Every company has their favourite customers their top revenue accounts. Often, they may have been with the firm for a number of years, they like you and see value in the work you do. That’s why it’s so easy to fall into the trap of complacency.
A frequent mistake that must be avoided is to let one person be the sole contact responsible for interacting with the client. Often large accounts are lost simply because either the key salesperson at your company moves on or their customer contact leaves. Either way you’re left you out in the cold with no real relationship in place.
This often happens over time when company’s rely on repeat orders and the enthusiasm at the outset of willing the client fades away.
Never forget your best customers are regularly called on by various competitors and their increased level of personal attention might cost you the account.
How can an organisation become truly client driven and focused?
Firstly, a change in mindset is required. Existing clients should never be seen as ‘so and so’s’ customer. They are everyone’s customer and subsequently, everyone’s responsibility. This attitude must be exemplified by top management.
As shown in the above diagram a customer driven company has engagement with their customers across all levels of the company.
How can you achieve this type of connection?
It won’t happen but chance, you need to formalise the engagement process.
- Create a matrix with the various people and positions inside your company. Then match them with the corresponding people and roles inside your customer’s organization.
- Create alignment across all levels of the business throughout the different departments.
- Include in your matrix some activities and the frequency of engagement required by each member of the team. For example, your M.D could arrange to dine with your customer’s senior management once a quarter to discuss overall strategy and joint objectives.
Your key account salesperson, marketing team, customer service team and accounts department can all have their own activities and touch points throughout the year.
- Encouraging visits and virtual meetings with their corresponding contact builds stronger working relationships. It’s a lot easier for someone to give poor customer service to someone they’ve never met of the end of the phone. Than to someone they know well and speak to regularly.
- This lattice of overlapping and crossing connections ties you strongly into the account with multiple relationships being formed.
- This process allows your company to deliver outstanding value in many different ways that goes way beyond just the product or service you sell. Making the decision to move away from you to a competitor that much harder to make.
- The final part of this puzzle is to make the completion of these ‘client matrix activities’ highly visible to all. Everyone needs to commit to engage with their opposite number and senior management must encourage these relationships and regularly review progress throughout the year to ensure you’re keep adding value at every stage.
You might think this sounds like quite a bit of work and organisation. And you’d be right. But what’s the alternative?
I’d like to make the case that any investment you make in this area will pay hansom dividends compared with the pain and cost of losing a major account!
Dedicated to Your Continued Sales Success!