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My colleague recently wrote an article The Starting Points for Relationship Selling. I'm a big believer in relationship selling and wanted to dig into some of the common challenges we have in getting the ball rolling and creating relationships.
Challenge 1: Finding the Key Players
The first challenge is finding all the key players in the first place. To build the right relationships, you must first be able to systematically identify all the key decision-makers and influencers you will need to persuade or win over. Finding and reaching the key decision-makers was hard enough in the days when you only had to find the single decision maker who held the purse strings. In today's world of consensus buying, 6.8 people are involved in the buying decision on average. Most sellers are simply not equipped to find all the people who will ultimately need to play a role in the purchase decision.
This challenge is compounded even further when you consider that 20% of decision-makers change roles every year. This means that sellers must find a way to consistently uncover the key players at the account as they evolve over time.
Challenge 2: Adding Value
Second, sellers are often not perceived as adding value to the buyer, making it difficult to build trust. When the key players that will be involved in the deal are finally identified, the next step is to establish trust.
They key to building this trust often boils down to your ability to consistently offer insight and add value to the buyer. To contribute relevant insights and add value, you must not only find a way to understand the buyer's business and needs, but must also tailor their recommendations to match. This is a tall order! As a result of so many sales professionals struggling to build this trust, it's not surprising that 77% of buyers don't believe sales understands their business and don't think they can help.
Challenge 3: Managing the Beast
Finally, there is often struggle to maintain and grow these relationships over time, especially across many people and accounts. While it's hard enough to find all the right players and build trust with them, it's even more difficult to systematically keep all these people engaged. Most sellers don't have the required organizational skills and discipline required to stay on top of all these complex relationships. So it's not really a surprise that 24% of forecasted deals go dark due to losing touch with a key buyer.
Want to overcome these challenges? Check out this eBook on Relationship Selling. It covers tips and tools to set yourself or team up for relationship selling success.