It is 6 to 7 times harder to convert a new customer than to sell to an existing one. This is exactly why Key Account Management is one of the most important aspects of the sales process and an integral facet of every single business.
Being a successful account manager means more than knowing your customers, being proactive and quickly responding to queries. While ultimately, your goal is to secure repeat orders, maximise revenue streams and keep your customers happy, there is a very fine line between a good account manager and a great account manager.
Wrong. All of your customers are important, there is no doubting that. But not necessarily equal. You need to know who your key customers are and know your Pareto split. That is the 20% of your customer base that generates 80% of your business. Of course, you should be focusing more of your time on your most profitable customers.
You’re In The Know…
As an account manager for your company, you are the expert; you know your product or service better than anyone. It is essential that your customers view you as such, even as an extension of their operation. Being an account manager is not just solving customer issues; it is adding value at every available opportunity. Share your knowledge, impart your wisdom and educate your customer. Tell them about any new products that are coming soon, relevant business stats, what your other customers are doing not only will you be adding value but also raising your profile and setting their mind at rest when it comes to re-ordering from you.
If your customer is only buying a small amount of your entire product range, chances are, they are getting the rest from your competition. If you only sell 1 product, becoming sticky can be difficult unless you become more valuable to the customer than the £ they spend with you. Adding value where you can, becoming more than the product you sell will make replacing you as a supplier very tough.
Let’s digress for a moment. Imagine you had a great business idea. You set your heart on it and pour in blood, sweat and tears to start your own business. You work 70-hour weeks, seeing 10 customers a day and constantly talk about YOUR business, YOUR products. Be it developments, upcoming products or even key features, your business will be your baby.
As an account manager, why should this be any different? You can build relationships with your customer, but do you ever really ‘talk business’? Don’t become another disposable cog in the customer machine. Simply talking business can set you apart from your competitors and your customers will respect you for it.
Turn ‘Management’ into ‘Leadership’
Although we talk about ‘managing’ our key accounts, we need to think clearly about how we can start leading these accounts in a direction that will allow them to be successful in the face of all the chaotic and volatile business environments we all face. Here are some further key account management strategies to help.
By ‘leading’, I’m referring to helping and aiding our key accounts to become more successful with us than without us. Leading has the connotation of going forward, future-focussed and solving problems.
If we create more opportunities for our key accounts to be successful in their own enterprises, we open up more opportunities for business and build stronger relationships with them, so that they see us an indispensable asset to their business.
By leading and managing our key accounts, we offer a much bigger differential than other companies, hence offering greater value and reasons to stay with us. You can discover more on what successful account managers do on a daily basis.
These ideas will help us build longer-term relationships with our key accounts and become the ‘company of choice’ for them for longer periods.
Would you like to learn more? Why not attend our Account Management Training? Held throughout the year at various locations across the UK, this 1 day course provides you with the right behaviours & techniques to increase the profitability of the accounts you manage.