Amp Up Your Sales Career with Terrific Relationship Management

BY Tim Londergan
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Are you one of the lucky B2B sellers who has a Customer Success Manager (CSM) on staff? Interestingly, this trend has been growing as companies recognize the value of nurturing long-​term relationships with customers. Dedicated CSMs focus on ensuring that customers achieve their desired outcomes which drives retention and supports your sales career.

Depending on the industry, the customer success team is responsible for everything from onboarding to resolving conflicts. Imagine having a team, or single person, who can assure that you’ll have repeat business, larger tickets and valuable referrals. Well, if you’re like many of us, the team is you, and the task is daunting.

Smart and Agile Account Management Will Boost Your Sales Career

As the primary point of contact, you know your accounts better than anyone in your organization. Therefore, it’s only fitting that your concerns are aimed at driving growth, customer satisfaction and long-​term relationships. This is in addition to your core responsibilities of prospecting, upselling, data management, and continuous improvement of your selling skills.

Strategically identifying accounts that contribute the bulk of your quota is key to account management. Strengthening and expanding these relationships to increase revenue for both parties will sustain your sales career. Yet, a recent survey found that half (52%) of sales organizations do not currently measure the strength of customer relationships.

To get a leg up on account management, review your account list from last year:

  • How much of your business came from renewing customers?
  • How much came from referrals?
  • How much from cold calling?

The industry survey shows that nearly half (46%) of companies reported 76% to 100% of sales came from repeat business. And 70% of companies say that between 0% and 25% came from referrals. This example dramatically demonstrates the “80/​20 rule” (Pareto Principle).

It makes sense that key accounts are where you should spend your energy in account management. This is not to say that referrals are to be ignored. They likely have been generated from your most enthusiastic customers.

Therefore, you need to acknowledge referrals as the next generation of key clients and treat them with utmost respect. But how do you know your customers’ perception of your relationship? You must ask.

Measure Customer Loyalty by Asking

There are several well-​respected tools to measure customer experience (CX). Likely you’ve been asked to rate your experience from companies you’ve been in contact with. It may seem trivial or annoying but it’s a way for marketers to improve their offering.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) – “How likely would you be to recommend (organization) to a friend?” 

This question is accompanied by a zero-​to-​ten rating scale to determine one of three categories:

  • Promoters respond with a score of 9 or 10 and are typically loyal and enthusiastic customers.
  • Passives respond with a score of 7 or 8. They are satisfied with your service but not happy enough to be considered promoters.
  • Detractors respond with a score of 0 to 6. These are unhappy customers who are unlikely to buy from you again. They may even discourage others from buying from you.

It’s simple to calculate your final NPS score – just subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. If 10% of respondents are detractors, 20% are passives and 70% are promoters, your NPS score would be 70–10 = 60.

According to Qualtrics, other tools include:

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) which rates overall satisfaction on a one-​to-​five scale.

Customer Effort Score (CES) rates how easy it was for the customer to deal with your company.

Feedback from your customers gives credence to what works and what doesn’t. Certainly, you will not succeed or fail based on metrics. But constant improvement can build relationships and enhance your sales career.

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash