Where’s this Relationship Going, Anyway? It’s Complicated.

Business Relationships 

We’ve all asked or been asked this question before. It’s either spoken or thought at some point in the lifecycle of every important relationship. In the B2B world, strategic account relationships carry special importance. You might call them enterprise, named or just large. In any case, because of their size, they can really build your business up or break your heart. Take for example the recent break-up of American Express and wholesale retail giant Costco. Finding themselves at an impasse during contract pricing term renegotiations, Costco chose to part ways with the credit card company after a solid 16-year relationship, and build a new partnership with AmEx competitor Citigroup. Costco represented 8 percent of total global card spending for American Express and after the split, AmEx stock prices took a visible hit. That’s what I call a heartbreaker.

Many similar stories exist in today’s increasingly competitive business landscape where organizations often overlook the current and potential revenue, as well as the risk, represented by these customers. Like any meaningful relationship, things get complicated—fueled by a complex tapestry of existing contracts, orders and deal documentation.

How well you understand the history and current relationship structure behind that large, complex account makes the difference between continued mutual growth and happiness or a costly separation.

In case you missed it, our recent webinar with special guest SiriusDecisions dove into this topic headfirst.

Steven Silver, a Research Director at SiriusDecisions, and I explored how best-in-class organizations retain and grow strategic account revenue by mapping the customer lifecycle, digitizing important contract information, and effectively integrating that info into downstream sales, finance and operational processes.

One organization we spotlighted—a $20B telecom company—knew they had significant revenue, and potential risk, locked up in over 300,000 complex customer contracts. Working with Pramata, they were able to quickly derive new intelligence from contracts combined with CRM and billing data to drive retention, price change, and order management actions, including $11M in recurring revenue opportunities.

In the case of strategic account management, knowledge truly is power. When you understand complex relationships and nurture them proactively across your organization, information quickly transforms into revenue retention and growth. I encourage you to check out the recorded webinar and learn how to head-off your own relationship drama.

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