• November 22, 2021
  • By Jody Glidden , cofounder and CEO, Introhive

It’s Time to Make Relationships the Center of CRM

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People love to admire a healthy, romantic relationship. When a couple displays ideal love toward one another, we shout “relationship goals!” The outward expression of two people’s strong feelings for each other encourages the people around them, but what if we took that lens beyond our romantic relationship and more specifically, focused on our professional relationships this way? All relationships should include a healthy level of communication, trust, and reliability. In the business world, we know this is needed to get things done and we see it play out successfully in sales, customer support, and when building business partnerships at all levels.

But what if we began to pay closer attention to and scored your professional relationships? By doing so, you would get much stronger signals for when to engage with people in your network, your relationships would be longer lasting, and ultimately you’d retain more customers and drive more revenue for your organization. Let’s discuss how relationships and retention are key foundations that every business needs to build on to drive revenue.

The Evolution of Intelligence: IQ-EQ-RQ

Society is transitioning from archaic processes into digital solutions and it is improving the way we do business, providing more value to customers. Adopting technology to solve old problems is making room for rapid innovation, and it is changing the way we think about intelligence. The intelligence quotient (IQ), for example, has been used as a total score derived from a set of standardized tests or subtests designed to assess human intelligence. More recently we’ve come to understand that a person can have a high IQ, but without a solid emotional quotient (EQ), it may do more harm than good. Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions. As society has evolved, both IQ and EQ have become necessary types of intelligence to compete and participate in today’s work.

Let me introduce you to relationship intelligence. This third wave of intelligence focuses on how an organization/company can be emotionally intelligent with the outside world. Relationship intelligence is about having a pulse on your entire network, not letting those relationships lapse, and building long-lasting strong relationships that can end up being an accelerator in your career and life. When it comes to engaging customers and prospects, having a detailed understanding of the interaction web is an incredibly valuable resource. It helps with revenue acceleration unlike any other bells or whistles that a CRM has to offer.

In relation to customer relationship management (CRM), relationship intelligence is a type of data that's stored in CRM databases, and it's used to gain new insights on current and potential customers. Data points in relationship intelligence come from company interactions, or in other words, customer-facing communications. Relationship intelligence creates family-tree-like branches between professionals, and at each end are bits of customer intelligence. Customer intelligence is customer-centric; relationship intelligence is connection-centric. CRM solutions now offer ways to expedite this using artificial intelligence. 

Relationship Mapping and Scoring—It’s All About Who You Know

You shouldn’t have to send a company-wide email to find out if a customer or prospect has a relationship with your company or team member. Relationship maps help you determine objectively who knows who in an organization and how well they know them. According to Forrester Research, 60 percent of companies have “unreliable” data health due to data decay, so relationship mapping is easier said than done. Dirty data is a real problem for companies; it can prevent you from fully leveraging your CRM. AI can help make this faster and more efficient.

Relationship intelligence is an outcome of deploying automated relationship mapping tools. This helps companies win new clients, protect existing accounts, and grow revenue among existing accounts. It also saves company’s time, resources, and, ultimately, money. Relationship mapping is the technology solution to determining who knows who (and how well) within your business. Mapping relationships has never been easier or simpler.

Retention—i.e., the Revenue You Keep

Retention is the outcome of your relationship strength—it’s the revenue you keep. It’s important because it not only represents the quality of your product, but also the value your customers place on it. Retention is important because it means you’ve built a product people want to use.

While revenue and growth rate are important metrics to track, dialing in retention should be a top priority. Make sure people love your product. Once you can retain customers, focus on growing as fast as you can.

Increasing your customer retention rates by just 5 percent has the potential to increase your profit margin by 25 percent or more. Having access to timely and quality relationship analytics improves decision making that can result in organic growth at a lower cost, driving business effectiveness, efficiencies, and revenue. Retaining happy clients has an impact on prospective business development as well. Eighty-four percent of B2B decision makers use referrals when kicking off their buying processes, so having a clear understanding of your client networks also results in developing a broader pipeline for future business.

Customer retention is an often underestimated but highly important aspect of growing a successful SaaS company.

By focusing on the three Rs—revenue, retention, and relationships—you’ll drive business growth. But overall relationship intelligence feeds directly into your revenue and retention, and relationship mapping plays a pivotal role in managing relationships, helping to increase overall revenue. This is #relationshipgoals in the business world. Retention is what keeps business moving and is the revenue you keep. When it comes to the competition and remaining relevant, the companies with the strongest customer relationships will win.

Jody Glidden is cofounder and CEO of Introhive. Founded in 2012, Introhive is the fastest-growing B2B relationship intelligence and revenue acceleration platform. Glidden is an experienced business leader with start-up tenacity, public company rigor, and an innovative passion for technology. Introhive is the fifth company he’s been involved in founding and building, with three successful exits including Chalk Media, icGlobal, and Scholars.com.

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