The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, suggests that 80% of your company sales come from 20% of your customers. These key account customers want more than a vendor; they want a trusted business partner they can count on. Therefore, it is critical to delivering exceptional service so you don’t lose your top clients to your competition.
5 Tips for Key Account Management:
#1 Know your client and their business
Each client has a unique culture and set of values within their organization. It’s important for key account managers to understand what makes their client’s tick and be a positive extension of their team. These larger accounts typically have multiple divisions and decision makers. It’s crucial to stay up to date with the org chart.
It’s also important to know the space your client is in and be familiar with industry trends. Bring these insights to your clients to provide value and show credibility.
#2 Think Past, Present, and Future
Debrief with your key accounts to reflect on past projects. Discuss what went well and also what could be improved moving forward. With current projects, clear and consistent communication is important to drive progress. Always ask what’s coming up in the next 3-6 months so your team can allocate resources properly.
#3 Build long term relationships to keep the competition out
You can’t just rely on your good product or service to keep your customers coming back for more. This means that you must establish and grow long-term relationships with your key accounts, usually by adding value to the relationship over time. Build trust by communicating when things are going well and also when things aren’t.
#4 Ask for introductions
We trust the opinions of our close connections. When those connections vouch on our behalf, we’re much more likely to get our foot in the door. Warm introductions (referrals) convert at a 3-5x higher rate and boast a 16% higher life-time value than non-referred customers. Don’t forget to ask who else in the organization could use your help. Here are some tips on how to ask effectively.
#5 Be proactive
Excellent servers in restaurants refill your water glass before being asked to do so. Be proactive with your customers to anticipate their needs. Think about what worked with similar clients or market trends that could impact their business.
Bonus tip: Remember you are a liaison
As the key account manager, you are the primary point of contact between your clients and your business. Key account managers need to listen closely, translate the client’s needs to the relevant people within their organization, and make sure the client’s requests are handled in an efficient and timely manner.