Verizon had about 5.86 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2016. Adobe Creative Cloud had 15 million subscribers. McCann is one of the giants in the advertising world, and its clients include other giants, like Coca Cola, Microsoft, and GM. These are three distinct products and services landscapes. Yet, they share a critical process that impacts not only the financial bottom line but also their reputation and status within their industries.
That process is called account management. While account management falls under the umbrella of sales work, its primary goal is to nurture relationships and keep subscribers and customers in the fold. Imagine if Coca Cola or GM drops McCann as its advertising agency or if Verizon and Adobe lose a million subscribers each?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a supplier of roofing parts for a construction company or a real estate firm like The Madrigal Team Gold with a gold-standard home-selling process. If you want to continue growing your business, you need to retain your customers.
Here are a few things to note about account management as a critical strategy in growing your business:
About Account Management
Even with great work and positive results, you can still lose a client if there are lapses in communication. Sales work focuses on bringing in new customers. Account management is part of post-sales work, and the goal is to nurture relationships. Nurturing means keeping the client happy and exploring new business opportunities with the client (up-selling).
So how do you do the nurturing? A regularly scheduled phone call to provide updates about your services or to ask if they have questions about your product will go a long way in building relationships. Inviting them for coffee to have this discussion, provided it’s within the limits of their company policy, will even be better than a phone call.
- Equal attention. You’re juggling five or ten accounts. Some of them are difficult to work with, and some of them are your favorites. You can’t put your attention only on your preferences. Plan your schedule on when you need to touch base with each of your clients. While some might not be reaching out to you, it doesn’t mean that they don’t need you. Be organized in managing the content of your meetings. They will have different needs. Make sure that you address them properly.
- Dependability and reliability. Romantic relationships do not have a monopoly on trust as a critical ingredient. Your client needs must trust you about your commitment to delivering, for example, on a schedule or a service. If you’ve worked out in your head that the request is impossible to achieve, don’t make promises. You’re just likely to break them. Continue the discussion and explore realistic and workable alternatives.
- Remain an expert. Reaching out is part of the liaison work. But don’t forget that in the relationship, you still need to solve problems or critical business issues. Make sure that you let them know that you can also be depended on the substantive aspect of the relationship. You need to know their business and understand the changes in the industry. The more that you make them see that you have in-depth knowledge of their business, the more you strengthen that trust.
These are just some strategies you can apply in managing and handling your existing customers. But they will undoubtedly help you keep them in the long term.