You’re probably familiar with the Pareto principle — the idea that 80 percent of your sales come from just 20 percent of current customers. Identifying that 20 percent — and devising a plan to keep them — is critical.
To identify your best customers and boost customer retention, you need an account management strategy. Landing a one-time customer is not enough. You must have a plan to keep the customers you have and continue growing customer relationships that benefit your business.
We’ll explore essential tips for developing a successful account management strategy and share account management strategy best practices.
Returning customers spend significantly more than new customers. Consider returning revenue options to make customers’ lives easier and increase sales effortlessly.
Tips for successful account management
Here are three straightforward ways to develop an effective account management strategy in your organization.
1. Cultivate customer relationships in your account management strategy.
A successful account management strategy focuses on building relationships with your most important customers. Relationship-building means investing time and effort into each client. Instead of looking at what you can gain from their account, consider how you can contribute to their success.
You can cultivate customer relationships by regularly checking in with your clients and scheduling one-on-one meetings. Ensure there’s a seamless customer onboarding strategy in place so your clients start off on the right foot with your company.
Ensure the client knows they have a liaison to contact if any issues arise. If you set them up with a dedicated account manager they’re comfortable with to address customer service concerns, you can quickly resolve any problems before they turn into major issues.
To ensure your clients receive consistently excellent customer service, treat them as a vital business asset, strive to give them an unforgettable experience, and learn to apologize when mistakes are made.
2. Become a consultant as you manage customer accounts.
During the sales process, you established yourself as an advisor and consultant for the client. After the sale, you don’t want your client to see you as just another sales team member. Your relationship with them is not about upselling and cross-selling at this point. As an account manager, you should act as a trusted advisor, always looking for solutions that will benefit the client.
One way to establish yourself as a consultant with your client’s best interests at heart is to recommend solutions even if they’re not directly related to your business’s products or services. For example, let your client know about an upcoming industry trade show you think they could benefit from. Share information about an ancillary service that could improve their operations.
Finding ways for your clients to thrive establishes your status as a trusted advisor they can count on.
3. Show clients you care as you manage their accounts.
The best way to build customer loyalty and solid, long-term accounts is to let your clients know you care about them and their business. To show you care about their success, look past commissions and understand that your job is to help.
Helping your clients means trying to upsell or cross-sell only if you have additional products and services that align with their business goals and objectives. Never try to upsell a client until you’ve done the groundwork and built trust.
What works for one client may not work for another, so personalizing your approach is crucial. Look for ways to anticipate what your clients will need in the future and prepare to address their needs before they happen.
Build a customer loyalty program with worthwhile rewards to drive profits and improve customer retention.
Importance of an account management strategy
An account management strategy involves managing and growing your company’s relationships with its most valuable and essential clients. Business-to-business (B2B) organizations typically prioritize an account management strategy.
A successful account management strategy benefits your business and clients in the following ways:
- Strengthens bonds between your business and its customers
- Reduces customer churn
- Builds customer loyalty
- Grows the company’s revenue by developing new products and services to serve your clients
- Focuses sales resources on the most valuable clients
- Increases your businesses growth potential as it nurtures large clients
- Boost customer satisfaction as their needs are met
- Increases a business’s odds of getting referrals from current clients
An account management strategy starts by identifying your most valuable clients and determining the approaches that work best for them. Pinpoint the team members that can best serve the account’s needs and goals. The end goal is to create long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial.
Use effective customer tracking methods to understand your churn rate — the rate at which customers stop buying from you — and evaluate your account management strategy.
Account management strategy best practices
Account management strategy is a multifaceted process. What works for one client may not work for another, so personalization and flexibility are key.
Here are some essential account management strategy best practices:
- Identify your most important clients. The first step in building an account management strategy is to develop a system of identifying your most important clients with the highest customer lifetime value. Start by evaluating which accounts bring in the most revenue. If losing a client would put a dent in your sales figures, prioritize that account. You might also want to elevate clients with high future income potential to VIP status.
- Choose an account manager. Once you know which clients are most essential to your company, you must choose who manages their accounts. The account manager you select will significantly affect whether clients keep using your business. The account manager must have a strategy that appeals to the specific client. For example, some clients may be put off by aggressive sales tactics that come off as badgering. The account manager should have the soft skills to communicate effectively. They should assess the client’s current and future needs and suggest relevant products and services. And it’s essential to avoid shuffling accounts from person to person. You want the account manager to build a rapport with each prioritized client as they communicate over time.
- Find ways to add value for your client. Above all else, account managers should always be on the lookout for solutions that will bring more value to their top clients. The goal isn’t just to make another sale. Your account management strategy should include constantly seeking ways to help each client meet their business goals.
- Evaluate account managers’ performance. Measure each account manager’s performance to make sure they’re doing all they can. Track their win rates, pricing and contract values. Check in with their customers to ensure their needs are being met.
- Use CRM software to help manage customer relationships. CRM software is an excellent way to help businesses build and manage solid client relationships. Finding the right CRM software lets you automate specific tasks, such as sending out regular reports and managing the client lifecycle. Check out our reviews of the best CRM software to evaluate which solution would best fit your needs.