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What’s your digital age competitive advantage?

Casual business group using smart phone, tablet and laptop in modern office.My answer to that question is that it still lies in the human element, away from algorithms, code, dashboards and data.

Technology has come a long way in the last decade. Its exponential progression has made leaps and bounds in solving business problems across the globe. It’s made businesses leaner, more efficient and armed them with more data than ever before.

Still, every company has access to the same technology, talent, algorithms, media outlets, marketing platforms and prospect lists. So, how do you differentiate? And where can you gain a competitive advantage?

The fact is, people still buy from people, and relationships are still king. What are you doing to strengthen your focus on relationships?

Related Reading: 3 Reasons Relationships Still Matter in the Digital Age

Relationship capital requires dwindling resource: trust

Let me set the scene. In his 2018 book “The Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide with Work That Wows and Jobs That Last,” Thomas Peters argues that “trust and not technology is the issue of the decade.”

There has been a trust crash in business and institutions across the globe, one good example (and there are lots to choose from) would be the Cambridge Analytica scandal that marred Facebook, and the Trump administration.

In fact, Edelman’s trust barometer reveals only 37 percent of people consider a CEO to be a credible source of information, while a mere 29 percent consider government officials trustworthy.

Case Study: Osler, Hoskin & HarcourtBuyers relying more on networked communities, referrals

In the last decade, we’ve also seen a real shift in the way buyers act. As the access to more and more information online has made them skeptical and wary, they’re entering the funnel at a much later stage, armed with an ever-increasing knowledge base.

And they’re no longer turning to marketing for that information, but to their own networked communities.

When was the last time you booked a hotel without looking at TripAdvisor, or a restaurant without checking reviews on OpenTable? The same can also be said for buyers in the B2B space.

Review sites such as G2 Crowd and Gartner are providing millions of buyers with insight and recommendations from colleagues and peers around the globe every month.

To add to this, we live in an era of marketing clutter, coming at us from social media, email, broadcast, outdoor, advertising, etc. etc., 24/7.

Traditional forms of growth marketing are just not working, email list leads are closing at 0.02 percent (the ones that haven’t been killed by GDPR anyway), event leads at 0.04 percent, advertising leads at less than 1 percent and website leads at around 1.5 percent.

But amidst all this noise, relationship capital stands out—and the numbers prove it. Referral-based sales tend to close at between 50 to 70 percent.

Relationship capital strategy requires insight

So, to answer my initial question, companies can—and should—differentiate by investing in their relationship capital. But that first requires understanding, at the highest level, where and with whom their client relationships exist.

Companies who know where their relationships are strongest are in the best place to drive growth. Indeed, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent, versus only 5 to 20 percent with a new customer.

On the flip side, companies with visibility into where relationships aren’t so strong can also benefit from these insights, investing in nurturing accounts and leads. A wise move, as it costs five times as much to win a new customer than to keep an existing one. And while 29 percent of B2B customers feel actively engaged by their product or service provider, 71 percent feel indifferent or actively disengaged.

Additionally, 64 percent of customers who switched provider last year cited poor customer service as the reason, and 84 percent of those believed that something could have been done to prevent the switch.

When they have a good idea of who knows who across their network, and how well, companies become the owners of their relationships, instead of relying on a few key individuals. They’re enabled to break down organizational silos, and appear in touch and up-to-speed when dealing with clients across departmental and geographical barriers.

But how do you quickly and easily get this bird’s eye view of your organisation’s network? Enter relationship intelligence automation. This new wave of technology, including comprehensive platforms like Introhive, is helping organisations of all sizes and types to gain referrals and introductions, open doors, cross-sell, upsell and defend, as well as attack.

Armed with a relationship intelligence and data automation tool like Introhive, organisations like PwC, Colliers and Rogers Communications have already uncovered hundreds of thousands of undocumented relationships, added thousands of contact records to their CRMs, and saved hundreds of data-entry man hours. (Request a demo to see it in action).  

Relationship Trend Graph
With visual relationship intelligence and insights, you can identify who knows who, keep tabs on customer retention and traction, and spot more cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

Related Reading: Helping Businesses Understand Their Relationship Capital

Turn to new tech for a clear picture of your relationship capital

At a time when buyers no longer trust what business has to say, and are instead turning to the internet and peers for recommendations, it’s more important than ever for organisations to have a solid understanding of their biggest asset—their relationship capital.

Request a demo or contact me to learn how Introhive’s 360-degree view into your full network, so you can leverage and invest in this key asset to differentiate and gain a competitive advantage in a shifting marketplace.

How Introhive Accelerates Business Development

See for yourself how Introhive automates mundane tasks and manual CRM data entry, while also serving up key client insights—exactly when and where busy professionals need them most.

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