3 Best Practices for Building Business Relationships in Turbulent Times
I presume you feel the slowdown in sales despite the market or industry you work in. After giving myself 15 min to complain and vent about how challenging things are, I've decided to follow Churchill’s famous quote: “Never waste a good crisis”. I found 3 best practices to leverage the current slowdown and build stronger relationships that will set the foundations for growth later.
Catch-up calls – We usually have a tendency to step away from customers who are slowing their scaling and focus on prospecting and multithreading into those who still show a trend of growth. In general, prioritization is extremely important. To be more specific, we must focus on the actions that will get us to our quota. However, I’ve found that having a 15-20 minute catch up call with my customers keeps the relationship close and provides me with data that can help me significantly. For example: Being notified by the customer about upcoming cut downs, layoffs, or budget changes that could lead to churn in licenses. The early updates can help me plan my forecast better and build a mitigation plan in advance. Also, if they are being promoted or leaving the company, and in general if there are any updates I should be aware of. The catch-up call keeps the space less formal and by keeping it on-the-go, you don’t lose contact.
Leveraging compelling events for growth – Each company has its own compelling events one can leverage for their catch-up conversation / QBRs / intro calls. An expected price increase, for example, can be a great opportunity to secure revenue in advance (by signing an early renewal of an annual contract) or upscaling by leading the customer to understand that if they buy before the price increase, they can save X dollars. Leading with value is the golden path and when proactively you contact the customer and help them save money, you build trust and might lead to upsell in the future.
Enablement and no sales initiatives – When it’s hard to find opportunities to grow, there is a great opportunity to invest in the infrastructure. The more usage a customer will have in your product, the harder it will be for them to cancel the subscription later. By initiating extra activities of enablement, increasing the engagement among the organization, and providing value that is not focusing on immediate sales, you will build trust that will increase your sales in the long run. Moreover, if you can run events that bring decision makers from different organizations together and facilitate those meetings, you will be perceived by your customers as an advisor that is focusing on the bigger picture and not just on closing deals here and now. I will elaborate on those activities in the next blog.
My 2 cents looking forward
I know it’s really difficult and frustrating that things slow down and there is nothing we can do to change the macroeconomic times. But it's important to remember that building business relationships not a sprint, but a marathon. And just like ultra marathon training, I found that when I focus on the long run, building infrastructure, controlling the controllables and monitoring my actions, it all pays off eventually.