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A Dreamforce Panel with Salesforce, Netflix and Thermo Fisher

A Dreamforce Panel with Salesforce, Netflix and Thermo Fisher Photo

Keith Metcalfe discussing the importance of a handshake at a dreamforce panel discussion with Netflix, Saleforce and ThermoFisher

The Forgotten Handshake

For those of you who missed it, here's a link to the audio recording of our panel discussion at Dreamforce this year, entitled “What do Salesforce, Netflix and Thermo Fisher Have in Common … Guest Data”. I'm excited for you to hear what our expert panelists had to say about how Sign In Enterprise helps them connect with their visitors.

I'd also like to invite you to read my own closing thoughts on why we can't afford to forget handshakes.

We call a click a lead, but not a handshake?

“Before Sign In Enterprise we literally had a paper guest book ... no solid record of who had been on our site.”
— Carson Hackett, Facilities Manager, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Handshakes were meant to indicate more than a fleeting, half-hearted attempt to connect. Back in the day, it was a way to show a stranger you weren’t hiding a weapon up your sleeve. I imagine that in the dark forests of medieval Europe, that was something of a profound statement.

Everyone in the business world is hungry for leads. We look for them online. We cold call. We fly all over the world to expensive conferences where we walk hundreds of miles under fluorescent lights, scouring the booths for people who might buy our products.

It’s a difficult task. So difficult, in fact, that we aim many new technological advancements at it, hoping to get better results with less effort. That’s why every business website is covered with “free demo” and “buy now” buttons. We’ve discovered that with relatively little effort, we can convert a click into a lead.

Really? That’s a lead? That's our best shot at a sale? Meanwhile, the real people we talk to and shake hands with wander off into the world unknown. How do we call the click a lead but not the handshake?

How we lose so many handshakes

“Digitizing the handshake was important to us and our brand as a company. Gathering that data has been impressive.”
-- Andrew Jordan, Security Operations Specialist at Netflix

It’s not like shaking hands isn't important. Most of us would agree that personal connections are the foundation not just of a successful business, but a fulfilling life.

The problem isn’t meeting people. The problem is remembering the person behind the handshake with precision, so that you can turn a brief encounter into a relationship. It’s not that we don’t want to. It’s that our brains are not up to the task.


The average person can only remember about 20% of the faces they see. And even if we could remember more, faces aren’t enough. If we want to forge meaningful relationships with the people we meet, we need to remember their names, companies and a slew of other details.

In practical terms, we are biologically unable to create a reasonable number of leads from the people we meet face-to-face.

So, what are we supposed to do? Well, you could make a website random people can click on, I guess. Lot’s of people do.

Or, you could do what, deep down, you’ve always wanted to do, ever since you were six years old: augment your squishy, unreliable grey matter with the crisp, silicon perfection of a computer.

Let’s do the math.

Say 250 people visit your office during the month. If you forget about 80% of them, you’ll be left with about 50 faces in your brain.

But remember (if you can), that’s only 50 faces. Not names, companies or anything else. Let’s be generous and assume you know half of them well enough to convert into new sales lead. That gives you 25 leads.

Typical lead to opportunity conversion is 10%, leaving you with three opps. And if your average opp conversion rate is 25%, you’ll end up with approximately one sale. Ouch.

Taking the handshakes back

But that only happens if you abandon the next inevitable cycle of human evolution and refuse to join the machines in their bid for world supremacy. Why not enhance our natural abilities with technology? We’ve been using tools to do things better ever since that one ape picked up an old bone and beat the crap out of all the other apes.

Over the past few decades, people have moved their customer information from Rolodexes into computer systems, and then onto the cloud with platforms like Salesforce.

Now they’re doing the same with that ratty old lobby log book. Sure, it’s better than the un-aided memory, but the Sign In Enterprise Visitor Management System instantly turns everyone who crosses your threshold, every single person you shake hands with, into a fully-mapped Salesforce lead. For those guests who aren't sales leads, logging their visit still gives you an important data point that helps you build their Customer 360.

Let’s see how those numbers crunch if you use Sign In Enterprise to remember every handshake.

250 people come through your office. They sign in with Sign In Enterprise, leaving you with precisely 250 leads (which are, by the way, already sitting in your Salesforce org, ready to go).

That means when it’s time to follow up, you convert 25 of them into opportunities. Assuming the same opp conversion rate, you’ll make six or seven sales.

Ask yourself what you’d do to get six times as many sales.

Better for everyone

“We’re working ... to [connect] that physical activity of coming into an office for a meeting with your digital record of everything that you’ve been doing. Prior to bringing the Guest Data into our CRM ... we just didn’t have the big picture about what was happening in our spaces.”
-- Martin Byrne, Director, Real Estate Technology at Salesforce

We have de-volved. In the old days, we did conduct business with a handshake and smile. And it worked, because our worlds were smaller. These days, handshakes—and the relationships they represent—are just as important as they ever were, but we need help to keep up.

If we don’t evolve how we use handshakes, we wind up draining them of meaning.

Instead of a hollow nod across a noisy room, our handshakes could say, “I see you. You’re an individual with your own stuff going on, your own business goals and busy schedule. But I want to invite you into my community because it will make things better for both of us.

“And there’s no dagger up my sleeve.”

And if this has made you curious, I'd love to tell you more about what we do. Go ahead and book a meeting with my team.


Keith Metcalfe, CEO at Sign In Enterprise

Written by Keith Metcalfe, CEO at Sign In Enterprise.

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