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Keys to Managing Your Most Important Accounts

New client acquisition and growth are the oxygen of a company. Often there is a specific plan of action for companies to ensure focus on gaining new clients, yet there is no formalized plan to go wider and deeper with their current clients. Simply put, account management.

So, what makes client retention and growth such an important and demanding endeavor? Client retention and growth is a direct correlation to your company’s ability to deliver on what was promised during the sales process AND your ability to adapt to the changing needs of your client over time – personnel, priorities and technology advancement.

Below are 4 key elements that EVERY organization should embrace as part of assessing and improving its Account Management strategy and performance results:

1. Execute a Net Promoter Survey

There is no single, better way of gaining direct insight from each of your current customer relationships than the Net Promoter Survey. It is the de facto standard for understanding the LOYALTY, not satisfaction, of your client and key decision makers. By assessing how you are viewed by your customers, you can easily build a key account growth roadmap to leverage referrals, create new opportunities for expanding your share of spend, and most importantly, mitigate risks of losing your best clients.

2. Develop 3 x 3 relationships with every current client

While this applies for every client, it is even more critical for key accounts. You must align 3 levels of relationships at the customer – executive, VP/Director, manager – with 3 levels within your own organization. By doing so, you achieve a much broader view of the customer’s operating reality and how your partnership affects the client’s outcomes from the perspective of each. This is one of the key drivers of cross-selling opportunities. Additionally, it greatly reduces the risk should one of your key relationships leave the account.

3. Understand the key risk factors and measure them weekly

Is your team aware of the areas that increase risk, and are you measuring them regularly to reduce that risk and take actions designed to advance your relationships? Did you know that 38% of all relationships are put at risk when a key decision maker leaves?

As mentioned in our 2nd key element, and illustrated in the graphic above, the number one reason for risk is a change at the key decision maker level. If you only have a single-threaded relationship with the individual that leaves, your bond with that client can quickly deteriorate. Additionally, there are 7-8 additional key indicators (KPIs) that can and should be measured for improvement. I’ve included a dashboard snapshot below from Butler Street’s ClientFit® client risk analysis technology depicting those KPIs.

4. Conduct Quarterly Business Reviews

The Quarterly Business Review (QBR) may be the most important meeting you have with your customer. It allows for both you AND your customer to step away from the daily “whirlwind” and focus on the value and opportunities of your strategic relationship. A well-executed QBR has the following purpose:

Understand the current state of the relationship

Performance v. Service Level Commitments

Progress made since last quarter

Provide key stakeholders with a forum to:

Examine and discuss current state of the partnership

Discuss issues, opportunities, and changing priorities and advancing technology

Reinforce the value you are providing

Ultimately determine the best set of initiatives to execute the following quarter

Continuously create new value and advance the relationship

So why conduct this most important meeting?…well here are just a few essential reasons:

• Because first and foremost, you are in the customer business

• You understand how difficult it is to acquire a customer

• You understand that reducing churn/client retention leads to strong lifetime value of that customer

• You understand that your greatest source of growth, share of wallet and referrals stem from these meetings

At Butler Street, we help companies and their people grow® in a variety of ways. Key Account Management training, together with our proprietary and innovative ClientFit® solution, is just one of those methods. Contact us to discuss the tools and processes to help retain and grow your most important clients.

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