virtual relationship marketing strategies

Relationship Marketing: Putting the Human Back into Sales

Over the past few years, with the rise of automated technology and the temptation to make software do everything, the human element of sales has faltered. But sales is a personal concept. That’s why relationship marketing is key to retaining existing leads and building lasting relationships with C-suite executives. Use this guide to improve your client engagement and retention.

Why focus on relationship marketing?

At its core, 71 percent of Americans prefer interacting with a human as opposed to some sort of AI tool. If you’re trying to improve your client retention strategies, then clearly the key is to give the people what they want. And people want human interaction.

Automated programs can also be confusing and if any client has a question it can often be difficult finding an answer without someone they can speak to. To ensure a happy and satisfied client throughout the sales funnel, incorporate relationship marketing into your lead generation strategy.

How does relationship marketing affect the C-suite?

The C-suite is a group of executives keen on building trust and connection with a company. C-suite executives don’t take any decision lightly and they need to feel that they’re valued and understood, This wouldn’t happen with an automated system, but the human touch would promote trust, communication, honesty, and loyalty.

The C-suite is a more challenging group to pitch and sell to, so your communication with them must be personalized to their specific needs and their company. Without relationship marketing, how are you intending to make that kind of relationship with a C-suite executive?

How to implement relationship marketing

You already have your pool of clients, and it’s those that you should focus on. This is a big-picture idea. Don’t focus your resources on client acquisition; that is expensive. Focus on client retention, because you already have them, and keeping them accounts for 52 percent of revenue.

You’ll have an easier time selling to clients you already have which is why customer retention is paramount. Relationship marketing will even lower the cost of lead generation since your current clients will be so happy with your services that they will refer you.

Improve customer service

Relationship marketing personalizes the sales funnel by offering human touchpoints, personalized content, and customized solutions. With human interaction, you can determine what best suits your C-suite executive’s needs and outline a plan for them. This is only possible if you’ve built an open relationship with them.

Here are some important statistics to keep in mind from a study by PWC:

  • 60 percent of buyers would stop doing business with a company if they found the customer service wasn’t friendly.
  • 73 percent of buyers consider customer experience when making a purchase decision.
  • 42 percent of buyers would pay more for a better customer experience.

People care more about their customer experience than cost or brand. Prioritize the human touch by communicating well with your customers. When communicating, consider:

  • Is it positive or negative?
  • Does it provide value?
  • Is it personalized?
  • Is it helpful?
  • Does it address a pain point?

Implement a customer loyalty program

A customer loyalty program keeps your customers engaged no matter if it’s a points system, a personalized email newsletter, a mastermind community, etc. If you keep your customers engaged, you develop brand loyalty. If your clients are happy with you, they are less likely to switch to another brand.

Setting up a customer loyalty program gives clients a reason to keep buying from you. Whatever the program becomes, it’s an incentive to stick around and it’s a tactic that makes your clients feel valued. 

Build a community

Customers want to belong to something and it’s up to you to give them that opportunity. Satisfied customers aren’t as valuable as customers who are satisfied and connected with a company. This increases their value by 52 percent.

A community can be built through webinars, events, or social media. It gives your clients a platform to ask questions, self-serve, and learn from others. It gives your company a space to promote long-term engagement with C-suite executives.

Building trusty relationships through a community means you can also get helpful, honest feedback that you can quantify and use to improve your services/products and client retention strategy.

Relationship marketing = higher revenue

If consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience, then it’s your job to give them the best customer experience possible where you can raise prices and up-sell to connected buyers.

At first, connected customers might be fewer and farther between but they account for more of the revenue because they’re inclined to buy more. Raise the number of connected customers using relationship marketing, and you raise your revenue.