As the day-to-day point of contact with clients, account managers are tasked with supporting and nurturing your company’s most important relationships. Building those relationships takes time, patience, and like all facets of life, the more you work at it, the better the results will be. Here are my top five tools and tricks to sharpen your account management skills.
- Do your homework – Whenever I am told I may be put on a new account, the first thing I do is as much research as humanly possibly on the company and their competitors. Visit their existing website. Read their vision statement, their values, goals, why they exist. Your potential (or existing) client will be looking to you for your expertise and how it can specifically help their business. If you don’t understand their business, then how can you be the strategic partner they will need to accomplish their goals?
- Build the relationship – While landing a new client takes work, maintaining and building the relationship takes even more. Take the time to personalize your service. For example, instead of communicating back and forth with emails, opt for a phone call. The back and forth associated with emails can become frustrating and lack the personalized touch a good account manager needs to have. Often times, you will be able to answer additional questions the client may have, be privy to other potential opportunities, and just continue to build the rapport with your client.
- Be honest, be fair, be upfront – While exploring your clients’ needs, you may find additional opportunities to improve their products and processes. Providing efficient, effective and sound recommendations is key to gaining trust and growing your business with clients. Being a strategic partner means having their bottom line in mind. Period.
- Work on your communication skills – Listen, listen, listen – then speak. You will be the go-to person for all client requests. You are also the representative for your company for any communication that goes back to the client. Drink from the fire hose as best you can; the more information you have from all parties, the better. Your internal team will want as much information as possible. Conversely, clients will primarily want just the key updates that impact their bottom line or timetable.
- Look at the results – Any successful account manager knows how the KPIs are performing for a specific client. While you don’t need to be an analytics guru, your goal is to help the client drive results and make recommendations based off those results. Stay as knowledgeable as you can by frequently reviewing any metrics, stats, and analytics and making recommendations accordingly.
Account managers nurture and maintain your company's most valuable business relationships. Following these five guidelines is a good step toward becoming more than a goodwill ambassador for your brand. You will also become a valued strategic partner on key accounts, helping to ensure your client's ongoing satisfaction and success.