Sales is supposed to be a human-to-human activity. But, over the last decade, sales relationships have become less human, especially with the proliferation of CRMs. Fortunately, sales is on the brink of a tipping point. Artificial intelligence promises to transform the ways in which sales professionals interact with customers and forge high-quality relationships that drive sales. ... read more
Aligning Your Team For Business Development Success
Business development (BD) is one of the most important aspects of any business. BD touches sales, marketing and customer success (CS). Team alignment creates a huge advantage for retainment and revenue generation.
At its core, business development involves developing and strengthening customer and partner relationships and extracting value from them. The most effective BD professionals recognize that relationship intelligence is a secret weapon when it comes fueling business development success.
Keeping Tabs on Relationships
Top-performing BD professionals are laser-focused on strengthening relationships with new and existing strategic customers and partners. They recognize that it’s much more cost effective to strengthen a relationship as compared to developing a relationship from the ground up. Acquiring a new customer is between five and 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one, according to HBR.
Unfortunately, far too many organizations fail to invest devote sufficient resources to maintaining and building relationships with existing customers. Effective business development professions work along side customer success to enact strategies that minimize the potential for churn.
According to customer experience researcher and thought leader Esteban Kolsky, 11% of customer churn can be prevented if a business simply reaches out to customers more often. It should not just be CS that is in charge in keeping customers engaged. Strategic partnerships with customers can touch all verticals and alignment on maintaining healthy relations is necessary to deliver the highest value.
With Affinity's relationship intelligence platform, it’s easy to keep tabs on existing relationships. Affinity automatically prompts you when it’s time to follow up with specific high-value relationships. According to Kolsky, only 1 out of 26 disgruntled customers complain; the rest simply churn without explanation or notice.
By leveraging Affinity to stay on top of your relationships, you can reduce the potential for churn and increase the potential for fortified long-term relationships with your existing customers and partners.
Understanding Relationship History
Effective business development necessarily entails developing long-term relationships. According to one survey, 61% of participants reported that more than half of their annual revenue was derived from repeat customers, and that repeat customers spent 67% more than new customers.
Strong relationships don't develop overnight. Bain and Company research has found that the average repeat customer spends 67% more in months 31-36 of its relationship with a business than in the first six months. The key to developing long-term relationships involves having a holistic understanding of your organization's history with customers and partners, starting from the first point of contact.
By automatically capturing all contact and interaction history, Affinity provides business development professionals with fingertip access to all past information about customers and partners. Business development professionals are spared the task of having to speculate about the context of any given relationship.
Accenture has found that 89% of customers become frustrated on account of having to repeat their issues to multiple company representatives.
Finger-tip access to relationship data not only improves customer interactions, it also shortens sales cycles. According to Nucleus Research, data accessibility shortens sales cycles by 8-14%. When you have a clear picture of your relationship with a customer or partner, you’re more equipped to determine how to improve and solidify the relationship.
If a customer has expressed a desire for a new product feature in the past, you can set alerts to follow up with them if the feature is released. If a customer has experienced an issue with a product offering, you can set follow-up reminders to ensure the issue has been resolved. The results of greater relationship intel are transformative.