Maintaining Past Sales Relationships is Key

Due to the changing nature of business, in both its international scope and the flexibility of employees to move from job to job, it is important for sales management teams to stay on good terms with their former workers.

The days where an employee might work at the same company for more than 30 years prior to retiring with a pension and a gold watch have come and gone, as the modern business climate has eliminated this type of company loyalty, according to Barrett Riddleberger, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Resolution Systems, Inc., a sales training and consulting firm.

It is important for sales management teams to try and connect the dots, accepting the reality of inter-industry job hopping and using this knowledge to capitalize on positive prior relationships, noted the executive.

“Most companies, especially large ones, are highly transitory and as employees look for advancements, high pay, more opportunity, you’ll see them hop from company to company,” said Riddleberger. “What we do is develop a good breadth of relationships within our accounts.”

If a representative develops a solid relationship with their customer and this individual moves to another company, it is possible to acquire new business through loyalty and preference.

“A good population is going to move out or up in a three-year period of time,” Riddleberger noted. “Those relationships are going to go to other companies and will be entry points for us into those companies.”

Using applications such as LinkedIn can help to organize personal relationships into a more business-related database. Managers can advise their employees to track their customers’ representatives and follow their careers in an effort to obtain as much business as possible, according to the executive.

Word of mouth campaigns have been used by companies in the past, but this was a process that was usually restricted to customer referrals and not business to business interactions, Inc.com reported.

Though referrals may not always be successful, as a personal relationship does not necessarily ensure new business, the foot in the door can help a representative gain an audience, at the very least.

Leveraging relations with former clients needs to be done on a personal level, as the representative must focus on congratulating their former customer on their new position, and work into the next sale that way. The better that the relationship is, the quicker that an individual may reach out, and the easier it may be to acquire a new account, according to Riddleberger.