A deep dive into relationship intelligence

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Relationships can make all the difference in finding and closing high-quality deals. This is especially true in relationship-driven industries like private capital, investment banking, and professional services. And while the size of your network is important, how well you understand it is even more critical to your success.

So how can you get the most value from your network to drive deal flow? The answer lies in relationship intelligence.

What is relationship intelligence?

Dealmakers receive countless emails, messages, and meeting invites each day, many of which are readily discarded. Yet, each notification can contain valuable insights about an organization’s professional network. You can learn who knows whom and the strength and history of each relationship. 

Relationship intelligence is a category of insights about an organization’s professional network. It involves translating vast amounts of data into actionable insights that enable you to make informed decisions and nurture your network more effectively.

For instance, relationship intelligence can reveal which of your colleagues knows the founder of a startup or the CFO of a target company. It can also show when they last spoke, what they talked about, and how strong their relationship is. All of this is information you can deploy to close the deal.

How does relationship intelligence work? 

Relationship intelligence involves capturing and analyzing data to reveal overlooked connections and opportunities within an organization’s ecosystem. There are three components of relationship intelligence:

Data collection

Relationship intelligence functions by collecting communication-related data. This includes information stored in emails, messages, meeting notes, and calendar invites. The idea is to collect every interaction between an organization and its business contacts. In aggregate, this data can provide a holistic picture of an organization’s network and all the relationships within it.

Customer relationship management systems (CRMs) or CRM augmentations, like Affinity and Affinity for Salesforce, have AI-driven algorithms that automatically capture this communication-related data.

The information is further enriched with Affinity’s proprietary data and data from leading data providers. This provides additional context, like a company’s performance and number of employees, or a startup’s investment stage and last funding amount.

Data analysis

With all of this data compiled in one place, relationship intelligence processes and analyzes it to derive real-time inferences. The result is a comprehensive directory and log of contacts, engagements, shared connections, and more.

Actionable insights

The power of relationship intelligence is that it ultimately turns data into useful insights about an organization’s network. These insights include overlooked connections and potential opportunities. For instance, Affinity CRM and Affinity for Salesforce calculate relationship strength scores. These scores identify who in your organization has the strongest relationship with the prospects you want to engage with.

How can relationship intelligence give your team a competitive advantage?

Relationship intelligence can transform how you work. It can help you nurture your most important relationships and identify new opportunities, giving you the competitive edge you want.

Boost client experience

Overlooking previous interactions with a client or missing important details from a meeting with a key decision-maker can jeopardize their trust in you. Relationship intelligence helps you:

  • Avoid missed information by capturing and displaying the entire history of a relationship
  • Keep your most important connections active by showing when your relationship with a client is lagging and it’s time to reach out

To further enhance the client experience, Affinity allows you to set up trigger functions that alert you or a team member when relationship strength scores for key contacts fall below certain thresholds.

Generate more warm introductions

Warm introductions are crucial to establishing initial rapport with prospects you want to engage with. Affinity data shows that warm introductions can help you close deals 25% faster.

If you don’t want to spend hours manually sifting through your network, you can use relationship intelligence tools to generate more warm introductions. 

Relationship intelligence looks across your organization’s shared network and identifies which person is best suited to make an introduction. This eliminates the need to ask, “Do we know someone at that company?” or “Who knows the CEO best?”

Personalize your messaging

Customizing your outreach approach shows you have a genuine interest in the opportunity at hand and can give you a competitive edge. Relationship intelligence helps you craft personalized messages by providing relationship history and context. This enables you to reference specific details and highlight shared interests or connections in your conversations.

For example, you can adjust the content and frequency of your outreach based on a prospect’s previously indicated preferences. You can consider the last date you spoke and what they were most interested in during your conversations.

You can also increase the effectiveness of your efforts and build trust by tailoring how you communicate with a prospect or client. You can do this in the following ways:

  • Share relevant industry insights or trends that show your company’s knowledge and expertise
  • Send reports, articles, or market analyses that align with the prospect’s sector
  • Reference specific details about the prospect’s company, achievements, or challenges to show that you've done your research
  • If your company has specific values, emphasize how those align with the opportunity’s vision and mission

Find new opportunities before your competitors

Through mapping your company’s shared network, relationship intelligence helps you identify key contacts and opportunities that you would otherwise be unaware of. It also helps you expand your network and opportunity set by facilitating warm introductions from your extended contacts.

In addition, with Affinity CRM and Affinity for Salesforce, dealmakers can monitor changes in hiring trends and employee growth. These are common signals of a company’s traction and can help you identify promising deals before your competitors.

How relationship intelligence is impacting the way private capital firms operate

Private capital dealmakers spend countless hours sending emails, taking meetings, and maintaining their business networks. Relationship intelligence platforms can automate monotonous tasks and provide actionable insights that allow you to focus on higher-impact activities, like finding and closing the best deals.

Automating repetitive tasks to improve productivity

Manual data entry is time-consuming and inefficient for dealmakers—and it can also lead to incomplete and inaccurate CRM data. Relationship intelligence tools automatically capture and analyze data to:

  • Create and update client profiles
  • Deliver accurate, real-time, and centralized records
  • Enrich your records with key industry insights (like deal size and deal stage) 
  • Provide real-time access to insights about your organization’s shared business network

This frees up your team to focus on more pressing deal-related work.

Using relationship insights to close deals

Affinity research shows that a CRM that provides relationship intelligence increases deal flow and pipeline by 25%, and supports closing those deals 25% faster.

Relationship insights also make your network a valuable asset for portfolio companies. By demonstrating the tangible benefits of having access to your network, you increase the likelihood of startups choosing to close deals with you. You can use relationship insights to:

  • Provide portfolio companies with access to your firm’s network of industry experts, advisors, and mentors
  • Actively identify potential business development opportunities for portfolio companies by connecting them with potential customers, vendors, and partners
  • Effectively connect portfolio companies to the best talent

With relationship intelligence, you can position your network as a valuable resource that significantly contributes to a startup’s success, increasing the chance you close a deal with them. 

Create and manage your network without the endless data entry

CRM tools with relationship intelligence help manage and organize your network without manual data entry. They can help you track interactions, log meetings, document conversations, and set follow-up reminders to ensure that you nurture relationships effectively. This makes it easier to facilitate regular communication and personalized interactions, and gives you more time to focus on higher-impact activities. 

Close more deals with the Affinity CRM

Through automating people and company records, Affinity makes dealmakers more productive by saving over 200 hours of data drudgery per employee each year. It also delivers deal and relationship insights directly into the tools you use every day (like Outlook, Chrome, and LinkedIn). This drives productivity and gives you more time to prioritize finding and closing deals.

How relationship intelligence is changing the B2B sales landscape

There are a few key ways relationship intelligence is reshaping B2B sales strategies.  

Shorten the sales cycle

Relationship intelligence helps sellers close deals faster by identifying warm introductions. It also provides detailed activity history that sellers can use to inform their outreach strategies. This makes it easier to streamline communication and personalize outreach. 

Automating contact creation with CRM tools also boosts seller productivity by giving them more time to focus on building and nurturing relationships. 

Improve customer relationships

Integrating relationship intelligence data into CRM systems ensures insights are centralized and accessible to all sales team members. This transparency helps prevent work duplication when information is spread across different tools or isn’t recorded. It also prevents crossed wires.

For accounts that show interest but the timing isn’t right, relationship intelligence can prevent opportunities from going cold. It provides relationship strength scores and trigger functionality to ensure regular communication with prospects.

Automate your CRM data to improve efficiency and gain visibility into relationships

Relationship intelligence automates CRM data to identify prospective accounts, and is ideal for those who want to expand their account maps. It reveals the best ways to start productive conversations, enhancing efficiency and visibility. 

Get the most out of your CRM data with Affinity for Salesforce

The selling workflow typically takes place in email, web browsers, and meetings. Affinity for Salesforce automatically syncs with your team’s email, calendar, and Salesforce activity data. It seamlessly delivers relationship intelligence and contact and company record information while alleviating the burden of manual record-keeping. 

Affinity for Salesforce also lets you create and update real-time opportunities directly from your email and browser. This means that you don’t need to open up Salesforce to update deal data in your CRM. 

By reducing the time it takes to manually update records in Salesforce, sellers can focus more on closing deals.

Build better relationship intelligence with Affinity

Elevate your relationship intelligence with Affinity CRM and Affinity for Salesforce. Affinity helps you with:

  • Automated efficiency: Data captured automatically from your email, calendar, and browser frees you from the drudgery of manual data entry. This gives you more time to focus on driving opportunities
  • AI-driven relationship insights: AI-driven relationship scoring leads to warmer introductions, and automated reminders help you keep network connections top-of-mind 
  • Deal flow optimization: Track your deals and opportunities where you work with seamless pipeline management tools. This enables you to find, manage, and close more high-quality deals

Want a smarter, more efficient approach to relationship intelligence? Explore Affinity today. 


Relationship intelligence FAQs 

Why is relational intelligence important?

An automated relationship intelligence platform provides real-time insights into your organization’s network, your firm’s history of engagement with each person, and more. It can help you find the right relationships, make warm introductions, and keep your most important relationships active. Relational intelligence ensures dealmakers don’t miss valuable opportunities.

How does relationship intelligence help build stronger relationships in business?

Relationship intelligence helps build strong relationships by capturing and analyzing every interaction, from emails to meetings, to draw key insights. This allows for personalized communication, which fosters trust and long-term connections. 

Using relationship intelligence, sellers can tailor their outreach approach, anticipate needs, and demonstrate genuine interest, ultimately enhancing the overall relationship and giving clients an elevated level of service.

What is a relationship intelligence platform?

A relationship intelligence platform is a tool that captures, processes, and analyzes relationship data. Platforms like Affinity CRM and Affinity for Salesforce automate the collection of communication-related data and enrich it with additional information. This provides actionable insights, such as shared connections and relationship strength scores.


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