In business, the sphere of influence is a list of an employee’s personal and professional contacts whom they consider to be trustworthy. In broader contexts, the sphere of influence of an organization, business, or group determines its power over other organizations, businesses, and groups. The level of power or influence a company can exert is commonly related to its size.
Understanding the sphere of influence
The sphere of influence is difficult to measure and even more so to define. As a very general rule, it can be best described as containing all that an individual or organization can affect but not directly control.
The sphere of influence of an employee is a list of all the people that know and trust them in personal and professional contexts. Trust in this case can present opportunities such as referrals, word-of-mouth marketing, or even direct business.
For example, someone may ask a successful financial planner whether there are tax implications for an inheritance. Someone else who wants to purchase a used car may ask a mechanic about known faults with the model in question. Sales executives also build up a sphere of influence over time as they ask for referrals and exert influence over prospects.
Leaders who utilize the sphere of influence understand the importance of productive relationships with their subordinates. They use their position of authority to inspire passion, create buy-in, and enable others to reach personal and organizational objectives.
Marketing to one’s sphere of influence
To market to your sphere of influence, it is important to start by organizing a list of contacts. Those with extensive networks or in a suitable industry may choose to use a CRM platform, while others can create a simple spreadsheet.
In addition to a contact’s name, number, and email address, it can also be helpful to add information such as birthdays, anniversaries, hobbies, and favorite restaurants. Some of this may seem extraneous, but if you know someone’s birthday, you can send them a card. If you know a prospect’s favorite restaurant, you can propose to meet them there and pitch your product or service.
Next, break down the list into specific categories which may include:
- Professional contacts.
- Mentors, and
- Website visitors.
Once the sphere of influence has been constructed, it’s time start marketing. Like any such endeavor, ensure prospects are kept warm and communicate across multiple channels if necessary.
When you take the time to add a personal touch to your communications, you also increase the likelihood of word-of-mouth recommendations.
The sphere of influence for organizations
For organizations, the sphere of influence is often present in the following contexts:
- Products or markets – Microsoft has a significant sphere of influence in the operating systems market. Companies interested in selling software must first consider whether it will be compatible with Microsoft’s products.
- Store location – retailers who wish to turn a profit need to consider the potential for a location to attract customers. In malls and similar brick-and-mortar locations, foot traffic is influenced by flagship brands. When Australia’s largest mall Chadstone underwent renovations in 2016, for example, the redevelopment was anchored by the global players Uniqlo, Sephora, and H&M.
- Government – for better or worse, companies with deep pockets can influence governments to further their own interests. For example, banks, trade associations, and related financial institutions spent around $2 billion trying to influence the outcome of the 2016 election in the United States.
- In business, the sphere of influence is a list of an employee’s personal and professional contacts whom they consider to be trustworthy.
- The sphere of influence is difficult to measure and even more so to define. As a very general rule, it can be best described as containing all that an individual or organization can affect but not directly control.
- Individuals can utilize their sphere of influence to market products and services with a personal touch. For organizations, the sphere of influence is present in markets, products, store locations, and government.
Types of Organizational Structures
Siloed Organizational Structures
Open Organizational Structures
Connected Business Frameworks
Nadler-Tushman Congruence Model
McKinsey’s Seven Degrees of Freedom
Organizational Structure Case Studies
Airbnb Organizational Structure
Facebook Organizational Structure
Google Organizational Structure
Tesla Organizational Structure
McDonald’s Organizational Structure
Walmart Organizational Structure
Microsoft Organizational Structure
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