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How relationship growth translates to revenue

Shift your thinking from “closing a sale” to “building a valuable asset”

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Author photo: Dennis Fois

Dennis Fois


If you’ve followed along in this series so far (read the first and second posts here), you’ve likely figured out when and how to connect with your business contacts — and gotten your team involved in your relationship management efforts.

So your priorities are straight and everyone’s on the same page, but how’s your mindset? Because without the right thinking, your relationship growth efforts may get stalled. Throw out the transactional mentality and encourage your sales team — and entire organization — to start celebrating relationships.

Create lasting wins for your organization

Teams need to shift their thinking from closing a sale to building a valuable asset, aka a real relationship. A contact is not a relationship. A contact is the potential for a relationship. The point at which a contact turns into a real relationship is a win for the organization, and should be noted and celebrated, just as closed deals are celebrated.

Your definition for the point at which a contact becomes a relationship will be unique to your business, but it’s worth having the conversation internally and identifying one or two key goalposts that you want to track and recognize when they’re achieved with contacts.

But why put all this intention into building relationships (aside from the obvious, that life is better with real relationships)? Because relationships forge emotional connections. And emotional connections to a brand or company drive revenue, pure and simple.

Emotionally connected customers have a 306% higher lifetime value (LTV), stay with a brand for an average of 5.1 years vs. 3.4 years, and will recommend brands at a much higher rate (71% vs. 45%), found a retail study from Motista.

In Harvard Business Review’s analysis of “What makes great salespeople,” the publisher found that top-performing reps have three things in common:

  1. They spend more time with customers
  2. They have larger networks than their less-performant peers
  3. They spend more time with senior leadership — top reps actually spend 33% more time talking to prospects and clients and yet are focused on 40% fewer accounts.

What this means to me is that top reps put relationship building into practice instinctively. CRM can help to manage that process and also guide others, who may not have as natural an aptitude, to do the same.

This is just the beginning

I posit that the new aim of CRM is to demystify relationship building such that it can be made more intentional, better understood and more collaborative across an organization. We have some terrific prototypes under way at Copper and I cannot wait to share them with you.

A stronger focus on authentic relationship-building prioritizes the long-term success of leaders and the business. CRMs have gotten so unwieldy, with such large code bases, that most providers spend all their time fixing bugs, improving performance, or adding little tweaks to old features in an attempt to make up for a lack of needed functionality.

The CRM landscape, in general, needs to take a more innovative approach and modernize itself to meet the needs of today’s relationship-intensive businesses.

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