In today’s social media world of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, the personal networks are vibrant for everyone; and this vibrant network, when used by our employees, can also be used to drive new growth avenues for Celanese.
We are in the business of solving customer problems by driving “the chemistry inside innovation” at our customers. We also serve every industry that one can imagine. We are in paints, we are in housing, we are in cars, we are in medical equipment, and we are in human bodies. This diversity of applications and uses of our products provides an avenue for every employee to use their network to support our business.
No matter what function you are in or how long you have been with Celanese, you are connected with someone in another company or organization. That connection can be used to establish a connection with our people to see if there is opportunity to help them, serve them or learn from them. There are more than 12,000 people on LinkedIn with the name Celanese associated with them. Each person has more than 100 connections (granted many of them are shared connections) and the level of relationship may be different for different people. If we invoke that network, we are talking about more than 1 million people we can potentially reach.
Imagine using those connections to find opportunities for business. Of course, not every interaction can lead to a business opportunity, but at least a 10 minute conversation could be worthwhile. We have quite a few examples where we have employees using their old connections to connect us with the engineering functions at our customers that has, in fact, led to some new business. Let me give you some examples.
We had a senior-level employee at Celanese who used to be in marketing for a truck company. That employee connected us with their senior leaders which led to a trip to their factory, a walk down their assembly line and now we have some ongoing business and quite a few projects in the pipeline for future business.
We recently visited a customer where the chief technology officer of the company was a colleague of one of our employees and the exchange led to more than $4 million in annual business. In another example, one of our employees used his neighbor as a link to an appliance company and set up a tear down and technical exchange and that has created list of more than 10 active projects.
We have some of our marketing and sales people who search LinkedIn for functional roles at companies and send “cold emails” and eventually get connected to the right contacts that helps drive projects and business.
These examples highlight three critical elements of how we can reach our vision to “be the first-choice chemistry solution source for our customers”:
1. Every employee can initiate sales or projects based on their network;
2. Networks stay current with today’s social media tools and can lead to valuable connections that turn into commerce;
3. When it comes to social networks, boundaries between functions phase out and anyone can connect to the right person and make business happen.
So as you look into your social network, try to find who you can connect with to assess solution support and, in turn, lead to new business. Regardless of your job function, region or role here at Celanese, you can be a prolific networker and help generate new business. If we look at selling from a much broader perspective, we could say that selling and generating new projects can be everyone’s job!