Software organizations know that relationship building is the heart and soul of any successful business, whether big or small. No matter how great their product is designed or built, it still all boils down to how the business engages with its entire value chain. And just like a marriage, the more they work on it, the greater success they experience. Successful businesses realize that relationship marketing shouldn’t just be limited to customers; it should also extend to and include relationships with employees, suppliers, and even, shockingly for many, competitors. There are four areas of focus that we will delve into in this post: customer, employee, supplier and competitor.
It isn’t sufficient to just build a great product. Successful businesses also create a unique competitive advantage by placing an exceptional amount of focus on delighting the customer. They religiously work towards building and maintaining relationships with their customers.
Hubspot is a great example for stellar customer service and in fact, has been rated as a leader in customer satisfaction for marketing automation software. One of their key growth strategies is customer delight. Hubspot ensures that, no matter what department, every employee has the same spirit of customer focus, both before and after the sale happens. They constantly educate their customers on how best to use their product, closely communicate with them to stay abreast of issues they may be facing, provide them technical support on an ongoing basis and take customer feedback in order to improve their product through innovative new ideas. They pay close attention to every single interaction in order to provide a brilliant customer experience and are subsequently, not only able retain their customers but also able to convert them into hardcore promoters of the product.
According to an American Express Survey conducted in 2011, 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience. Another report from Marketing Metrics suggests that while there is about 5-20% probability of selling to a new prospect, there is 60-70% probability of selling to an existing customer. This is why it is important to focus on customer satisfaction, both before and after a sale.
The only way to convert a prospect to a customer and then, to a repeat customer is by relationship building. When a business shows how much they care, customers are not only more likely to come back to them on a repeat basis, but they are also likely to insist that their network do business with them too.
For a software company, hiring high quality talent is crucial. Whether it be software developers, technical architects or project managers, these individuals determine the success of your software product and as a direct effect, also that of your entire organization. While sourcing good talent is the first step, there is also the aspect of ‘retaining’ them—generating loyalty in them towards your business and an unwavering commitment towards your product by investing in them and supporting them in their professional growth. It is important to hire retainable people that are looking for a career and a long term relationship with the company rather than those looking for a stopgap arrangement for a quick raise in their salary. Companies should also invest in building a relationship with their employees by adopting innovative and efficient retention strategies.
Whether a business provides products or services, their growth depends very closely on finding and retaining good suppliers that delivery quality components in a timely manner. In addition to this, their success can also be attributed to the supplier’s constant innovation and improvement of offering because this directly affects the organization’s standing in the market relative to competition. Successful businesses prioritize building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with their suppliers and include it in their company’s strategic approach to success.
Partnerships over Competition
In today’s networked economy, it can be quite damaging to view competitors exclusively as enemies. Smart companies create an environment conducive to success by forming partnerships, sometimes even with perceived competitors. Business savvy entrepreneurs harness a winning strategy of generating value by identifying their operational deficiencies and conquering them by creating symbiotic relationships with other companies so that they can conceive new ideas, products and innovations together. When businesses combine resources, experience and industry knowledge, with a dose of caution, they are better equipped to grow and scale up, capture a larger customer share, meet customer needs and subsequently, emerge as a unified strong player within the market.