We’ve worked with global companies embedding account management frameworks and these companies continue to be successful. What drives that success?
The account team shares results each quarter with the rest of the organisation and this drives their external success. At an executive level, at every C-Suite meeting, there is discussion around the organisations top 10 – 20 clients.
Results drive a different conversation, changing the focus to: value, relationships, long-term planning and how to keep growing share of wallet.
Many factors create success and best-in-class results, but I want to focus on ‘engagement’.
In our bestselling book, Managing B2B customers you can’t afford to lose written with Gary Peacock we focus on how to engage key stakeholders inside the organisation. Chapter 3, Implementing Strategic Account Management shows how to start a change process and implement a strategic account management framework and more importantly how to keep it alive.
To ensure success, a C-Suite executive must sponsor the program and be active in some of the top 10 – 20 accounts. The C-Suite executive then becomes an internal champion for change.
Our practical approach to making this happen is to have account planning meetings every 90 days focusing on top accounts and what has been achieved. Key people from across the organisation need to attend these 90-day meetings. Schedule the account review meetings for the top 10 – 20 accounts 12 months ahead, so people can ensure they attend.
People who attend 90-day review meetings remark how much more they could do for this account.
I attended a recent review meeting with a senior manager from Accounts Receivables. He discovered the top 20 accounts were 93% of their revenue and the rest of 423 accounts were 7%.
He immediately asked for the biggest account’s account manager to present to his team next week. Thankfully the C-Suite executive also agreed to be present.
The meeting was excellent; the account receivables team quickly set up a mini-project team to meet and report in two weeks. The action steps from that meeting were impressive and implemented within 30 days. One action step was joint planning with the top account, which proved a great success.
Finally, the senior manager from Accounts Receivables presented to the C-Suite and recommended changes, which were all implemented immediately across the organisation.
Change needs commitment, and commitment needs a ‘why?’ The strategic account management framework provides results to show the ‘why?’ Engagement across the organisation means that change happens fast, change for external accounts and their customer experience. So, review your account management practices to ensure you are producing results for your customers and your organisation.