Today’s ramble is all about Account Management and best practices for building your Account Management practice. Account Management is one of the key areas of your business that will have a monumental impact on the bottom line of your business over time. A good Account Management practice will strengthen your relationships with your clients. Neglect this at your own company’s peril.
Account Management can serve two purposes:
- Provide customer service updates and continue to build/develop the relationship.
- Be a source of additional revenue by developing and selling projects to continue on a technology roadmap.
There are more ways to slice it, but I believe that this is one of the best ways to structure your Account Management program.
Note that this version of Account Management is not a Technical Account Manager where they help run projects and perform any technical work. That said, there are so many names and acronyms for this it’s easy to confuse one for another.
Basically, you want to use your Account Managers to help with the top level of customer service AND sell the full stack along with any applicable projects to your clients. You want your clients to buy all of the services you offer them.
So, how does an AM deliver on this dual effort? The first way is to make sure that they build relationships with multiple levels at each of their assigned clients. They MUST have an owner/executive level relationship along with a day-to-day relationship. In many companies this is a relationship with the Office Manager or IT Liaison and the Owner/CEO of the company.
The key here is that each of those roles are looking for something different from their AM. The day-to-day contact wants to talk about the issues of the moment and maybe a little bit of the future. The CEO/Owner wants to know how IT is minimizing the risk to their business, and how IT can help generate more revenue for the business.
One of the best ways to manage this dual effort is to have regular business/technology review meetings. The key here is to tailor the content to the desired audience. If you want the CEO/Owner to attend, you need to talk about minimizing risk, helping them grow their business through the use of technology, and the high level strategic discussions. Most CEO/Owners couldn’t care less about ticket reports, CSATs, and anything that would land in the tactical/day-to-day realm.
The key to getting the CEO/Owner to attend these meetings is to make sure that they understand that you are front-loading the strategic content so their time will be put to good use. If you cover the items they’re interested early you can transition to more tactical content which allows them to eject from the meeting when appropriate for them.
After you’ve talked about those strategic topics shift into the more tactical items and let the CEO/Owner know that they are welcome to stick around but if they need to leave that they certainly can.
Account Management is a large topic that will require many rambles to fully cover, so thanks for coming on this ramble with me and I hope to see you on a future one.