Successful businesses are built on relationships. However, as with personal relationships, building strong customer relationships is not as easy as it may seem.
On Day 4 of Grow Camp — a six-day growth marketing series at MaRS — our amazing speakers shared insights on building business relationships. How do you adjust your relationship management skills to build the various types of relationships you need to scale your company — especially if you have no prior sales knowledge? Let’s break it down by the types of relationships you might encounter.
The monogamy might make it simpler, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Good relationships take time to grow and lots of effort to maintain. This is where your customer success people come in. In contrast to sales, customer success emphasizes creating the best possible relationship with the customer, rather than closing the best deal possible.
Ben Winn, customer success manager at SeamlessMD, emphasizes the interplay between sales and customer success. Best practices indicate that the two roles work most successfully in tandem — the customer success agent builds relationships with customers and identifies opportunities, while the sales agent takes care of subsequently negotiating and closing the sales.
In building strong relationships, there are four key pillars: proximity (physical distance), frequency (number of encounters), duration (amount of time), and intensity (connecting physically and psychologically). Here are a few ways to address the four pillars and build successful one-on-one customer relationships.
At the end of the day, customer success is about really taking the time to listen to your customers’ needs. How you interact with your customers builds your brand and reputation, which can make or break your company.
Building networks should be a top priority, especially if your company relies on a strong network to succeed. As Paul Chan, the chief operating officer of Bunz, explains: “The value of your network is proportional to the number of people in your network.”
While it may seem like Bunz, the popular trading community, blossomed out of nowhere, a few key elements ensured its success. Paul offers the following recommendations.
“People build community when they know that the more people they bring, the better the experience is for them.” — Paul Chan, Bunz
Account-based marketing (ABM), the new trend sweeping the enterprise sales world, is about targeting specific accounts. In contrast to traditional business-to-business sales and marketing, where the breadth and reach of widely cast campaigns are key, ABM is about depth and specificity.
Steve Watt, co-founder of the annual Toronto ABM Summit, brings up key trends in the ABM world. One of the big topics is demand generation. Long gone are the days when there was just one employee who handled all marketing, brand and demand generation. To be successful, especially when it comes to enterprise sales, you need to devote significant resources to building a sales pipeline — separate from brand, customer and product marketing work. This is where the position of chief revenue officer (CRO) was born.
Merging the departments of marketing and sales, the CRO understands how to attract and retain customers, and where the costs are. The CRO position eliminates the traditional tension between the two departments by marrying them through one goal: revenue optimization.
Key points about account-based marketing:
You can make it look like it’s magic.
Building relationships is at the heart of your success. Whether it’s connecting to one customer or one account, or bringing together a community, the relationships you build will drive your business forward and raise its bottom line. It’s not easy, but the keys are to understand your customer’s needs, to be there for them when trouble comes and, of course, to listen, listen, listen to what they are saying.
Thank you to our incredible speakers from Day 4 of Grow Camp 2018 for contributing to some of these key insights.