Relationships are at the heart of every closed deal, but finding a pulse on the nuances and connectedness between everyone involved in the deal is difficult. That’s where the aptly named strategy of relationship mapping comes into play.
Within the context of sales, a relationship map is a visual representation of key players within an organization and their connection to one another. Traditionally, a relationship map goes far beyond an org chart. It is a strategic exercise that requires manually drawing a chart with information about your sales team’s target accounts, such as influence, hierarchy, conflict, and more.
If your sales team is looking to avoid losing new deals, grow revenue among existing accounts, and generate new leads, then a relationship map for key accounts is a worthwhile time investment.
Relationship maps feature cards for each of the key decision makers in a buyer group that includes details on their role, motivations, challenges, and even biases. These cards are then mapped out to show how each of the stakeholders interact with each other.
Common roles may include influencers, users, leaders, decision makers, and budget owners, and each come with their own set of unique motivations and challenges. It is also helpful to highlight who is a supporter, destractor, and champion for your sales team within the account’s organization, as well as the strength of the relationship between your team and the individual.
A traditional org chart, on the other hand, helps visualize the hierarchy and size of the company. The org chart can help identify how decisions are made (centralized vs decentralized) but it doesn’t truly map out the decision-making factors that are influenced by the relationships up and down the chain of command.
While the result can significantly improve close rates and overall relationships with your accounts’ key stakeholders, traditional methods for building relationship maps are time consuming. Beyond just the complexities of gathering data to create the relationship map, the challenge of keeping it up to date also makes them difficult to adopt among sales teams.
Fortunately, AI-powered technology has eliminated the need to manually create and update relationship maps. Let’s discuss the key benefits of relationship mapping powered by AI to motivate your organization to adopt this strategic exercise.
According to research from Gartner, the typical buyer group for complex B2B sales can range from six to 10 decision makers. Relationship maps help your sales reps keep track of the deal champions (and detractors) within the organization’s buyer group.
Along with managers, reps can now strategize accordingly based on each stakeholder’s motivations and barriers. For large or complex buyer groups, these maps are especially useful.
There are a few common scenarios where a relationship map will benefit your sales team– closing new deals, upselling or renewing existing accounts, and generating new leads.
With buyer groups being composed of so many decision makers, it’s important to avoid single-threaded relationships and instead implement multi-threaded relationships within your sales cycle.
In fact, each additional stakeholder brought into a deal was discovered to linearly increase that deal’s win rate by 4.5%.
As you know, a single-threaded relationship can be detrimental to closing deals for a variety of reasons – the contact leaves their company, moves into a different role, or simply goes cold on you.
Often, these single-threaded relationships happen because your reps do not have the time or resources to map out other stakeholders and nurture multi-threaded relationships. This is where automated relationship mapping with platforms like People.ai is a huge benefit.
Promoting multi-threaded relationships in your sales process does not end once the deal is closed – it should continue as you nurture existing accounts to grow. When your sales reps understand the organization dynamics, motivations, and challenges of each stakeholder for a single account, they better understand how to cross-sell or upsell additional solutions to that organization.
Using AI-powered relationship maps, companies now have an up to date record of all the roles, relationships and restructuring of the stakeholder’s team. This gives reps the insights to strategize for expansion or cross-sell opportunities because you already are coming into the deal knowing specifically which buyers are already aligned to you vs ones you may need to win over and/or avoid.
From a sales manager’s perspective, a relationship map is essential for guiding the deal review process as well as account planning. Understanding who on the buyer side is compromising a deal early on in the sales cycle can help you coach your reps to build trust with and convince detractors.
The relationship map also helps you plot a course of action to nurture the relationships in a closed-won deal to improve retention and expand accounts.
Traditionally, it’s been a catch-22 – many sales teams do not create relationship maps because they can be increasingly complex as the number of decision makers increases, however, they become exponentially more valuable when there are more complex buyer groups.
To further compound the challenges of traditional methods for creating relationship maps, the data becomes dated quickly and therefore obsolete unless it can be updated in real time.
But with AI, relationship mapping becomes an automated process. SmartContacts aggregates the otherwise useless information stored within your team’s inbox to generate CRM contacts and applies a taxonomy for titles, contact information, and other metadata. What’s more, the data is constantly updated when new information is available, meaning your contacts will never go stale.
SmartMaps is the industry’s first automated relationship mapping solution that auto-populates every engaged context, including newly threaded relationships.
For sales reps, SmartMaps reduces the burden of manual data entry, provides insights into the buyer group, and increases overall productivity. For sales leaders, it increases transparency and visibility into each rep’s opportunities to help inform and guide deal reviews and coaching sessions. It’s a win-win across your sales team that will help increase win rates.