How Relationship Intelligence Can Boost Business Development

October 26, 2022 – Here’s a way to take your existing customer relationship management (CRM) data to the next level: Incorporate relationship intelligence within your organization’s existing CRM and reveal the people who will have the biggest impact on your business goals, says global data company BoardEx in a new report. When that intelligence can be found with a company’s CRM, the time it takes to close a deal shortens.

“Success comes from the strength of relationships, connecting you to an ecosystem greater than your current networks,” said BoardEx. “Employees can create a network effect to unlock further value from their organizations. The collective power of a companies business relationships promotes greater internal collaboration among teams and extends the network’s reach into the marketplace.”

We may operate in a digitally driven marketplace, but people, relationships, and networks still power business. “Identifying key decision makers for your products and services can be a long and costly process when relying solely on a CRM system,” said BoardEx. “Relationship intelligence based on accurate, relevant, and timely data can help organizations make decisions that will drive exceptional results. The strength of relationships can help decide the quality of those results, however the stronger the relationships between two people, the greater potential for success.”

Building the Brand

Data in a CRM system contains a limited set of contacts normally based on the company’s existing relationships. The accuracy of that data relies on regular updates from business development, sales, and marketing teams with different business priorities. “Other data constraints include using the same pool of contacts repeatedly for business development activities and campaigns,” said the BoardEx report. “Over 30 percent of all contact data becomes outdated each year if not monitored. In short, engaging, acquiring, and retaining clients becomes difficult because a CRM system will tell you what you already know.”

Research also tell us that nothing is more effective at helping you get in the door than referrals and warm introductions: For 84 percent of B2B decision makers, the buying cycle starts with a referral, said BoardEx. Referrals are also 30 percent more likely to convert compared to non-referrals. And referrals garner 37 percent higher retention rates compared to non-referrals.

Relationship Intelligence

Organizations can enrich their CRM data with relationship intelligence from external sources. “These outside sources can help to reveal referrals and introductions opportunities and become the source of your next big deal,” said the report. “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,” said BoardEx. “These can be relationships with board members, clients, partners, and suppliers, as well as your alumni, former employees, and influential people across industries.”

Unlocking Value

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.

“As an employee, I could add my relationships to my company’s network to amplify its value and increase its relationship intelligence,” said BoardEx. “This would create a network effect to reveal more actionable connections.”

Data’s Impact on Executive Search
As workforce management paradigms shift to meet 21st century talent needs, HR leaders and executive recruiters are leveraging new tools and capitalizing on analytics to adapt their strategies and address changing trends. Anyone who’s been put in charge of selecting a new leader knows that they have a daunting task before them. But what’s changed in just the last few years is how leveraging data and analytics can minimize the risk associated with bringing someone new onboard – at every professional level. Big data is behind it all. Readily available analytics have created a seismic shift in how companies now operate, go to market, track employee performance, and take the guesswork out of hiring.

Organizations with data-driven cultures will see the greatest value and greater internal collaboration as they extend their network’s reach into the marketplace, said the report.

What Recruiters Say

In interviews with Hunt Scanlon Media, two executive recruiters weighed in:

Phil Brakewell, vice president, executive search NAM and EMEA for WilsonHCG, says relationship intelligence does serve to help expand one’s network as a recruiter. “Being aware of potential connections enables executive recruiters to expand their networks and build credibility with their clients and prospects,” he said. “Executive search by nature requires a network of relationships and enhancing the information surrounding those relationships can strengthen them. Relationship data is a key part of having influence and persuasion, a requirement for executive recruiters.”

Indeed, CRM data has helped to change executive search. “First, it helps executive search professionals understand complex organizations vertically and horizontally,” said Mr. Brakewell. “As executive search teams are engaging with multiple business leaders daily, relationship intelligence helps to give a real-time view on organizational dynamics and those operating within these organizations. Secondly, the information we have about the connections we possess allows us to further strengthen current relationships or build new ones based on our newfound knowledge.”

Unique Perspectives

Frank Scarpelli, managing partner and CEO of HireWerx, said that incorporating relationship intelligence and predictive insights into his firm’s client/candidate relationship management system allows HireWerx to gain unique perspectives into current and potential clients and candidates. “Our strategies enable us to generate actionable insights based on existing relationship data of our clients, colleagues, partners, and candidates,” he said. “We leverage publicly available information through various sources, including social networks. This methodology enables us to build and enhance an ecosystem of relationship capital.”

Integrating relationship intelligence with a CRM allows your team to leverage their collective networks and the many interactions that take place daily, said Mr. Scarpelli. “This integration improves team performance by unlocking and optimizing the information within your company,” he said, “ultimately extending the reach into your niche market. Relationship capital is highly valuable, but only if you can harness it.”

Related: What to Ask Yourself Before Making a Diversity Hire and How Data Can Help

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

Share This Article


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments