A large manufacturer may have found success as a producer of highly specialised products with a tightly defined set of buyers. Stable, long-term customer relationships become increasingly important when it comes to maintaining a healthy sales pipeline as your business passes peak growth and reaches maturity.
You can strengthen your customer relationships by adding value to their businesses – for instance, by investing in more sustainable processes or shared technology. As a supplier, challenge yourself on how you can innovate with your buyer to make your relationship work more effectively.
When it comes to significant, long-term customers, it’s important to make sure your business is investing in the relationship to open up communication and shared visibility. The finance director of a large manufacturing corporation said: “We have a centralised business development monitoring system to create visibility of sales pipeline and order backlog. It’s a shared responsibility to look after customer relationships.”
Effectively managing your relationships with your customers is one of the best ways of maximising sales stability, improving transparency and addressing issues that affect your competitiveness. And that’s a way to de-risk your sales process that’s just as valid for growing manufacturers as it is for large, mature businesses.