I was delighted to be asked by Liquid Learning to speak and provide an expert commentary at the second Annual Women in Sales Leadership Summit this April. The theme of this year’s summit was visions of success and there was a fantastic line up of successful sales women and men, who shared case studies on their own personal visions for success, how they achieved their vision and offered advice and insights for those in the room on how they could turn their own visions into reality. A brilliant two days where I took copious notes and came away re-energised and focused.
At the summit, I spoke about successful account management; why it’s important to focus on client retention and more importantly client loyalty, what makes a great account manager, the importance of selling ongoing value, and some of the skills and techniques account managers need to be effective.
I’ve broken out the key themes from my session into bite size pieces, and over the next few weeks will share these is some short practical posts. Starting today with why good account management matters.
So why focus on the clients you’ve already won, when there are potential new clients out there to win over? Increasing your client base is crucial, however are you also focused on the additional value your existing clients can bring?
There are plenty of statistics to be found on the web citing how it is more expensive to win new clients than retain existing ones, and how existing clients tend to buy more over time. The figures will vary depending on industry, market forces, country conditions and so on, however the essence of all the stats are the same, people tend to prefer to buy from people they already know and trust, and will often pay a premium to do so, rather than change to a competitor they’re not so familiar with.
However, these statistics only ring true if you are realising the full value of your clients. Are they buying everything you have to offer? Are they the most valuable clients you can have?
In sales, the buying stages are often focused on the phases from the time a lead is first identified (a suspect) through (hopefully) to buyer, however the potential for sales continues after that initial win, the full value of which correlates directly with their position in the client loyalty cycle. Are you actively focused on the buying stages after the initial win, the client, rather than the prospect, buying stages, from buyer to advocate client?
An advocate client is sales gold, not only do they purchase everything of value that you have, but they are also an extension of your sales and marketing team, promoting your value to others, and I believe the account manager’s role is paramount in building advocate clients.
Next week I’ll post about effective account management, the characteristics of a great account manager and the first of the key skills – active listening.
If you would like to discuss how your account management team can be more effective, become trusted advisors and retain more clients, please contact me to arrange a time to chat.