer resources prepping recruiters for candidate interviews.
2. They Know What Tech Professionals Are Looking For
In today’s world, highly skilled tech talent will leave any job that doesn’t work for them, so employers need to understand how to best appeal to candidates. Hint: It’s not just a salary and benefits package.
An experienced engineer in a recruiting role can help identify the things that really matter to today’s tech professionals, like a flexible or asynchronous work schedule, work-from-anywhere options, and the right mentorship and learning opportunities. Engineers can assist companies in developing a comprehensive and effective employee value proposition: the right combination of role composition and employee benefits to attract the perfect talent for the job.
As this suggests, it’s not all about perks. Most tech professionals want to feel truly engaged by their jobs — they want to enter that state of flow, where their work is equally challenging and meaningful. They want to feel a sense of connection and purpose on the job. When engineers work as recruiters, they can empathize with candidates’ need to really sink their teeth into a project and help match them with a role they’re excited to wake up for each morning.
3. They Know What Employers Are — And Will Be — Looking For
Just as engineers know what their fellow tech professionals are seeking in a job, they know what hard and soft skills employers require to achieve business results. They understand the state of the market and know what languages, platforms, and tools applicants must have mastered to ensure project success. Better yet, they have the tech chops to assess that mastery.
While most tech employers understand by now that resumes often take a backseat to skills assessments during the hiring process, there’s still a science to choosing the best evaluations for the job. Engineers can help employers avoid generic coding tests and select or design skills assessments that are more closely tailored to the specifics of the role.
Engineers on a hiring team can also help determine what skills and expertise may be needed to take an established company into the future or bring an exciting new product to market. They can predict which candidates will be best equipped to train for these skills later and stock their contact lists with people who might be a fit in months or years to come, even if they aren’t the best candidates now.
4. They Bring Greater Efficiency to the Hiring Process
According to tech talent acquisition agency OSI Engineering, engineers are much more effective than the average recruiter at recognizing the kinds of hard and soft skills that make a candidate right for a specific role. With a quick scan of a resume or a few glances at a LinkedIn page, they can more quickly spot applicants that are up to the task.
Without that same highly specialized experience and technical know-how, generalist recruiters need to work harder — and longer — to source and select the right people to interview. That’s a problem, as one of the main flaws in the tech hiring process today is the lag time between first contact with a candidate and actually making an offer. In many cases, this can take up to several months.
In the time it takes to move through the hiring process, a company’s ideal candidate may already have accepted another offer or even started a new position. When decision-makers have more experience with the roles being offered, they can streamline hiring timelines, making companies less likely to lose out on the right candidate.
5. They Can Help Companies Avoid Costly Hiring Mistakes
Engineers can play an equally important role in weeding out the wrong candidates. Google, for example, uses a structured interviewing process developed by its People Analytics Team to forestall toxic hires.
The reason that’s so vital is that bad hiring choices cause about 80% of employee turnover, which in turn contributes to recruiting and hiring cycles that cost U.S. businesses $72 billion a year. Recruiters with engineering or other technical expertise can help stop these bad hires from happening in the first place, saving companies a fortune on firing and rehiring.
As vital as it is to stop the wrong hire before it happens, however, rejections need to be handled with care. Recruiters without a technical background may struggle to give detailed, accurate feedback to a candidate on why they weren’t chosen for the job. Fortunately, engineers have no such difficulty.
Because engineers can effectively relay this information to the candidate, that individual is more likely to walk away from the interview with a better understanding of where they need to learn and grow. More importantly, this candid but constructive feedback creates a positive experience of the employer and the brand, which other tech professionals in the candidate’s network are sure to hear about.
Go With the Pros
So when you’re looking to hire tech employees, there are five good reasons to leave it in the hands of engineers. Here’s one more.
Engineers have established networks, often including fellow professionals in the global, virtual space. With more tech workers wanting to work remotely, a shortage of skilled tech workers in the U.S., and an increasingly global talent marketplace, companies can’t just rely on their local networks to find applicants. They need recruiters with contacts around the world who are familiar with niche job boards and other places attractive candidates might be hiding out. Engineers fit this bill, too.
When you leverage engineers in your tech recruiting process, you up your chances of landing skilled hires that can help your company achieve its business goals. And if you likewise tap the international talent pool, you can make not just qualified but more diverse hires, improving company culture, productivity, and reputation.
Featured Image Credit: by Edmond Dantès; Pexels; Thanks!
9 Healthcare Marketing Strategies to Attract and Engage Patients
If you’re a healthcare provider looking for new and effective ways to find and engage potential patients, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll look at nine healthcare marketing strategies that can help you attract more patients and increase your patient engagement. From leveraging social media to investing in search engine optimization, these healthcare marketing strategies will give you the tools to reach out to and build relationships with potential patients. So, let’s get started.
1) Define your audience
Identifying the target audience for your healthcare marketing efforts is an essential first step in any marketing strategy. You need to determine who your ideal patient is so you can craft effective messaging and use the right tactics to reach them.
Start by considering the demographics of your current patients and those most likely to be interested in your services. Take into account age, gender, income level, location, and other factors that might be relevant.
Then, think about the pain points or needs your services can address. It will help you identify potential customers who could benefit from your offer. For example, if you specialize in sports medicine, you’ll want to target athletes and active individuals who are likely looking for solutions to common injuries or health issues.
2) Foster relationships with referring physicians
Building relationships with referring physicians is great for your healthcare marketing strategy. Physicians are well-respected and highly trusted in the healthcare industry, so building meaningful relationships with them is important. Doing so will help you gain access to their patient referral networks and increase your visibility in the community.
Start by introducing yourself and your practice to referring physicians. Ask for their contact information and make sure to keep it up-to-date. Connect with them on social media, if appropriate. Offer to attend conferences and meetings they are attending, or invite them to yours. Offer them patient education materials, discounts on services, or other incentives that show your appreciation.
You can also offer referring physicians helpful resources and advice, such as regular updates on medical advances or educational materials related to their specialties. Make sure that your content is always accurate and up-to-date. Finally, be sure to follow up with referring physicians regularly. It will show them you value their relationship and help maintain positive working relationships.
3) Research your competition
Understanding your competitors is essential when it comes to healthcare marketing. Knowing what strategies they use and how successful they are can help you improve your tactics and stay ahead of the game.
Start by researching the demographics of your target market – who are they, what do they need, and how can you reach them? Analyze their services and offerings and evaluate their marketing tactics. Ask yourself how you can differentiate your services from theirs, what makes your product better, and how you can beat them in terms of quality, cost, or convenience.
Look for trends in their marketing campaigns and see what works for them. Analyze their approach and create a plan that capitalizes on their weaknesses and maximizes your strengths. Discover what makes them unique and use this knowledge to inform your marketing strategy.
4) Incorporate SEO into your website
Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for healthcare marketing and can help increase organic traffic to your website. It involves optimizing keywords, phrases, titles, headings, images, and other elements on web pages to appear higher in search engine results.
Optimize your website for search engines to ensure that it ranks high when users search for topics related to your practice. The higher your site appears in the search results, the more traffic it will get –more opportunities to convert leads into appointments.
SEO helps you get found by potential patients and keep existing patients coming back. As an essential part of your healthcare marketing plan, it’s important to understand how to incorporate SEO into your website.
First, you’ll need to create content that is both informative and optimized for search engines. Research relevant keywords related to your practice and target audience, then use those keywords in your website content. Ensure you don’t overuse the keywords, which can negatively affect your rankings.
It’s also important to ensure your site is easy to navigate and contains fresh, unique content. It will improve user experience and encourage visitors to stay longer on your site. Additionally, ensure that your website works on all devices and browsers. It will maximize the number of people who can access your site, increasing your ranking in search engine results.
5) Use social media
Social media is another powerful tool when it comes to healthcare marketing. Not only does it allow you to interact with potential patients directly, but it also builds relationships with current and potential referral sources. Utilizing social media channels allows you to share valuable information about your practice and create content that engages with patients and drives new leads.
Regarding healthcare marketing, social media is important to your overall plan. With a well-executed social media strategy, you can reach a wide audience quickly and easily. It’s essential to have an active presence on major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube, as they provide excellent opportunities for reaching a wide range of audiences.
The key to success is to create content that resonates with your target audience and can convert leads into actual customers. Post relevant information about your services and helpful health tips, and answer questions from potential patients.
Ensure to include visuals whenever possible, as this will help grab your audience’s attention. Also, use hashtags to make your posts more visible and encourage user engagement. Responding quickly to comments and questions is important to foster relationships with potential patients. Finally, measure and track the results of your efforts through analytics software like Google Analytics or Facebook Insights.
6) Develop a strong brand
When it comes to healthcare marketing, creating a strong and unique brand is essential. It is your opportunity to stand out from the competition. Crafting an eye-catching logo and website and utilizing high-quality visuals can help you make a powerful impression on potential patients.
Another great way to build your brand is by creating custom content. Leveraging educational materials like blog posts and videos can help showcase your expertise. Sharing success stories and patient testimonials can also be effective in building trust with potential patients. Look for opportunities to get your name out in the local community. Attending events and partnering with other organizations are great ways to boost your visibility.
Participating in local events is a great way to interact with potential patients and show them why your services are superior. It also allows you to network with local healthcare professionals and gain referrals.
You can also host educational webinars or live chats to educate your patients and generate leads (healthcaremailing dotcom). Tools like Zoom or YouTube Live will allow you to stream the content and engage with people who aren’t physically present in the room. It can also help you reach a wider audience since many patients won’t be able to attend in person and may not have access to your event unless they know it beforehand.
You can ask questions during the webinar or chat and collect data from those who participate through their answers before ending the session with an action plan for following up with those who respond positively. It allows for better follow-up than just sending automated emails out afterward – you’ll get actual feedback from real people.
7) Invest in content marketing
Healthcare Content marketing is a powerful tool for healthcare providers to attract and engage new patients. It involves creating and distributing content related to your business’s services or products. It aims to educate and inform potential patients about your practice, services, and how you can help them.
Content marketing can take the form of articles, blog posts, infographics, videos, podcasts, social media posts, and other forms of media. This type of content provides value to potential patients and can help establish you as an authority figure in the industry. By creating high-quality content that is informative and engaging, you can help potential patients learn more about your practice and its offerings. You can also use content marketing to build trust with current and prospective patients.
Content marketing can be done in-house or outsourced to a content creation agency. If you choose to outsource, select an agency with expertise in the healthcare industry that can create accurate, relevant, and up-to-date content.
No matter your approach, content marketing can be an effective strategy for reaching new patients and building relationships with them. By investing in content marketing, you’ll be able to keep your website updated, attract more organic traffic from search engines, and give your current and prospective patients the information they need to make an informed decision about their healthcare.
8) Advertise online
Online advertising can be a great way to reach potential patients and those in your care. You can use platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads to target potential patients based on location, age, gender, interests, and more.
Online advertising can help you promote awareness of your practice and services, increase brand visibility, and even drive conversions. You can also ensure your messages reach the right people with the right targeting. Just do your research and understand the different types of ad formats available.
For example, some formats are better suited to creating brand awareness, while others may be better for lead generation. Additionally, have clear, concise messaging with strong call-to-action (CTA). It will help ensure that your online ads are effective in driving conversions.
Paid advertising on social media channels or platforms like Google Ads is another great way to reach potential patients. Setting up ads allows you to target specific population segments, which increases the likelihood of getting clicks and converting leads into customers.
9) Implement lead capture forms
Lead capture forms are essential in any successful healthcare marketing strategy. They allow you to collect information from potential patients, such as name, email address, phone number, and other contact information. This data allows you to track your leads and nurture them into becoming paying customers.
To get the most out of lead capture forms, design them for maximum conversion. It means providing an easy-to-use interface with a clear call to action that encourages users to take action. You should also include a field for additional comments or questions so that you can gather more detailed information about your leads.
Your lead capture forms should also be strategically placed throughout your website. Place them prominently on your homepage, or add them to key service and contact pages. Additionally, consider offering incentives to encourage people to fill out the forms, such as discounts or free consultations.
By investing in lead capture forms, you can track your leads and nurture them into becoming loyal customers. The right combination of design, placement, and incentives can make all the difference in finding and engaging patients.
Healthcare marketing is a unique opportunity to build relationships and connections with your audience. These people will benefit from your products and services to be incredibly loyal customers. By putting yourself out there in a way that resonates best with your target demographic — and by keeping an eye on what makes them tick — you’ll find that you have a much easier time engaging them on social media or in person at events like conferences or expositions.
Hopefully, we leave you with insights on the marketing strategies that can help you find and engage patients in a way that leads them to take action.
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Alternatives to Layoffs in Tech: Maintaining a Stable Workforce
The tech industry is volatile and subject to the whims of the market. With the recession that’s predicted to hit the global economy in late 2023, companies everywhere, from small startups to major enterprises, are already taking countermeasures to combat it. Ironically, the most commonly employed countermeasure is large-scale layoffs.
Just recently, Microsoft announced 10,000 job cuts, impacting nearly 5% of its global workforce, as part of “workforce reduction” measures the company is taking. This was soon followed by a similar announcement from Google’s parent company, Alphabet. CEO Sundar Pichai commented on the downsizing, saying the company had “hired for a different economic reality” than what it’s up against today.
During times of economic hardship, it is important for companies to maintain a stable, employed workforce. This is why many businesses are searching for alternatives to layoffs as a method to get through these challenging times. Let’s explore what some of these potential alternatives could be.
A substitute for layoffs is to recruit fewer people each month in the first place. Companies might limit the pace of new recruits and concentrate on keeping their present employees. This is one of the factors that they can adapt to rather than reduce their current staff.
During the height of the pandemic, companies like Amazon, Meta, and Microsoft hired and grew their employee base significantly. In contrast, Apple hired at a more modest rate compared to its peers, adding only 17,000 new recruits between 2020 and 2022. Now that uncertain times are ahead, and we see the consequences of overhiring in the form of mass layoffs. On the other hand, Apple has avoided using layoffs as a tool to deal with these dire circumstances.
The implementation of a hiring freeze is an additional alternative to laying off present employees. This entails putting a temporary stop to all new hiring until the business’s financial situation improves. By doing so, companies can cut expenditures while maintaining the current staff.
Another reason why Apple is not laying off its employees like its counterparts — is that it implemented a hiring freeze in November 2022 to prepare for the turbulent times that are ahead. There’s no news on when the freeze will be lifted, with sources even saying that it could go on until September 2023.
Reducing Working Hours
Reducing the number of hours a worker works each week is one such option that can prove to be beneficial. This enables businesses to maintain their personnel while also cutting expenditures. Employees who are able to keep their jobs but with fewer hours worked may also benefit from it, freeing up more time for other activities.
Reducing hours, not workers, is the right for forward-looking business leaders to institute today. 73 companies in the UK ran an experiment with a four-day workweek. The results showed that managers and employees generally described being more or equally productive in a shortened week. A shorter work week gives employees more time to spend with their friends and family and also focuses on any hobbies or part-time ventures that they wish to cultivate.
Voluntary Separation or Leave
Offering voluntary unpaid leave is another substitute for permanently laying off workers. Although this reduces the number of employees, it also gives them the option to return to their positions later. This is advantageous for the employer and employee because it lets workers take a short break while businesses save money.
Alternatively, companies can also implement a voluntary separation program. This enables employees to willingly leave the organization in exchange for severance compensation. This may be a successful strategy for reducing the workforce while still treating the impacted workers with fairness and compassion. Coca-Cola offered voluntary separation packages to 4000 employees in North America, and it included some major incentives like at least a year’s pay plus a 20% bump.
Focusing on Employee Retention
The most optimal way to avoid layoffs is to reduce employee turnover. High turnover can lead to a constant need to fill available positions, which can be costly and time-consuming. Businesses can decrease the number of unfilled positions and the need to hire and train new employees by putting more emphasis on employee retention and taking measures to improve it. Employers can concentrate on keeping their present staff members by offering them competitive wage packages, flexible work schedules, and opportunities for career advancement.
When to layoff employees?
It’s crucial to remember that laying off employees should only be used as a last resort. Additionally, when layoffs are unavoidable, the business should manage the situation with transparency and empathy. It’s vital to avoid doing bad layoffs or for the wrong reasons. The recent Twitter layoffs are a prime example of a bad layoff, with employees either being informed by email that they have been laid off or finding out after discovering that they have been locked out of their work laptops or communication channels.
Layoffs are not always the best option and can often be detrimental to the organization as a whole. Companies can keep a steady workforce while still controlling expenses and adapting to market changes by thinking about possible alternatives to layoffs. Employers should be aware of their options and carefully consider them while putting the interests of their staff first.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Christina Morillo; Pexels; Thank you!