Your sales team’s long-term success is directly tied to their ability to form strong customer relationships, especially with their most profitable accounts.
Existing customer relationships are a valuable source of revenue—not only through the initial relationship, but through the referrals it can provide as well.
Keep in mind that if your sales team isn’t making it a priority to build and maintain strong connections with their most valuable clients, they’re risking encroachment from the competition.
Here are 5 tips to help your salespeople build stronger customer relationships and maximize the revenue potential from the accounts they already have.
One: Maintain Trust and Rapport
Customer rapport should begin before your salesperson picks up the phone for the first time. It starts with research—including both professional and personal—and continues throughout the life of the client-seller relationship
Coach your salespeople to take the time to establish and cultivate common interests with their customers. Social media can be a great place to identify these interests.
In addition, encourage your sellers to research and understand the company’s needs and the individual’s professional pain points. Salespeople should practice actively listening, with the intent to understand, as well as asking intelligent questions and responding empathetically.
Your team should be as transparent as possible with clients and follow through on commitments in order to build customer loyalty and trust.
BONUS: If your reps are skilled at identifying a buyer’s behavior style and adjusting their approach to match, they’ll immediately gain trust and establish an open relationship.
Two: Engage in a Structured and Responsive Way
Customer relationships that are nurtured in a structured and responsive manner grow in strength and value over time.
Coach your salespeople to establish a consistent communication cadence so that clients feel supported and know what to expect from your brand and the rep they’re working with.
An effective communication process should include scheduled touchpoints, as well as responsive communications triggered by events such as customer complaints, engagement with content, customer questions, and customer celebrations such as company awards and milestones.
Three: Provide Value Frequently and Consistently
Strong, long-term relationships grow stronger when they are rooted in mutual value. As a rule of thumb, your salespeople should strive to provide value to the customer during every interaction they have with them.
Be sure that your team understands what their genuine value is to the customer, as differentiated from your competitors in the customer’s mind.
With the right skills and tools to communicate value, your salespeople will be able to continue providing that value throughout the customer lifecycle.
Four: Prioritize Relationships
Building customer relationships and putting in the effort to maintain them requires time and energy. It’s not possible to effectively maintain all customer relationships at the same level.
Help your salespeople understand which customer relationships are most valuable to them—as well as which customers they can provide the most value to—and prioritize those relationships.
Your salespeople should spend time reviewing their accounts and organizing them into segments that they can then prioritize. This type of exercise will help your reps understand where they’re currently spending their time, and what shifts they should make in order to be as efficient and effective as possible.
Five: Establish Relationships with Multiple Stakeholders
One-on-one customer relationships are critical to maintaining large accounts, but relationships based on a single individual are weaker than those based on multiple relationships within the organization.
Teach your salespeople to identify all of the key stakeholders, influencers, champions, and decision makers by mapping out the decision-making unit. Doing so will allow your reps to establish and maintain relationships across the organization.
When salespeople strengthen multiple relationships, they insulate the account against the risk of one person leaving the company or changing positions, while strengthening their own standing within the organization.
Multiple relationships also help the salesperson identify when there are new opportunities within the organization, and gain access to stakeholders for those opportunities.
In today’s selling environment, your team must focus on customer service and strategic account management in order to succeed.
Help your salespeople build strong customer relationships and maximize the revenue potential of their most profitable accounts with the Strategic Account Management Training program from The Brooks Group.
The program teaches participants a highly-practical system for developing each of their key accounts in ways that will strengthen the client relationship—and drive additional sales revenue for your company. Learn More.