Being able to effectively manage key accounts can be the difference between average performance and moving to the top of your industry ladder. When you’ve developed a successful process for identifying key accounts, securing their businesses and then nurturing strong ongoing relationships to these high revenue customers you can create a resilient position for yourself within any organisation. If that’s your goal then these are our top tips for managing key accounts in your business today.
● Be specific about how you define a key account. It’s essential to avoid a situation in which every account becomes a key account and to do that you need to have specific standards in place. The simplest way to define these standards is using the business objectives of the company. Look at the business’ goals and values and also at how each account could play a role in helping the organisation to accomplish its goals. Those with the biggest strategic value (which often equates to financial value) should be key accounts.
● Create a key account strategy. This is a consistent approach that you’ll apply to every client that you define as a key account. There are a number of benefits to doing this, including ensuring that you’re delivering the same level of commitment across the board and also when it comes to passing on your strategy to the rest of your team.
● Establish your key metrics. In order to identify whether your strategy is working you’ll need to be able to measure your progress. Some of the most common metrics in sales include sales volume, satisfaction rating and turnaround time.
● Start small. You need to make sure that you have sufficient time and resources to dedicate to key accounts to make sure that attention pays off. So, the best way to start out in key account management is to implement your strategy with just a small number of clients. If you start too big then you may become quickly overwhelmed and your strategy could fail.
● Dedicate time and attention to your key accounts. For any key account strategy to work it needs to be grounded in a genuine interest in that customer’s business and their ongoing interests. One way to demonstrate this is by putting time and effort into regular communication with customers, frequently checking in with key accounts as well as looking for opportunities for serving and monitoring.
● Focus on solutions rather than selling. Those customers who make it into the key accounts category are likely to be pretty experienced so require a much more sophisticated approach. Instead of being persuaded by products and features these clients are more likely to be looking for solutions. Tailoring interactions around the problems and pain points that customers have - and the solutions you can offer - will be essential.
● Stay on the ball. Retaining key accounts means continuing to invest in yourself so that you’re always the very best that you can be when it comes to your role and interacting with customers. Continuously improve what you do and how you do it and you’ll be able to attract the best key accounts to your business.
Sales is an incredibly competitive industry but if you’ve got the right strategy and skills to handle key account management then you’re one step ahead. Find out more by booking onto our Managing Major Accounts training course...