One of the most important things for a company is the relationship with its customers. To take care of it, companies need special employees that know how to talk to customers and how to convince them their products are the best. For this, they need an account management strategy, also called key account management.

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What does account management mean?

Account management represents sales management, and the management of customer relationships. The account manager is responsible with maintain a good relationship between the company and a series of customers, but they don’t deal with the account itself.

Account management doesn’t deal with sales directly either. In fact, an account manager stays somewhere between the customer service team and the sales department. They listen to the needs of the customers, and make sure the sales team will fulfill it. Therefore, the final purpose of such a manager is to produce as many sales as possible.

Account management strategy

An account management strategy, or key account management, deals with those strategies needed to build a strong customer relationship. The aim of this strategy is to bring benefits both to the company and to the customers. This way, the two entities will become dependent on each other, and will lead a strong relationship based on trust.

Why is account management strategy important?

Building an account management strategy isn’t always that easy. Customers have different needs, and each of them might need a different approach. Moreover, the account manager has to make sure all customers receive all the necessary attention, so that they can maintain the good relationship.

For everything to go smoothly, the account manager should develop a plan. This way, they can make sure they stay organized, and it would be almost impossible to leave something behind. It’s important to pay attention to every customer, so developing an account management strategy plan is vital.

Skills necessary in account management strategy

Keeping a good relationship with customers requires some skills. Therefore, any good key account manager needs a series of qualities to apply when talking to the customers. Instead of seeking merely profit and an immediate sale, these managers are more like some kind of mentors and advisors for the customers.

Their job isn’t always easy, as they can face some difficulties pretty often. Therefore, they need to be good problem solvers and find a solution in any kind of situation. Of course, for this, as well as any other kind of customer interaction, they need strong communication skills.

Since they are the leaders, they should be able to lead a team, but also devise the entire strategy. A good financial and organizational knowledge is also mandatory.

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How to develop an account management strategy plan

Any new customer needs a thorough plan before starting any kind of relationship. You can follow a few steps to get to know your customer, and then find the right strategy you have to apply. At first, you should start with making a small portfolio for the customer.

1.      Draw the customer’s profile

This will help you to get to know the customer. Put up a list of everything you know about them, and use it as a guide throughout all your interactions. You don’t need to find out absolutely everything about this customer, only what you need if you want the interactions to work.

2.      Make the customer trust you

This step is extremely important. You should prove to the customer your company is worth their trust, and show them the intentions are really serious. One good way to convince them might be by showing them your past achievements.

3.      Identify their needs

After a discussion with the customer, you can find out what their needs are. Based on what you discover, you can set a series of targets you need to work with and achieve to build a strong relationship. Once you’re done with these three steps, you can start planning the strategy.

4.      Find the value of the customer

Before settling on a plan, you should see how important this customer actually is. This way, you will know what you get if you improve your relationship and convince them to buy your products.

5.      Set some objectives

However, sales shouldn’t be your only goal. Find some objectives you should follow both for this particular customer and for any other collaborations you might have. This way, you will know which common points should all strategies have.

6.      Act

Once you’ve taken care of all these steps, it’s time to give a final form to your strategy. Draw the plan carefully, with steps you need to follow to achieve your ultimate goals. In the end, you should see how the manager-customer relationship has improved, and all the customer needs have been thoroughly considered.

Account management strategy principles

The main purpose of account management strategy is to make customers happy and fulfill their needs. However, managers also have a series of other things in mind. They want to look at the customer as a whole, and understand all aspects that concern them.

This way, they can be sure they have understood them. After the understanding comes the strong relationship. Customers will give you trust once they see you care about them. If you can grasp their needs, you can win their trust as well.

Then, account managers maintain a proactive attitude, and are always there for the customers. An important part of account management strategy is reliability and a predilection to think about the future.

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Summing up

Account management strategy is an important part of all companies that perform sales. Knowing how to win the trust of your customers is the key to a successful business, as well as always fulfilling their needs.

Good communication skills, as well as problem solving, are great features an account manager should have. This way, the customer can trust the company and its services, and is likely to return. For this to happen, a thorough account management strategy is more than necessary.

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