Connecting to the lonely client: how to bolster relationships in uncertain times
In the midst of a global pandemic and a rapid shift towards a new normal, nurturing positive client relationships is more important than ever before. Ensuring you remain an essential part of your clients’ path to success — and remain a part of their budget — is all about maintaining positive experiences, especially in uncertain times.
Introhive’s main application is to enable firms to understand, measure, and drive revenue from client relationships — and strengthening those relationships will be key in helping firms to mitigate losses and bounce back quickly when we return to “business as usual.”
So how can we strengthen relationships and create success with our clients in times of such uncertainty?
We recently hosted a webinar for an audience of over 550 professionals (joining us from their kitchens, home offices, and back gardens across the globe!) to discuss the importance of keeping in touch with clients in these difficult times.
Relationships: the foundation for growth
Within professional services firms, relationships have always been critical to growth. Simply put: people buy from people they like and trust. With 68% of revenue being generated from existing relationships, firms who foster strong relationships naturally achieve higher revenue, profitability, and a greater share of spend. However, while strong relationships undoubtedly drive growth, relationships are often the result of past success rather than the driver of future success.
In today’s strange and difficult circumstances, your current relationships can be a key source of competitive advantage and one way is through the generation of warm leads. With senior business leaders being five times more likely to engage and 84% of decision-makers now starting the buying process via warm introductions, the need to answer “Who knows who?” is becoming increasingly important in forming long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.
Shifting into this new way of working is having a great impact on all industries — including the legal sector. Working with over 80 law and accounting firms, Introhive has been hearing some common challenges amongst our clients:
- Workforces are disparate and isolated. Remote working is having a major impact on the ease of collaboration, making it even more difficult to understand who knows who and how well they know them. Sharing information on who is interacting with who across firms has also become increasingly difficult.
- Activities have become unclear among client teams, and managerial insight is limited. It’s now even harder for managers to gain insight into which clients they are or aren’t communicating with. Regular team conference calls are helping people keep abreast of clients’ needs — however, a central place to record all activities is now crucial.
- Virtual meetings, calls, and emails are no match for in-person networking. With in-person events now not an option to network or build new business, firms are focusing their efforts on leveraging current relationships to mitigate revenue decline.
- Keeping client experiences positive is more crucial than ever. At a time when your closest network is going to be the most powerful, individual partners are being urged to speak to their clients to see how they can help — or even just to say hello. Client experience remains crucial, and firms are wanting to monitor activity to ensure clients aren’t being ignored — or worse, still being bombarded by multiple people from various departments.
The importance of data
While relationships are under the microscope of today’s global climate, firms are also trying to ensure any personal outreach is consistent, relevant, useful, and bespoke. The way we are now able to engage with clients has changed, and being able to effectively communicate with your client base remotely is predicated on having accurate contact details.
The problem is, we very often find around 70% of a firm’s contacts are missing from CRM — and the data that has been captured has gaps or is out of date. Inaccurate contact databases may have been a nuisance in the past, but in the face of economic uncertainty, they’re now somewhat more ‘mission-critical.’
During these strange and difficult times, the chance of relationships weakening and a client becoming lonely have increased. If you aren’t yet using the available technology that can passively capture accurate contact data and map out your client relationships then you should make a start manually.
Manually mapping your client relationships
Start with your key clients. Who are the most senior people at your client’s organization? Who do you receive instructions from and are you seeing a downturn in work? Where are these people based and who has the best relationships with them? Have you personally reached out to find out how they are coping and are key contacts receiving relevant updates?
To determine your standing with a client, pull together those partners with whom you feel have strong relationships with the client. Gather team members who you can see have carried out work on recent matters for the client and organize a team call to map out the strength of your relationship. Assess what systems and other people you need to bring into the conversation to start building out the bigger picture.
Having accurate data is crucial to better understanding, measuring and managing your client relationships. Start with just a handful of key clients, and you’ll quickly start to see some positive results.
How Introhive can help
While crucial to success, gathering this information manually can take months. But when it comes to securing, nurturing and maintaining client relationships, time is absolutely of the essence.
Capturing and maintaining accurate data on your clients and interactions will help you to identify the right people to keep in touch with, spot at-risk relationships, collaborate effectively both internally and externally, discover warm introductions within existing relationships, and enable you to communicate quickly and effectively with your client base during these uncertain times.
Introhive does the work for you in record time, passively capturing all the data we’ve discussed and delivering actionable insights to you and your teams. Our platform maps, scores and visualizes relationships at an individual and company-to-company level, showing you how they’re trending and where you can take steps to bolster positive experiences with your contacts.
- Improve data quality. Check contact databases for missing or outdated information and take the time to update them. An accurate list of every company you have a current relationship with and fully-fleshed-out contact records are both essential in the effort of keeping in touch with the right people.
- Map out key relationships at your most valuable clients. Knowing your relationship strength at an individual and company-to-company level — including insights into who has the relationships with whom.
- Ensure clients are being engaged with properly. Keep an eye on how relationships are trending, and monitor activity to make sure clients aren’t being ignored or overwhelmed by multiple people/departments within your firm. Be careful to not over-communicate during this time.
- Communicate directly with clients to see how you can help — or just to say hello. Relationships remain vital and at a time when your closest network is going to be the most powerful.
- Consider how technology can help. While budgets may be limited at the moment, consider how innovative technologies can help you access the data you need to enable your people to focus on developing and maintaining client relationships.
In these unprecedented times, it’s important to empower your people to drive successful client relationships. Introhive is here to help mitigate losses, create new wins, and act as a partner in ensuring success for you and your clients.