Kennecting the Dots: New LinkedIn outreach tool streamlines B2B marketing

When it comes to business, Traverse City native Stephen Twomey has several pokers in the fire. But it is his business Kennected that is red-hot these days, which helps other companies streamline their online marketing.

The software as a service (SaaS) company is designed to simplify the lives of business owners and entrepreneurs through lead generation, automation, and education, according to its website.

Twomey defined it as a LinkedIn outreach tool that allows users to import search results that are pertinent to their ideal customer demographics.

Traverse City native and Kennected co-founder Stephen Twomey works from his Long Lake home.

“(It) allows people … to automate the really mundane things that take a lot of time, which is basically finding out who your ideal audience is and importing them into a (customer relationship management database).”

Kennected has a portal that allows its clients to import search results from professional networking site LinkedIn.

According to Twomey, users connect with people on LinkedIn, which behaves like Facebook in 2010, when it was not heavily monetized and people could still build an audience.

“If you type in CEOs within a certain area, you can import that URL, and you can download into the Kennected platform,” Twomey said. “With all of these contacts you can build an outreach campaign.”

Automation is used in the initial introduction with personalized emails. Once a person-to-person connection is established, the business owner takes over the dialogue instead of chat bots.

“We really want people to drive the relationship,” Twomey said. “Automation is essentially designed to help scale the things that are really difficult, which is finding the people and then getting those initial introductions.”

Kennected is an empowerment tool, he said.

“What matters is building relationships,” said Twomey. “We want to empower our customers.”

Twomey founded the business in 2018 along with Devin Johnson, Cody Harvey, Elliot Drake and Brandon Poplstein.

“We were all involved in a marketing company before and we kind of made a pivot and we saw how impactful LinkedIn was,” Twomey said. “It’s been a great ride.”

To date, the company has more than 10,000 customers that include insurance and real estate agents, coaches, construction companies, banks, doctors and chiropractors.

“We’ve got pretty much every profession you can think of that’s trying to grow their business,” Twomey said.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Kennected continues to grow. All told, the company has a staff of about 70 people and in November hired 12 salespeople.

“We’ve grown 20% every month since COVID started,” Twomey said.

He attributes the growth to companies that were unable to have in-person meetings. The restrictions that came along with the pandemic, left business owners asking questions like: How am I going to keep my salespeople busy? How are we going to generate leads?

This is where Kennected came in, said Twomey.

“Kennected really was at the right place at the right time,” he said, adding that one client used Kennected to land a $6 million contract to provide personal protective equipment.

Kennected recently opened an office in Indianapolis.

The majority of the staff is located at the Indianapolis headquarters, which officially opened its doors in mid-November. Twomey said the company is a fun and exciting place to work and its new headquarters is also attractive.

“It’s got that cool kind of sexy tech vibe that really attracts a lot of people,” Twomey said. “It is located right next to the football stadium.”

Twomey, a Traverse City Christian graduate, enjoys working from his Long Lake home and doesn’t like to leave unless he has to. However, someday Kennected could have a Traverse City office, he said.

“I am trying to get one of the other partners to move up here and if that happens, then we’re definitely going to have a Traverse City office or workspace,” he said.

Twomey has worked from home since 2014 and has become accustomed to working remotely and not having to pay rent for an office. However, he understands the importance that a brick and mortar location has, but it isn’t a necessity for Kennected, which provides onboarding and consulting for its clients, who sometimes get lost in the nomenclature of the tech business.

“We teach you how to use the software, and we give you all these proven scripts, and get you hitting the ground running,” Twomey said.

Dialing in what people are looking for is the key to success, says Twomey.

“We give you advice and tips on how to make sure that your campaign is going to be the most effective,” he said. “A lot of it has to do with figuring out what people are actually looking for.”

Currently, Kennected does not have many clients in the Traverse City area, but Twomey expects that to change.

“We’re definitely picking up customers for Kennected across northern Michigan,” he said.

Kennected will be rolling out its product K Suite, which includes Kennect Me, Kalendar Pro, Kennected and Kluster Social by the end of the first quarter in 2021. The software is a toolbox of sorts for marketing and social media.

“They’re all designed to work together and provide a better experience for people,” Twomey said. “We took a lot of the best ideas from the tools that we were referring businesses to. We’re providing more value to our customers, and we’re increasing our lifetime value per customer.”

According to Kennected’s website, the company retains 90% of its clients.

As technology evolves, Twomey says staying on the cutting edge means focusing on the client, such as utilizing futuring, which is predicting what customers want based on trends and technology.

“I think what it really comes down to is making sure you’re fulfilling the needs of your customer,” Twomey said.