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What is relationship mapping and how does it work?

You’ve heard about relationship mapping, you’ve been told you need it, but so far nobody’s ever really explained that well what it is. Until now. Look no further for a crash course on relationship mapping covering the most important things you need to know:

What is relationship mapping?

Introhive | Featured images Photos 5 | What is relationship mapping and how does it work?

Relationship mapping is creating a visualization of your interconnected contacts. It shows who knows who and how well they know them.

Think of it as that tool on LinkedIn that shows you 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree connections…dialed up to 11.

It shows who you know, and who they know, and who else knows them, and how well. It shows when they were last contacted by your organization, and by whom, and about what. It shows whether the relationship is improving or weakening, and where there may be opportunities because of various influences such as job changes, company growth, historical successes, or other needs and desires.

An accurate database of customer information is able to reveal all of this intelligence through relationship mapping.

In short, a relationship map shows you what you need to know to make informed decisions about your business activities.

Why do you need relationship mapping?

When someone passes on your sale, there’s a good chance you might be to blame.

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 with all stakeholders become.

If you’re not nurturing these relationships, you can expect that people might start passing on you. If only you’d nurtured those relationships properly things might have gone differently. The key here is relationships, plural, with the s. Because it’s never up to just one person to make the decision.

With Gartner reporting that between 6 and 10 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 favour. 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.

Relationship mapping vs. relationship intelligence

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 foundation for relationship mapping is automation

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.

What are the benefits of relationship mapping?

Once data management automation has been implemented, relationship mapping can become automated too. What this means is that the AI can analyze the trustworthy data and reveal insights that can help guide best actions, such as:

  • Who in your organization has the strongest relationships into the company you’re targeting?
  • Who’s in the best position to provide referrals?
  • Where are there opportunities to up-sell or cross-sell?
  • When do your champion buyers move positions opening new opportunities?
  • Where can retention be improved by improving relationships with customers at risk of churn.

This relationship intelligence typically provides an ROI on your CRM that far exceeds expectations. The productivity and performance of your revenue team will be boosted by not only freeing them from the burden of mundane data entry, but also guiding them to greater efficiency and effectiveness.

By revealing these insights, your CRM will finally live up to its promise to help you grow revenue, relationships, and retention.

The Digital Transformation Journey

How modern relationship mapping works

Gone are the days when relationship mapping meant sitting down with pencil and paper and brainstorming. With automation giving it a clear picture of all contacts, artificial intelligence can instantly a create a more accurate and thorough picture of your interconnected relationships, and even provide a roadmap for how to take advantage of this information.

Of course, none of this works unless people are actually using their CRM. There are a number of reasons why CRM adoption may be disappointing, and automation resolves them all. For example:

  • It takes too much time to input data—with automation it takes no time at all, because the AI does it for you
  • There are too many errors or missing elements in the data—when human data entry is taken out of the equation, so is human error; the AI flawlessly inputs every field, every time
  • Information is siloed—when data management across the organization is handled by automation tools, everybody gets a 360 degree view of all relationships

With automated data entry, cleansing, and relationship mapping, executives, sales, marketing, and business development teams can all access the resulting relationship intelligence on-demand or they can have it delivered.

Want to know more?

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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