Lost Contacts, New Sales Opportunities Amid "Great Reshuffle"

BY Jessica Helinski
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Mass job transitions, also known as the “Great Reshuffle,” are having a major impact on sales. Lost contacts due to shifting employment are leaving many sales reps unsure of how to maintain accounts effectively following these big changes.

LinkedIn reports that “80% of salespeople have delayed or lost a deal because of a job change within an account.” And as James Burnette, senior director global sales at LinkedIn, adds, “Globally, job transitions among sales professionals are up an astonishing 39% over the last three months…”

Lost contacts: What can you do?

Likely, these job shifts will continue, so it’s up to you to be proactive and develop a strategy. Burnette has thoughtful advice for how to navigate this issue so that you maintain healthy accounts even when your primary contact leaves.

Multi-​threading is a must

As we’ve mentioned before here at SalesFuel, multi-​threading is a skill that savvy reps should adopt now. Multi-​threading is the practice of forming good relationships with more than one person on a buying account. Rather than focus on just one contact, multi-​threading involves reaching out to more than one and cultivating valuable relationships with each.

…the more people you can build trusted relationships with within an organization, the more likely you are to close a deal with them,” Burnette writes. ”This is particularly true during this time of change – if you have just one contact, and they leave, you are starting from scratch.”

And you don’t just have to take his word for it. LinkedIn’s data reveals that those who are connected to at least four people on an account are 16% more likely to close a deal with that company.

He recommends mapping out contacts at your accounts and identifying those who have decision-​making and/​or buying power. Then, work to create a relationship. You can even make it easier by having your current contact do the introductions.

As multi-​threading takes time, start now. Lost contacts are going to happen, but you can safeguard your accounts by having more than one champion at a business.

A second chance?

Perhaps lost contacts can lead to an even better connection–just with their replacement. Whether you already have the account or they’re still a prospect, you may find that the newcomer presents even more opportunity.

Be aware, though, that with new people taking positions, vendor shake-​ups can occur. Be proactive and make sure the new contact is aware of the value that you bring. “Reach out to that person and congratulate them on their new job,” Burnette advises. “Start to get to know them and understand their challenges, so you can determine how you might add value.” He adds,”In this environment, the gap between strategic partners and expendable vendors is growing. The difference is value delivered at the right level.”

Old contact, new company

Don’t forget that when your champion at one company goes to another, that’s another opportunity for business. You now have an “in” at a potentially new account, so make sure that you keep in contact. This is essentially gaining two accounts with just one contact!

It comes down to being proactive

Both of Burnette’s tips involve being proactive. Reps will likely continue to experience lost contacts due to the Great Reshuffle, but if they take initiative, they can come away with even better relationships and opportunities.

While there’s really no way to avoid these changes, his tips can help you roll with them. Through self-​motivation, determination and adaptability, you can thrive both today and in the future.

Photo by Timon Studler