The dangers of putting your client contacts in one basket

 
Liam Halpin
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Social selling (Source: Getty)

Everyone in business knows just how important it is to have relationships with multiple people in client companies. For sales teams, that is especially true: deals live or die by the connections they develop with their clients.

Yet despite that, research from LinkedIn shows that two thirds are still putting their eggs in one basket, so to speak, by relying on single connections with decision makers in the organisations they are selling to. That means that for most salespeople, the relationships they have with prospective buyers are fragile.

LinkedIn data suggests that 45 per cent of sales in the UK which rely on a single connection could be at risk of falling through.

Failure to connect

Despite knowing how they should be operating, many salespeople are failing to develop the multiple connections that would make it easier for them to get deals over the line.

Why is that the case? Our research suggests that a major factor behind this is turnover of both sales professionals (34 per cent) and business decision makers (17 per cent).

As personnel change, and with time and resources becoming increasingly finite, sales professionals are unable to establish the connections they need quickly and effectively, particularly before key decision makers move on.

Social selling

It’s clear that sales professionals need a new way of nurturing contacts – one that will enable them to get in touch with multiple contacts within client organisations at scale and at speed, without losing the human aspect which is critical to getting sales deals over the line.

This is where social selling comes into its own. Smart salespeople are already using social media channels to connect and interact with prospects directly.

Social selling allows professionals to identify new opportunities and buyer accounts to build relationships with. Ultimately this means they can provide value by creating and contributing to conversations that help solve challenges from prospective buyers.

Identify the influencers

If you’re not already doing this, the good news is it’s easy: you can quickly identify influencers within target organisations, establish the potential introductions you can get through colleagues or your network, and approach new connections with the click of a button.

With 67 per cent of UK deals currently relying on a single point of contact, it has never been more important for salespeople to extend their network in order to protect and grow their business.

Every connection you establish mitigates the potential for your client network to be diminished through personnel turnover.

Review your relationships

To set yourself up for future success, review the relationships in your sales book and map out the potential influencers within each account – you can then start building a robust, deeper and better-engaged sales network.

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