Chapter 1

From relationship management to relationship intelligence

Research amongst 500+ firms within the industry, by OpenAsset (2022)

It’s whom you know, and what you know about them…

Companies are ready to grow. They know they need to win more business and are ready to invest in the right solutions. But at the same time, organizations are concerned about the ability to get the technology implemented, integrated and adopted.

"I need to know more than just who knows whom. I want insight into the depth of relationships. Who on my team has stronger relationships with which customers and prospects? And what do we know about them?"

Managind Director, international consulting firm

Setting the scene: what is different in 2023?

The professional services market is always evolving. But the change that companies are experiencing now is more profound than ever before. Several factors are at play:

  • Global consolidations, which we are seeing in law firms but also in other professional services firms such as consulting and accounting firms
  • Intensified specialization
  • Pressure from lower client spendings
  • Aggressive competition
  • Use of technology and its impact on the firm

Maintaining relationships and networking is nothing new - knowledge companies and firms that rely on personal connections have always built on the value of who knows whom. But with the radical changes occurring, sticking with what you did in the past no longer works.

Talent is scarce and retaining people is a challenge as well. New technology is creating a playing field for new types of competitors. Technology companies can rapidly automate and digitize processes and services. Knowledge and services that used to be important assets of professional service providers are now becoming more of a commodity.

All these factors increase the need for better and smarter relationship management. Companies have to be able to nurture and build relationships, to stay ahead of the game.

“We want to increase business in our existing customer base. How can we stimulate and optimize cross sell? Where are our white spaces?”

Partner, Legal Services Firm

Most of your relationship data is not in CRM

Getting a sales team involved in your CRM system is hard enough. Getting lawyers or consultants to use a system is even harder. And it's not because they lack discipline or technical skills; it's primarily a matter of precious time. And, what do they get in return for that? That's why it's a case of getting the right and relevant information to them, rather than the other way around.

What is good to realize is that most of the data about relationships is not in a static CRM system. Most information is in other applications that people use every day. Think of emails, calendars, instant messages and texts. If you can collect, automate and integrate that data into a relationship intelligence system, you can create relevant insights.

Collecting data, connecting, unifying and ultimately turning it into actionable information: that's the capability you need to move from relationship management to relationship intelligence.

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