In order to avoid losing accounts, your team must be cemented into them. This requires proactive account management.
In today’s economy, lots of people and companies are looking to cut costs. And, unless your team is proactive about account management, they might become victims of such measures.
Successful account management allows your team to keep — and grow — the customer relationships they have. Unfortunately, it requires a different set of skills than winning business on the front end. However, successful account management can be accomplished if your team agrees to a few basic things.
Successful account managers do things like…
- Consistently reach out to current customers after they’ve bought to provide additional value;
- Develop nurturing campaigns that solidify your top-notch customer service;
- Offer a high level of follow-through and support;
- Maintain awareness of what’s happening in their clients’ lives or businesses;
- Position themselves as trusted business advisors, not simply as vendors; and
- Promise a lot and deliver more.
Because that which is measured gets done, it’s critical that you hold your team accountable for these types of activities.
Account management is certainly about service. It’s important for your team to deliver high-quality customer service without any additional expectation on the part of your customer – after all, that’s one of the reasons they bought from your team. However, true sales professionals understand that any customer interaction is also about looking for additional sales opportunities with current customers.
The payoff from successful account management often takes time. Here at The Brooks Group, we work with one client who sells complex software licenses to businesses. Typically, the licenses are for one year, which means that a full year passes between buying opportunities. There is literally nothing to sell for about eleven months. However, that does not mean the provider sells the license, passes the account to the customer service department, and moves on. Instead, the salespeople understand the essential role of remaining an active and important part of their clients’ businesses. They provide value throughout the year to cement themselves into the accounts. They are in touch with clients and offer ideas and suggestions about how to use the software and how to run their businesses more profitably. When it comes time for a license renewal, there’s no question about continuing such a valuable relationship.
To find out whether members of your team are providing valuable account management to their clients, ask questions like these:
- What business challenges is XYZ facing and how are they coping with them? What are you doing to help them with those challenges?
- When was the last time you spoke with someone at ABC?
Simple questions about the challenges and opportunities facing their clients emphasize to your team the importance of remaining in close touch with current accounts. It’s vital that you hold your team accountable for these valuable account management functions.
When your team provides value to their clients, even after they’ve bought, they will be trusted and valued resources whom their clients will keep. That’s how to avoid losing accounts, even in today’s tough selling environment.