Use Case: When Your Business is People
How Clay helps a consultant deepen professional relationships
As a leadership and culture consultant at an executive recruitment firm, Jarrad’s day-to-day work hinges on relationships. The firm decided to branch out from recruiting and add consulting to their offerings, priming Jarrad to meet executives and help shape the culture of companies.
“Our clients are generally senior executive leaders, C-suite, of some of the world's largest companies,” Jarrad said.
In the past, Jarrad focused on strategy and organizational consulting, but soon discovered effectively changing an organization’s strategy required a culture shift as well. This led Jarrad to pivot within the company, but he wanted to stay in contact with all of his strategy and organizational connections. For Jarrad, maintaining relationships among clients and for his personal career trajectory is paramount.
“The more senior you become, the closer to a partner role, the more important those relationships become” Jarrad explained. “Because selling and bringing in new work becomes a bigger and bigger part of your job and an expectation.”
In the consulting industry, most connections are made on a per project basis. If Jarrad is helping a client work with leadership to shift their organizational culture, he’ll meet many, many people throughout the duration of that project. Jarrad wanted a way to keep track of these relationships and maintain these connections—even after the project ended.
“Someone early in their career can do great work on a project—do the analyses, facilitate meetings and workshops with clients—and that's great,” Jarrad described. “And it does help when the client sees that you did a good job; they're more likely to bring you in for the next project. But as you move up in your consulting career, those relationships alone can't get you to the level of sales you’d need to be a partner in a big firm. You need a network beyond the active project you're working on right now.”
For Jarrad, he had already made great connections in his past work as a strategy and organizational consultant. But maintaining them was another story.
Initially, Jarrad used Excel to take notes about different people in his professional life. But this quickly became messy and cumbersome without an adequate search feature to surface the connections Jarrad needed when he needed them. Plus, he had to manually input everything.
“I would just find myself spending a lot of time putting information I already knew about people into the Excel sheet,” Jarrad said. “And it's like, ‘Is this really the best use of my time?’”
Knowing there had to be a better way, Jarrad determined he needed a digital tool customized to his specific needs and thought processes. One that automatically imported information and linked a contact’s digital presences.
“I was looking for some type of personal CRM,” Jarrad realized.
“When I did come across Clay, it seemed like a pretty perfect match,” Jarrad said. “It was able to pull in all of the data I had from contacts on LinkedIn and my company Outlook.”
Because Jarrad’s emails and calendar meetings were automatically populated into Clay, he could easily retrieve information about the people he was speaking with, including any personal notes he had created within Clay about their past interactions.
But most importantly, Clay reminded Jarrad to maintain these relationships. On set cadences, Clay prompts Jarrad to reach out to people in his life he hasn’t contacted in a set amount of time.
“This was a development area for me to continue to grow in my career,” he explained. “I love people, I love working with other people, but it doesn't hit in my head to go reach out to that person that I haven't talked to for three months. I can stay in touch with folks and keep those relationships that I've built with a client or from a project alive.”
Jarrad uses the groups functionality to sort his contacts in a way that makes sense for him. He splits his contacts in the firm between the search and consulting portions of the company. Meanwhile, another group exists for client contacts, economic buyers, and active client counterparts.
“Active client counterparts is where I use the cadence feature to remember to speak with these people at least once a week,” Jarrad said. “Whether it's an email, a LinkedIn message, a text so that our relationship is building beyond just delivering what we promised to do on a project.”
And if he’s given someone a leadership assessment, he makes a note for himself.
“I have a tag for anyone that I've assessed or debriefed with,” Jarrad said. “If somebody pops up again, I can say, ‘Oh, actually, I did an assessment with this person way back when.’”
Since using Clay, Jarrad’s able to maintain regular correspondence, and he’s found that correspondence has deepened beyond simply discussing work projects.
“Because Clay takes care of the basics and pulls in LinkedIn, their bio, and other information, I can focus on what they shared about their vacation last month or the name of their new grandson.”
In the future, Jarrad plans to migrate his use of Clay into non-professional spheres, if the opportunity arises.
“If I were to join a local association or volunteer somewhere, I would definitely be adding people from that into Clay to help me keep track of those relationships in the same way.”