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Leverage Your Organization’s Network to Unlock Business Growth

By Ayasha Ali

We may operate in a digitally driven marketplace, but people, relationships and networks still power commerce. Identifying key decision makers for your products and services can be a long and costly process where relying solely on a customer relationship management (CRM) system is not enough. Relationship intelligence based on accurate, relevant and timely data can help organizations make decisions that will drive exceptional results. While the strength of relationships can decide the quality of those results. The stronger the relationship between two people, the greater the potential for success.

Building the Brand and Generating Demand
Data in a CRM system contain a limited set of contacts normally based on the organization’s existing relationships. The accuracy of that data relies on regular updates from, for example, business development, sales and marketing teams with competing business priorities. Other data constraints include using the same pool of contacts repeatedly for demand generation activities and campaigns. Over 30% of all contact data becomes outdated each year if not monitored. In short, engaging, acquiring and retaining clients become difficult because a CRM system will tell you what you already know. That is, nothing new.

Research also tell us that nothing is more effective at helping you get in the door than referrals and warm introductions:

• For 84% of B2B decision makers, the buying cycle starts with a referral.
Referrals are also 30% more likely to convert compared to non-referrals.
• Referrals garner 37% higher retention rates compared to non-referrals.

The Role of Relationship Intelligence
Organizations can enrich their internal data with relationship intelligence from external sources and databases to turn referrals and introductions into the next big opportunity. With the volume of data available in the public domain, how can organizations consume this information to manage their relationship capital and expand their network?

Relationship capital is the collective network of all the professional relationships of employees in an organization. These can be relationships with board members, clients, partners, and suppliers, as well as your alumni, former employees, and influential people across industries.

How to Unlock Value From Your Network
Relationship intelligence enables organizations to assess the value of their relationship capital. By mapping business relationships, organizations can research and identify the strongest path to connect with the influencers and decision-makers critical for success. There’s more. As an employee, I could add my relationships to my organization’s network to amplify its value. This would create a network effect to reveal more, and the most, actionable connections. Organizations with data-driven cultures will see the greatest value – greater internal collaboration as they extend their network’s reach into the marketplace. Do you want to stand still or leap ahead?

Summary
The scale, size, and accuracy of the data in a CRM system limit the uses of contact information based on an organization’s existing relationships. Relationship intelligence gives organizations faster access to the people who make the decisions. Success comes from the strength of relationships, connecting you to an ecosystem more superior than your current networks. Employees can create a network effect to unlock further value from an organization’s network. The collective power of an organization’s business relationships promotes greater internal collaboration among teams and extends the network’s reach into the marketplace.