You'll see over the next few months that "experts" will reduce business relationships into a few steps, or even clich?as they have done with customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP). It doesn't have to be that way, and there is no quick fix.
You have always needed business relationships, they have always existed, and methods have always been available to make them more effective. Often we wear the mask of technology when it is people who ultimately determine the fate of our organizations.
Clearly define the market segments that are best fit for your offer. Not everyone interested in your product will buy. Look for prospects that are ready to buy, stop going after people who have to be converted. Know enough about your customers to pick out those ready to make a decision. The more you know the easier the next step becomes.
Within each buying segment further differentiate the types of buyers. Notice the desires of subgroup inside your market segments, know what each of these groups wants to accomplish. You'll notice each subgroup of buyers will have different buying criteria, requirements, and maybe even means of acquiring your product. Treat each of these groups as unique.
Target your message to each subsegment according to their own desires. You should have marketing materials that speaks to technical folks, materials for the c-level decision maker, and even those materials for the information gatherer. Focus on each groups desires, and write directly to their needs. This isn't as expensive as it sounds.
Segment your audience by role of the decision maker, speak in their language to their needs. Engineers will expect engineering details, while executive want information about the impact on the bottom line. This may mean bringing a technical person with you on a sales call, perhaps even providing a multi-part brochure or presentation that addresses each role separately.
Leverage inexpensive mediums to build a connection between you in the prospective buyer. Use print brochures, web sites, even single page flyer. It is very expensive to call on everyone interested in your product, develop an educational package that works to qualify a specific prospect as a ready buyer at the lowest cost to your company.
Provide an educational experience with prospective buyers so they know all the benefits of ownership. Every customer interaction point is an opportunity to educate or sell. There is nothing wrong with a small sales pitch at the end of an educational interaction, but without education, how will your prospects know if buying from you is in their benefit. This is more than building a relationship, it's developing trust and making sure you are a good match for the client.