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What Is Relationship Mapping and How Does It Work?

What is relationship mapping and how can you automate it?

In the business world, potential clients say “pass” all the time due to weak relationships and lack of understanding. So do existing clients. It’s a convenient way to move decisions forward. The more complicated the decision, the more at stake, the more important relationships become.

With CEB reporting that 5.4 people now participate in the average B2B purchase decision – a number that keeps increasing – companies can no longer rely on the strength of one relationship to ensure business decisions go in their favor. It doesn’t work like that anymore. Most executives just aren’t willing to put their name on the line to overrule a buying committee. It’s too risky.

To win in the decision-by-committee era, companies need to understand the current needs, motivations and inter-relational dynamics of all the key players. Enter relationship mapping.

What is relationship mapping?

Relationship intelligence is an outcome of deploying automated relationship mapping tools to help companies:

  • Win new clients
  • Protect existing accounts
  • Grow revenue among existing accounts

Traditionally, relationship mapping meant actually building out a visual chart of all the key stakeholders. You’d typically create a card for each stakeholder, including background notes, motivations, biases, etc. You’d then arrange the cards to show who reports to whom, using different symbols, color codes and line types (depending on your system and how complex you wanted to be) to indicate relationship type, relationship strength, internal alliances, influencers, conflicts, etc.

While this method of mapping relationship is a worthwhile tool and strategic exercise, the sheer complexity makes it difficult to execute, causing companies that could benefit from relationship maps to avoid them altogether. After the initial build, most visual relationship maps quickly become obsolete because updating them proves cumbersome and inefficient. Portability is also a challenge as the insights are typically housed in a centralized location.

Today, technology eliminates the need to create and manually update one-off visual maps. Instead, relationship mapping software tools create insights that are kept up-to-date automatically and delivered via email and mobile, the platforms sales and business development people use ubiquitously.

The table stakes for modern relationship mapping

Since modern relationship mapping is essentially automated relationship intelligence, there first needs to be actual intelligence to automate.

It’s not uncommon for companies in professional services, legal services, and financial services – the industries that benefit most from relationship mapping tools – to encounter issues with CRM adoption. This is a major roadblock because clean, timely data must go into the CRM if relationship intelligence is going to come out of it.

The solution is CRM automation, which all but eliminates an end user’s required CRM workload, ensuring clean, actionable data. With CRM automation in place, end-users finally realize the originally promised benefit of the CRM: usable relationship intelligence. Partners and executives are also thrilled because they can use the relationship intelligence to grow business, but the biggest relief is that they finally start seeing an ROI from their massive CRM investment.

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How modern relationship mapping works

Once CRM adoption is solved, relationship intelligence can become automated. What this means is that executives, sales and business development teams can access relationship intelligence on-demand or they can have it delivered.

Curious to see if Introhive can solve CRM adoption and automate relationship intelligence at your company? Just ask. We’re happy to show you around the software solution when you request a demo.


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