The B2B space is becoming increasingly complex from the customer success standpoint. Stakeholder relationships have become highly unpredictable and fluid in nature – many people get promoted and some are fired, while companies often expand or get acquired. These high-maintenance accounts are creating multiple relationship building challenges for CSMs. Enter relationship intelligence.
What is Relationship Intelligence?
Relationship Intelligence is helping Customer Success Managers (CSMs) and Account Managers (AMs) build and nurture relationships with the help of data-driven information and insights. It’s helping them upsell, cross-sell, and unlock other hidden growth opportunities. Not only that, it’s helping them address at-risk accounts in real-time to reduce churn and other kinds of brand damage.
A successful customer success professional still requires good interpersonal, multitasking, and project management skills. But there’s also a growing need for data-driven decision making due to the amount of siloed data that’s piling up. Only digesting this information in real-time and converting it into actionable insights with relationship intelligence can help build, nurture, and grow accounts today.
The Benefits of Embracing Relationship Intelligence
1. Breaking Down Omni-Channel Communications
Gone are the days of getting everything done with phone calls. Today’s CSMs have to engage with customers via a wide range of communication channels – emails, text messages, chats, Slack conversations, and even on social media, just to name a few. Processing and handling this plethora of information manually can become overwhelming pretty fast.
2. Recognizing At-Risk Accounts
Another problem with handling customer accounts manually is that humans have a biased view, which is often formed without taking historic trends into account. This created a false sense of reality that doesn’t coincide with the company’s growth plans or product strategy. Relationship intelligence helps connect the dots in an unbiased manner to detect customer sentiment drops and at-risk accounts.
3. Detecting Relationship Dynamic Fluctuations
The B2B space has become very unpredictable and dynamic. Stakeholders are always on the go – some suddenly get promoted (new champion opportunities), while others are transferred or laid off (irrelevant personas). Tracking these fluctuations manually is simply an unrealistic goal, something that creates multiple blind spots in accounts. Relationship intelligence to the rescue yet again.
4. Improving Productivity and Cross-Department Collaboration
With relationship intelligence harvesting customer data and converting it into data-driven conclusions, customer success managers and teams get to enjoy a reduced administrative workload. They can focus on analysis, planning, and creating a transparent ecosystem. This also helps involve other departments to further improve their productivity and align the company towards the North Star Metric.
5. Sharpening the Customer Success Playbook
Relationship intelligence helps create better customer success playbooks thanks to the deeper knowledge it brings into play. The new information about at-risk accounts and accurate analysis of stakeholder sentiment lets CSMs be more focused in their efforts. They can now know which personas can and should be targeted with customized strategies to create stickier accounts.
Relationship Intelligence: The Requirements
With a focus on the human relationships and important stakeholders, a well-implemented relationship intelligence solution should be able to identify key stakeholder changes – has your Champion gone dark? Changed roles? Is your Decision Maker unresponsive? Or upset? Maintaining those priority relationships is critical to success. But how do you do it at scale and efficiently?
Here are a few components you’ll need to integrate into your ecosystem:
- Access to Communication with Customers – All customer conversions, emails, tickets, and chats need to be constantly tracked, analyzed, and broken down. Only doing so will give you a complete and comprehensive picture.
- Access to Internal Communication Data – Businesses need to make sure that all product, CSM, support, and IT communications are transparent. For example, three personas can unknowingly be talking to the same customer or account. Your relationship intelligence platform should be able to track all verticals and eliminate siloed communication channels.
- Integration with Your Single Source of Truth – Your relationship intelligence platform needs to be able to stream information and data into your primary customer or task management platform, which is often the CRM.
Before we move on to understanding more about relationship intelligence, it’s important to understand that CRM tools were designed primarily to manage the sales funnel of leads and prospects rather than the funnel of existing customers that a company needs to retain and grow. Because of that focus, leveraging a CRM tool for Customer Success activities can be rudimentary and limited.
The CRM vs Relationship Intelligence
In a nutshell. Customer Success is the thread that holds the entire customer journey together; end to end. CRM functionality generally stops at the sale. Additionally, there are some more key differences you must take into account.
Here are the three main differences between the two methodologies:
- CRM Updating is a Tiring Manual Process – Your customers are dynamic. Your CRM is static. You need your tech stack to keep up without demanding hours of your time and attention just on maintenance and data inputting.
- CRMs Can’t Help with Making Deeper Human Connections – CRMs offer a centralized way to view your leads. But they offer very little when it comes to understanding customer sentiment or analyzing your customer health scores.
- CRMs Won’t Help Reduce Churn or Promote Growth – Relationship intelligence promotes relationship building by leveraging advanced AI-driven analysis, prediction, and monitoring to make deeper human connections.
Staircase AI Relationship Intelligence
Staircase works 24×7 to analyze thousands of interactions (emails, messages, conversations) to safeguard accounts by understanding the sentiment of these interactions, the context and issues that are being discussed. These understandings are then summarized and surfaced to CS teams to take corrective action or double down on opportunities to upsell and expand.
Staircase boosts collaboration and diffuses FOMO around customer interactions. With all client-facing interactions viewable on Staircase, it’s easy to track customer engagement and learn how the customer is feeling. This allows quick and accurate alignment on account status versus working in the dark. Your teams can now identify potential risk indicators and create strategies to address them proactively.
Staircase Relationship Intelligence will change the way your business does Customer Success forever. It bridges the gaps between businesses, internal team members, and most importantly – the external stakeholders.
Get Started with Relationship Intelligence Now