Relationship maps can be constructed in a variety of ways. For years, people constructed a physical map via a whiteboard or chalkboard in their home or office. Relationship mapping software now makes this feasible in minutes. As sales departments and most reps transition to the digital space, we’ve seen reps copy and paste key stakeholder information onto a Microsoft Word or PowerPoint document and connect those stakeholders with relationship lines. This method typically takes a lot of manual work and time out of your day. Today, there’s specific relationship mapping tools designed for users to map out their prospects or customers by leveraging data in your CRM, creating less manual data entry. If your business is looking to implement strategic relationship mapping, we recommend the third option, as it will save you and your team time and money in the long run. Click here to try our Relationship Map tool today.
Relationship mapping is the process of either physically or digitally constructing a visual diagram of people in a business or professional setting. The goal of relationship mapping is usually to better understand who reports to whom, the nuance of specific relationships within a business, and to serve as another way for sellers to understand where and how they should be prospecting into any said account. Relationship maps are used by Schools and Universities, B2C, and B2B businesses. When done properly, there should be full visibility and alignment from the internal team regarding who you have positive connections with, who there isn’t enough information to know, who has been engaged over time, and where your threats (blockers) are.
If a sales rep or sales team is tasked with hunting (or growing) a large account, relationship mapping tools help the rep or team gain insight valuable to the rep when prospecting. Accounts with stakeholders that often move around or report to multiple leaders can be tracked and targeted using relationship mapping. Business leaders with dedicated blockers tasked to ‘block’ anyone trying to schedule a call or meeting with these personas can be worked around or engaged strategically when using a relationship map. Regardless of your prospect’s business size, when you use relationship mapping throughout a sales cycle, you and your team have a better and more nuanced understanding of the people you’re selling to. When you’re strategic with your relationships, you get deals in the door quicker.
We have two different scenarios in which our sales teams will build a relationship map. When you are dealing with an account-based GTM approach (ABM, Account-Based Selling), we have our reps create 1-2 maps per week with accounts they are going after in parallel with marketing and our executive leadership team. Their relationship mapping sessions involve identifying the key people for both marketing and sales to engage, along with tracking their engagement and support over time. The other time we have our team leverage relationship mapping is when an inbound lead officially becomes an opportunity. This will differ in every organization, but this helps us make sure our business development and Account Executives stay multi-threaded in their pursuit, and report on who they are working with, and whether that person is a supporter or blocker of the progression of the deal.
This is determined by sales leadership, the Account Executive, and the Business Development team for both inbound leads that become opportunities, and new logo pursuits that are more outbound. Typically, we suggest you go through your CRM data and identify who is typically on an opportunity, or involved in a deal. Identify 3-5 different people or titles that are impacted by this potential investment, and make sure you begin to map out who reports to who, the existing relationships, and existing knowledge you have about each key stakeholder. Our team, for example puts Director/VP of Sales, Sales Enablement Leadership and Sales Operations leadership into the Relationship Map.
A Relationship Mapping process is important because it is the source of truth with how your team will approach and penetrate your existing clients and potential customers. Going through a relationship mapping exercise forces the team to gather information on each of the people that will influence a deal, understand what their challenges are and why your solution can help, and more. This is beneficial for marketing as well, because you can work with the team to segment and target people who might be blocking your progress, or buyers that you want to move to a supporter or champion from a neutral state. Relationship Maps provide a lot of insight into where your gaps in the account are, and what threats you face that could derail your team from winning the deal.
Customer Relationship Mapping is the process of outlining the original team you sold into, but also documenting their colleagues in different business units where there can be expansion opportunities in the future. This map needs to consist of at least 1-2 people in other business units ideally, so that there are clear lines of sight for both marketing, sales and customer service to help drive growth within the account.
While it’s difficult to track tangible ROI tied directly to specific relationship maps, you can track your KPIs related to your deals such as close rates, sales cycle length, cost per customer acquisition (CAC), etc. We’ve seen customers compare these KPIs by deals they were relationship mapping versus deals where they weren't