Good relationships are the foundation of good business. It is not easy to nurture and maintain relationships, especially in a business where there is intense competition for clients and loyalty is difficult to win. How can you be competitive? account management.
Account managers are crucial to maintaining strong client relationships as well as a healthy bottom line. We will discuss the roles and responsibilities that account managers have and how they can contribute to the success and growth of their clients.
What is account management?
Definition of account management, Account management is a role in post-sales that focuses on maintaining client relationships. Account managers are responsible for two main objectives: to retain clients’ businesses and to grow those opportunities. These objectives are achieved by helping clients reach their goals and learning about their clients’ needs.
The account manager is not a traditional sales position that is focused on landing clients. Instead, they act as a long-term liaison for the client and hopefully a trusted advisor.
Also, sales transactional and sales account management relational.
The account manager will be able to answer clients’ questions and solve their problems, ideally using customized products or services. This will help them build a long-term strategic partnership that goes beyond the initial sale.
The account manager is also responsible for:
- Upsells and cross-sells can help you grow your original business partnership.
- Management of client sales and customer relations.
- Maintaining long-term relationships with clients through contract renewals
Account management is essentially about delighting customers.
Account manager vs. account executive
Account management services are divided into two main titles: account manager and account executive. Each role is essential for any company or firm.
You will however find that the scope and definition of each role can vary from one organization to another. In some cases, two roles can overlap or be performed by the same person. This is partly due to the lack of standardization in job titles and the different needs of each business.
Nevertheless, the roles will be distinguished as follows:
Account executives: work at the front of client and business development. They are responsible for prospecting and cultivating leads. Account executives are sometimes called “the hunters” because they go out looking for new business opportunities and convert them into clients.
The account executive may win the business but not the client. They introduce the client to the account manager after closing the deal. The account manager then maintains the client relationship.
Account managers: Account managers are often referred to as “the farmers”. They work with clients to establish a positive relationships and foster long-term growth.
The account manager acts as the point of contact for assigned accounts (i.e. clients) and the liaison between clients and sales and customer service. This is a role that emphasizes communication and relationships.
The ideal situation is for the same account manager to stay with a client account throughout the client’s tenure with the company. They might represent C-level clients or mid-management depending on the contract. The account manager handles all communications, relationships, and presentations.
Importance of customer account management
Long-term success in business today depends on providing positive customer experiences. Customer retention is more important than new clients.
Long-term customers are more likely to purchase from your company in the long term and to refer others to your business. This reduces operating costs such as prospecting and lead nurturing. A 5% increase in customer retention leads to a 25% increase in profits in the financial sector. This trend is seen across all industries.
A strong account management team is essential for companies that want to increase client retention.
Account managers become the primary point of contact for clients once the sales team has won a client. Account managers are crucial in resolving client conflicts, smoothing customer support and sales and account management communications, and understanding your client’s goals and pain points to provide the best service.
Account managers are the champions of clients within the company and have the greatest impact on the client’s experience with your business.
Effective account management is crucial when 89% of customers start a business with a competitor after a bad customer experience.
Supporting customer retention efforts
Account managers are the first point of contact with clients and can help you develop customer retention strategies. Account managers, who act as the client champion, and liaison, are uniquely placed to ensure that your business’s communications with and about clients are consistent across all teams.
Communicate frequently and manage expectations
Communication is the key to a successful client experience. Account managers prevent communication breakdowns and make sure clients get the information they need. This responsibility is fulfilled by setting clear expectations and communicating regularly with clients about strategies, goals, and successes (e.g. KPIs, ROI metrics) and resolving any conflicts or issues in a timely fashion.
Encourage positive relationships with all members of the team
The relationship with the company may be at stake if the client’s only contact is the account manager.
The account manager should include other members of client support (e.g. sales, marketing, etc.) in order to facilitate a smoother handoff and strengthen client-company ties. In the relationship.
The account manager could bring a sales representative to a client meeting and give credit to others team members when reporting on project successes. A newsletter or email update might also include information about team members.
To keep sales teams on the same page, and maintain client account management information in case the account manager leaves, you can use a map of accounts. Account maps show the political landscape of a company. They highlight champions, blockers, and other stakeholders that you need to close deals or grow accounts.
As these visuals allow for smooth handoffs between account executives and account managers, client account managers can see quickly what was sold, the client’s objectives, and any information that has been shared. Account managers should keep updating the account map with information as they build relationships throughout the customer’s lifecycle.
Create a client success roadmap
Account managers should be responsible for client success by developing or managing a clear customer journey. A client roadmap can help ensure consistency in messaging and communication, clear scheduling, and team members are on the same page at every step of the client experience.
Account managers can simplify the client success process by mapping the onboarding process, management workflows, communication calendar, and the communication calendar.
This powerful sales strategy can be used before and after closing a deal. It will persuade clients and encourage future upselling.