By Todd Smithee

Strong, healthy relationships are based on credibility and trust.  The more important the relationship, the more time it takes to build that credibility and trust.  This is as important in business as it is in our personal lives.  A positive, professional relationship takes a long-term investment in credibility and trust-building interactions with potential (and current) customers.

Organizations and people, however, do not manage long-term relationship building activities as well as they believe.  According to Gartner, 70% of all business-to-business leads receive NO follow-up.  If the first impression of these prospects is negative, how can credibility and trust be established?  If follow-up on new leads is sub-par, what can be expected of long-term relationship strategies?

Organizations do not deliberately set out to fail at relationship building.  They frequently, however, do not take the time to develop effective strategies.  Effective strategies require planning in four main categories:

  1. Process Definition and Development
  2. Customer Relationship Management Technology
  3. Meaningful Content
  4. People

Over the next several months we will focus on these four categories and how they can help your organization improve its business relationships and its bottom line.