- An account management strategy dictates how you handle the top accounts within your company. Prioritizing these accounts keeps your business on track.
- Choose account managers based on their repertoire with clients. Each top client may have different personality preferences.
- An account management strategy can be broken down into three steps: cultivate, consult and care. Following these guidelines helps you achieve best practices within your team.
Importance of an account management strategy
According to Lucidchart, an account management strategy involves managing and growing your company’s most important accounts. This means identifying your top clients and the approaches that work best for them. The end goal is to cement long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial. Both your clients’ and your company’s goals are met when an account management strategy is effective. Brainstorm what type of strategy to use on each top client and what team members should be involved in the sales pipeline. An account management strategy will involve developing best practices on handling key clients.
Account management strategy best practices
Account management strategy is a multifaceted process. What works for one client may not work for another. However, in all cases, you will need to develop a system to identify your most important clients. The typical manner to do this is to evaluate the accounts that bring in the most revenue. If losing a client would put a dent in your sales figures, then you should prioritize their account. Clients with high future potential could also be elevated to VIP status.
Once you know which clients are the VIPs for your company, you need to choose who manages their accounts. The account manager you choose will make a huge difference in whether clients keep using your business. The account manager needs to have a strategy that appeals to the specific client. For instance, some clients may be put off by aggressive tactics that come off as badgering. The manager should have the skill to assess the client’s current and future needs and suggest relevant products and services. Avoid shuffling accounts from person to person if possible. You want the account manager to build a rapport with each prioritized client as they communicate over time.
Best account management practices should always include suggesting something of value to your top clients. Consistently, the account manager should be on the lookout for solutions to help out the client. Your primary goal should not be simply to close a sale by any means possible. Performance needs to be measured for all members of an account management strategy team. Within the metrics, you should be able to evaluate team members’ win rates, pricing and contract values.
Salespeople often forget that in most selling professions, when you close the sale, you open the account. When you open the account, you begin the process of building the account. Here are three simple tips to remember for effective account management.
You must build on the relationship by planting. When you cultivate the soil of your customer relationship, you invest time, effort and good seeds. For more growth, you fertilize the ground and keep it nourished with water. To cultivate, you have to feed the growing entity.
The account manager is often interested only in what they can get from the account, instead of what they can contribute to the account. However, you must invest and feed first. Be available; be of service. Provide additional help or become a liaison to other services. Make your clients aware that they can call you for other things aside from what you sell. Ask yourself, how often do you contact the account when you are not trying to sell them something?
During the sales process, hopefully you were able to establish yourself as an advisor, a consultant for the client. You need to elevate your image far above that of the typical salesperson to that of a solutions provider and trusted advisor. Continue to advise your clients even on issues that do not directly concern your product line. Be an industry expert, contacting and advising your clients and keeping them informed. Here is an example:
“Hi there, Steve. I’m not sure if you are aware of the industry trade fair next month, but one of the breakout sessions is about enterprisewide accounting systems. I think it might be a good idea to send a few of your people. Let me know if you’re interested and I can get you a couple of free tickets.”
The best way to build customer loyalty and strong accounts is to let your clients know that you care about them or their business, and the best way to accomplish that is to actually care.
To become a true sales professional, you have to get to the point where you look past the commissions and understand that your job is to help. Does that mean it’s wrong to desire wealth and the incredible financial rewards that are possible in the field of selling? Of course not. Just remember, though, that getting more of what you want and need is the result of helping others get more of what they want and need.