Relationship journey to increase sales

Why a relationship journey is a must to increase sales (you can’t just increase the number of outstanding quotations)

The relationship journey is a must when you aim to increase sales, in particular with enterprise customers. Here is why:

  1. Most customers are a hard sell, relationship journeys improve your closing ratio.
  2. Customers tend to be sceptic and you need to earn their trust, gradually.
  3. Most customers are pre-occupied, you need to make them aware.
  4. Delivering value throughout your relationship journey is important to gain attention, momentum and priority.
  5. With new customers you need to show credentials, relevance, authority and references to be trusted and relevant.
  6. Decision making processes are complicated. Stakeholders, priorities and internal politics needs to be understood and overcomed. That is what you do in a relationship journey.
  7. Timing is difficult also for the customer, being preoccupied in daily tasks. You need to be present ‘all time’ while not intruding. I.e. deliver value throughout your relationship journey.

Except for your early adopters and the odd occasional sales, busines is usually an extenstion of a relationship journey. Consistently execution relationship journeys with each of your prospect is the way to increase sales with a majority of customers.

Increasing your sales means you leave your quick sales, early adopters behind. Compelling, logical arguments with clear financial returns will not be enough to close a sale with a majority of customers.

Relationship journeys is the way to increase sales with a majority of customers. It’s used by all successful technology businesses, with different relationship journey models, milestones and techniques if your B2B or B2C.

Read more what makes a good sales strategy.

Most customers are a hard sell – relationship journeys improve your sales closing ratio

A customer relationship journey to increase sales

Unlike your early stage early adopter customers, most customers are sceptic and pre-occupied with their daily tasks. They might actually have other ideas and priorities than yours.

As an entrepreneur you most certainly recognize that most customers are sceptic, risk adverse and therefor a hard sell.

Increasing the number of sales pitches and outstanding offerings only will not help you increase sales. It will give you administrative sales challenges and nurse your frustration. Your sales strategy needs to be built on relationship journeys and a growth focused pricing strategy.

To increase sales, you need a relationship journey with each of your prospect. Over time you will overcome the scepticism that some prospects have, start build awareness, relevance and trust. That is why you need a relationship journey: To get attention, to build trust and interest and to be present when the timing is right for your sales pitch and closing.

Customers tend to be sceptic and preoccupied, you need to earn their trust

We all know the frustration with customers not embracing the potential we offer them.

To be relevant and prioritized, you first need to earn the trust of each of your prospects. That is core to a relationship journey and why relationship journeys are a necessity to increase sales.

The reality is that their business is as complicated as our own. They may recognize a potential saving, efficiency improvement or feature update but they too have other priorities as well.

Daily operations also occupy a huge amount of time with all customers, as it does in your own business. Your offering might be interesting, but there is simply not time of enough interest.

Trust will be another deficit if your prospect is not already a successful customer with yours. Like yourself, every business is constantly approach by salespeople in all forms and shapes. Mostly, you do business with those you trust and have a relationship with.

Delivering value through your relationship journey is the reason why relationship journeys work to increase sales

Why you need a relationship journey to increase sales

You cannot spend two years talking about your particular product with each of your prospects. No one likes that. Few if any will truly listen to you because you have not yet built that trust and relationship.

Gradually building attention, trust, relevance, priority, relationship and presence when your prospect is ready to make a purchase takes time. A lot of time. Easily 18 – 36 months in technology sales. You need to deliver value from the customers perspective to gain trust and relationship.

An extended 18 – 36 months relationship journey work when your prospects believe you give them value. Delivering insights on their particular industry is a start.

Finding your prospects true pain points takes a longer time and is usually dependent upon you building a relationship. A relationship that is deeper than yet another salesperson pitching for his products or services.

Relevance for your prospects is something you earn with references, credentials and size

Being new to your prospect you need to show that you’re a relevant supplier or partner. Too many early stage businesses target the big dragon, too early.

Read more about early stage sales here.

It’s time to address your relevance once you have got the attention of your prospects, delivering valuable insight on their industry and understanding their particular paint point.

Your early stage sales to, often smaller, early adopter customers are your references.  It’s very hard to address sceptic and risk advert prospects without prior reference sales.

Enterprise customers in particular tend to be risk advert. The harsh truth is that employees often makes carriers by not making mistakes. Entrepreneurs makes sales by being brave and take risks. That’s a key mentality difference to be aware about targeting enterprise customers.

Size matters. I once was a senior executive with a major European bank where the IT division had made a quotation for a new system application. A relatively small company came first with one of the major IT vendors as a runner up. Not surprisingly I had to overrun the management team decision to award the contract to the major IT vendor.

Fear for smaller firms not being up to the task is common and understandable. Size matters if you’re strive to be a relevant and credible supplier to enterprise companies.

Most customers decision making process is complicated and why you need a relationship journey to close sales

Early adopters are easy sell, relatively speaking. Most companies tend to have less transparent decision-making processes. You need to understand who the stakeholders are, what you compete against, timing issues and internal politics. That’s what you explore while you built trust and credibility during your relationship journey. That is how you increase your closing score and increase sales.

Asking CEO’s, business unit heads, product managers, engineers and purchasing teams often reveals that they themselves can’t say exactly how and when a decision is about to be made.

Decision making process uncertainties you shall try to understand while producing value for your prospect includes:

  1. What are the pain points with your prospects? Providing solutions for a prospects key pain point is often more valuable than shooting out of the box with a product.
  2. Who knows who is always important to know in more complexed sales situations.
  3. Which department talks to which department.
  4. Informal decision makers such as senior engineers, senior business controllers, the company auditor, external consultants, etc.
  5. Internal power competition between business units or executive may very well prevent rational business decisions to be made.
  6. Internal politics has almost always a role in most decision-making processes.

You need a well-designed relationship journey with every prospect to understand your prospects.

Timing is everything, in the end. As touched upon several time you probably compete with everything else happening within your prospects. To make no purchase decision at all is the most common decision, taken or non-taken.

Conclusion

To increase sales your sales strategy needs to include well-structured relationship journeys with each of your sales prospects.

The reason relationship journeys work is because you go through a number of relationship steps before you pitch your solution. You increase sales because your prospects have learnt to trust you and you have learnt to understand his pain point.

Relationship journeys – the difference selling to most customers as apposed to your early stage early adopter customers.

Read more about how to plan and execute relationship journey’s.

Read more about early stage early adopter sales.

Read more about how your grow tech companies beyond those early adopter customers.

Share this guide on social media, email or print:
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on email
Email
Share on print
Print
Jonas Florinus

Jonas Florinus

Jonas has 25 years operational experience growing businesses, 10 years with venture capital and private equity and more than $8 billion in personal transaction experience. For the last 5 years Jonas has been an entrepreneur himself.
Scroll to Top