Mark Hirsch-Who You Know or What You Know in Sales?


Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Mark Hirsch. Here’s that interview.

About the interviewee

Mark Hirsch is the Founder & CEO of CreativeWorx.  He is a serial entrepreneur and true visionary with successes in software, consulting, retail and Hollywood feature films.

A graduate of the Wharton School of Business, Mark mixed a few corporate jobs among multiple start-up ventures.  Three jobs in particular (as a management consultant at Coopers & Lybrand, as a principal of an interactive design firm, and as a Consulting Practice Lead at Adobe) exposed Mark to the pains of recording & submitting timesheets for billing purposes…and provided the raw materials for him to develop an innovative solution.

In 2011, he decided to do something about it.  He left his job at Adobe to solve the timesheet problems at professional services firms, such as law firms, consultancies and ad agencies.  He conceived a novel solution to the problem, raised initial Seed funding from industry veterans, and founded CreativeWorx.

Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.). 

CreativeWorx is a Software-as-a-Service firm that helps companies increase profitability by providing insights about HOW their employees work and helping those employees improve their productivity and quality of life.

Based in New York City, CreativeWorx has 9 employees working from its headquarters, with another 5 employees working in California, Europe and Asia.

Given that the company’s founder and earliest employees worked at Adobe, it’s no surprise that CreativeWorx would have special offerings for creative professionals and their peers…and that ahs really help define the company’s with whom partner…mostly software & services companies that work within advertising industry.

What type and size of companies do you have as clients?

Though the CreativeWorx platform has broad appeal across multiple sectors, we decided early on to focus on the creative advertising agencies because of our distinct competitive advantage.

Leveraging our Adobe DNA, we built an astounding solution that has been praised by service professionals, including the agencies.  Our product was released for individual use in May 2013 and we released the enterprise version in January 2014.  We now have professionals in more than 85 countries using our TimeTracker platform with enterprise clients including Showtime Networks; Grey Advertising; Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners; Wunderman and more.

What comes to mind when you see this topic?

Relationships are such a tremendous enabler in business.  “Who you know” is profoundly true.  Fortunately, social networks and access to information makes it so much easier to connect with the right people … which tips the scales towards “What you know” being so important to success.

Whether it’s understanding the true needs of your prospective client or understanding your mutual friends or acquaintances, information is becoming more critical each day.

The answer to the question of is it “Who you know or what you know in sales” is simply that if you can leverage who you know to connect with the right people, you still need to know the right things to address a clients needs.

What are the best practices when it comes to this issue?

It’s essential to understand the problems facing your prospective customer…to instinctively know the issues, challenges and needs as well as what motivates your prospects.  Doing this research homework is an essential part of solution selling and critical to being successful.

After identifying the target companies, it’s essential to understand how decisions are made at the company.  Who controls the purse strings?  It’s also essential to understand all of the key influencers and what they need.  Why would they spend their precious time with you…and why would they want your product or service.

Nowadays, everyone is bombarded with too much information, and it’s critical that an effective salesperson do his or her homework to demonstrate domain knowledge, passion and understanding of the prospect’s issues.