By Neal Gorenflo & David Nour

Many B2B sales organizations create separate roles for winning new accounts (hunting) and winning additional business from existing accounts (farming). This can lead to little to no coordination between sales people. This is a colossal blunder. Why?

First and foremost, the best way to win new clients is through your existing ones. Second, team selling increases close rates. By separating hunting from farming, you could be missing out on the number one way to find new clients while reducing your close rate.

If there’s any doubt, here’s some stats to back it up:

  • Word of mouth is the #1 influence on key business decisions (Keller Fay, 2007).
  • 50% of executives report that they are highly likely to buy a product based on a recommendation from a peer (Keller Fay, 2007).
  • FAS.research found that the probability of closing a sale increases by 52% when a second client reference was added to an existing one.
  • If only one reference was available, FAS found that adding an executive to the sales team increased closing probability by 40%.

While sales people understand the value of references – until now few sales organizations have had the tools to plan sales activities that systematically leverage connections between clients and prospects. This is where Relationship Economics can be applied – including using social network analysis as practiced by FAS.research – to scientifically map and measure connections between clients and prospects. By quantifying the influence existing clients have on prospects, you can identify the highest probability prospects and profitably coordinate the activities of sales teams.

Here are some tips on leveraging the most powerful form of persuasion in your market – the influence decision makers have on each other:

  • Use existing clients as the starting point for account acquisition planning.
  • Learn how your organization is connected to clients and how these clients are connected to each other.
  • Find the highest probability opportunities – based on relationships – to work first.
  • Coordinate the actions of your sales people based on the connections between existing clients and prospects. Involve executives in team selling efforts

To learn more about how to leverage existing clients to win new ones, call 404-419-2115 to schedule a free 30 minute consultation with David Nour of Relationship Economics and Neal Gorenflo of FAS.research.

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