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Relationships Matter for Creating Successful Sales Enablement Strategies

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

In today’s business environment, everything can be commoditized, digitized, or outsourced—except for relationships!

When it comes to meeting targets, 89 percent of executives responding to a recent survey completed by Candace Bennett & Associates believe that strong client relationships are the reason they meet their targets each year, yet only 24 percent think about relationships strategically. These 24 percent seem to say, “Our CRM system is the best way to strategically enable relationships.” They are relying on technology for a truly human calculation.

It’s really living and breathing sales professionals who put the R in CRM. In fact, only one in 20 sales professionals develop intentional strategies for launching, advancing, and sustaining their most important relationships connected to their sales goals each year.

The power of investing in business relationships to accelerate deals, negotiate better terms, and meet sales targets is one that sales enablement leaders simply can’t afford to overlook. Despite being armed with the best sales force automation technology available, sales enablement often relies on technology such as LinkedIn and other social media avenues to establish and advance relationships. Today, customers are seeking a much deeper connection to the human being they are interacting with, rather than a digital imprint.

For example, I believe business relationships really begin when one party or the other starts sharing what matters most to them—a goal, a passion, or a struggle. I call this idea Relational GPS, a career-spanning concept that anyone can use to effectively launch business and even personal relationships. In fact, my experiences in sharing this concept with more than 20,000 business professionals validates that almost everything a customer shares with us can fall into one of these three categories (goal, passion, or struggle).


The idea of getting to distinctly know someone reminds me of the thinking behind movie productions. There is a great deal of complexity in making a movie, beginning with the script and moving through funding, selecting actors, going through rehearsals, then shooting and editing the movie and ending up with a product that will be coming to a theater near you. All of this complexity has one overarching goal—connecting personally with each moviegoer during the two hours they spend in the theater. It’s that individual connection that manifests in people talking about the movie; then hopefully a snowball effect happens and more and more people see the movie. These thousands (and sometimes millions) of personal, one-to-one connections result in great financial performance and notoriety for the movie company.

Just like with the movies, seeking to understand your contact’s Relational GPS takes you back to the basics where people connect individually in powerful ways through understanding what they are trying to accomplish (goals), things they care deeply about (passions), and their challenges in business and life (struggles). It’s a powerful yet simple way to become intentional with each business relationship.


Think about it this way: LinkedIn is knowing about people; Relational GPS is really knowing people—one by one. Nothing else matters from a sales enablement standpoint.

For more insight, please join me November 6-7 in New Orleans for the ATD SELL Conference.

About the Author

Ed Wallace is president of AchieveNEXT Human Capital. He speaks with companies and organizations around the world with a client list that is a Who’s Who of Fortune 500 Companies. Ed has published four books on the power of business relationships, Fares to Friends, Creating Relational Capital, Business Relationships That Last, and his most recent, the #1 best seller, The Relationship Engine. He is on the faculty of Drexel’s LeBow College of Business and Villanova University’s Masters in HR program.

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