Skip to content
Business people shaking hands in the office building important relationships

Thriving Together in a Lean Economy: Three Key Alliances to Build for Exponential Success

Collaborate to Dominate: Building Powerful Relationships in a Lean Business Climate

Scaled-Down Economy, Big Opportunities, Leveraging Collaboration for Growth

If you work in software, chances are you’re finding ways to do more with less. This year brings thinner budgets, lean marketing teams, less staff, more demand for leads, and plenty of serious competition for the business sitting in your existing pipeline.

Our current hypothesis is that winning in 2024 revolves around relationship building.

Building, nurturing, and advancing strategic relationships inside and outside the enterprise will be the main road to achieving goals in 2024 and beyond.

This article is designed to provide you with practical insights into three key relationships that can profoundly impact your success. We’ll delve into the importance of nurturing existing accounts, the dynamics between sales and marketing, and the significance of strong employee-employer relationships.

Key Alliance #1: Your Current Clients

Keeping clients forever is unrealistic, especially since today’s buyer loves implementing new solutions. However, many organizations could do better at understanding their existing clients.

When striving to understand existing clients better, our chief aim isn’t always to sell them “more stuff.” Uncovering opportunities to cross-sell or up-sell is undoubtedly part of the equation, but the real benefit lies in building trust and loyalty.

By understanding client needs and preferences, you can tailor your solutions to their unique requirements, fostering a stronger and more profitable relationship.

Ultimately, partnering with existing clients is the key to bigger deals, higher retention rates, and growth.

What the Survey Data Reports on Revenue Growth

A recent Selling Power survey reported that the majority of B2B sales come from existing clients, while 10% come from cold calling new business.

They also found that more than 50% of sales organizations don’t currently measure the strength of client relationships, a practice that can significantly enhance your understanding of client needs and improve your service.

Additionally, 36% of respondents said their account managers don’t follow a defined account management process, highlighting the need for a structured approach to client management.

If growing your existing accounts isn’t your key priority, it may be worth a second look. The average company in Selling Power’s survey reported expanding business revenues primarily through the existing account base.

Putting Defined Account Management Systems in Place

So, if you agree that account management is important, and you’re lacking defined account management systems and objectives, and according to this data, at least 36% of you do indeed lack defined account management systems, now is the time to implement a few changes.

The first step is to assemble an initiative, outline critical objectives, and brainstorm tactics with your team to move you toward your goals.

Then, measure your results consistently and repeatedly train team members on agreed-upon priorities.

Key Alliance #2: Aligning Sales & Marketing

The next critical relationship to focus on is aligning sales and marketing. The disconnect between these two groups is often a result of communication barriers, different approaches, and a lack of shared goals.

The standard argument goes something like this: sales teams complain that marketing produces zero leads worth following up on, and marketing grumps about the sales reps failing to follow up on the leads they have painstakingly generated. This disconnect can be a result of both poor communication and goal misalignment.

But every now and then, I hear about sales and marketing teams that are working well together. They have mutual respect for each other, and when this happens, they produce powerful results.

Like with most business teams, people who have fun together make more money together. The more you can get your sales and marketing teams to collaborate, the faster you will achieve your goals.

If you can do this one thing, I believe it is a true strategic advantage. And today, with competition around every corner, true strategic advantages are hard to find.

There are the two primary gifts you stand to gain by getting this relationship right.

The first is revenue growth. Sales and Marketing alignment means clear messaging, a more comprehensive picture of the customer expeirence, a stronger brand, and better lead quality.

The second is higher job satisfaction. When teams work well together, there is less friction and more collaboration. These working environments foster new ideas, better ways of doing things, and higher levels of job satisfaction.

Key Alliance #3: Developing Employee Relationships

The third type of relationship that needs to be prioritized is with employees. Employees are everything. Period.

If you’ve been up in the castle too long and you see 80% of your team as replaceable, I can understand how you got there, but this is a friendly reminder that this frame of mind will lead to disaster.

You’ll need to recommit to the idea that if you continue to believe this, your business will erode, and you will remain professionally stuck.

Leadership who doesn’t value employees will not advance. Those are the facts. So, if you think your products are your greatest strength, rethink why you may be wrong.

Yes, there have been some very cool companies that made a lot of money with few employees, but they are not the norm.

And there are three parting gifts the “fungible employee” perspective will give you.

#1 High Turnover: 
Some turnover is good. High employee turnover is terrible. It can lead to high client turnover.

And when you have high client turnover, you’re one step away from generating less revenue, which leads to eroding margins and more work. Down the path of destruction, we travel.

#2 Ulcers or Worse:
Health is not talked about much in business. Ulcers may not even have anything to do with tough times and stress, but I’m trying to make a point.

If your attitude has drifted into the negative zone regarding employees, bring it back to positive land. It’s better for you, your health, and your company.

It’s even better for your career. Building relationships and having a positive attitude have proven to be scientifically better for your life expectancy and it’s better for your colleagues.

#3 Grimness:  Without strong employee relationships, your leadership skills will erode, and your company will shutter. If this sounds dramatic, trust me it’s not.

We had one hiring manager who worked for a world-renowned company – if I named them you would know the company, and you’d think highly of the brand. This leader had “made it” into the highest levels of the executive rung.

But he fell quickly when everyone he interviewed passed on joining the team. Working for him was a nightmare. His turnover was off the charts, and eventually, was forced out. Great leaders build other great leaders, they don’t see their team members as expendable.

The Power of Collaboration

In challenging times, your alliances will help you achieve the growth you seek. By nurturing existing client relationships, aligning sales and marketing efforts, and prioritizing your employees, you’ll be surprised at the success you can achieve.

Relationships are the bedrock of true success, and organizations that prioritize these three areas will remain competitive in 2024 and beyond.