How to Use Relationship Intelligence to Deliver Account-Based “Nudges”

We want to keep in touch with people in our accounts and build relationships naturally, but it’s hard. And over automating will kill the deal. Simply creating and spinning off email cadences and calling and endless touch-points might send your buyer headed away. Instead, to shape buyer behavior, we know that we have to ‘nudge’ them towards the right choices, rather than try to lasso them and reel them in at speed. Build and grow a relationship over time, and you’ll be in a much better spot.

But nudging is hard. It is nuanced and takes precision and patience. To do this better, meet account-based relationship intelligence. A new field of technology, powered by machine learning, that helps you build and track important relationships in accounts.

We’ll focus on three use cases here:

  1. Opportunities and insights for outreach across an account
  2. Relationship tracking
  3. Deal analytics to help you avoid slipped deals.

Read below to learn more about how to imbue your account-based strategy with relationship intelligence.

Opportunities and insights for outreach

The first step is to use your network. If it’s a brand new account, try warm outreach – i.e. getting an introduction from a strong connection in common – instead of cold. We know that cold calling has a less than 2% chance of success and that B2B buyers are 5x more likely to engage through an introduction. So save yourself and everyone involved some time. And find out who you know in common at a target account through an app like LinkedIn, or if you want to ensure it’s a strong connection, try

And if you’re looking to build across an account, use the same approach. We all know that most B2B deals now take at least a handful of people to make the decision.  Why not continue to meet people throughout the account you want to close? Create multiple relationships and you’ll have a better chance of closing and retaining a deal.

Second, make your outbound activities are actually relevant and personalized. Get sales insights automatically about a prospect – and make it easy, right in your email, sales engagement platform, or CRM – and then add a couple elements of personalization. Mention a news article. Talk about a recent blog. Bring up a recent tweet or something on social. Anything to show that you are paying attention – and that you care. This is how you’re going to build a relationship over time.

Relationship measurement and keeping in touch

Once you’ve started reaching out, it’s time to keep it up. The best way to know where you are at is to do quick spot checks. If someone asks “when was the last time that you were in touch with that prospect” you might say “oh, a couple weeks ago.”

But what if it was really 6 weeks? The best way to know is to constantly track and manage who you are losing touch with on your target account lists. Some tools do this automatically and ensure that you’ll never lose touch. And they will even indicate if you have a weak or a strong relationship. That way you’ll never find yourself during a 1:1 with a sales VP in a place where you don’t know exactly how strong your relationships are. Other platforms give you real-time insight into communication history between your team and your target account. This allows you to have full visibility into conversation you and other team members have had, ensuring no lines of communication are crossed.

You might also want to simply set an ABM play to keep in touch with your key prospects, for example every two weeks for those actively in deal cycle and every 2-3 months for those not yet ready, but great prospects down the line. Relationship intelligence platforms are making this easier and easier, including the ability to set a smart cadence that will automatically remove outreach reminders, for example if you are spontaneously in touch via email or a have a meeting or call.

Deal risk analytics

The last note to consider here is that you can use relationship strength as an indicator for deal success – or risk. Knowing that it takes at least a handful of people on a buying committee to close a deal, why not measure the number of strong relationship at an account? You could even embed that measure directly into your CRM, so that your forecasting is enhanced with relationship intelligence. These kind of analytics are fast becoming critical, especially in an account-based strategy where you want to go broad and deep into an account.

Once you know which accounts have strong relationships and which ones do not, you can double back on the weak ones to get them up to speed. Build strong relationships across the account, so that you have much higher chance to close come deal time.


If you want to win accounts, there are a number of ways to nudge your way forward. It all starts with building relationships and will carry through by maintaining them, and even evaluating the likelihood of your deals closing based on the strength of your relationships. As you grow your ABM strategy, it’s worth investing in your relationship intelligence toolkit so that you can compete.

Jaxson Khan

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