The Art of Client Management
Perceiving the client as a partner as opposed to a business associate sets out the foundations of an effective and enduring relationship. Being able to discard the limitations of a synthetic view point and incorporate a high degree of creativity into the process of communication with the client provides a solid base from which to forge a long lasting partnership.
I am convinced the inspiration for creativity in every aspect of the workflow is stimulated from within. The internal company environment and culture is paramount. It is not only a key stimulant necessary to propel the correct ‘attitude’ on a journey towards innovation and creativity, it is the catalyst. It ‘ignites’ the partnership.
The power of communication is the primary tool upon which such relations are created and from which a client’s confidence manifests itself. In today’s dynamic and accelerated digital environment, transparency is of significant importance when conveying all the deliverables.
An inevitable proportion of providing a unique account management service is, therefore, maintaining fluent communication throughout the process of achieving a client’s objectives.
At the moment, the term ‘Account Management’ is synonymous with that of a strategic relationship. I would personally advocate the case for it to be tantamount to ‘Strategic Account Partnership.’
A ‘Strategic Account Partnership,’ could be best described as a customised solution that fosters a natural progression towards an alliance with the client. This is characterised by joint decision-making practises and problem solving, integrated business and collaborative working. All of these factors will inevitably lead to the development of a mutually beneficial relationship.
This, however, is only attainable if one understands the market trends and the power of innovation. It is vital to identify the desire for efficient tools and meet those demands in order to provide the optimised usage of a perfectly formed platform.
Effective bespoke account management is having the inside-out knowledge of the product. Only after this precursor is achieved can its features and capability be tailored to adequately address the strategic objectives of the client.
In this respect, establishing a solid base from which to work from and which is comprised of trust and integrity are without doubt pivotal elements.
It is the fact that people like to do business with people who are like them, that aids in the establishment of foundations of lasting relations. Moreover, clients value people who demonstrate that they care about them beyond making the sale and who keep them in mind when something new that is of interest to them arises.
That type of treatment makes them feel important, and they come to rely on businesses and client managers they know they can trust to have their needs and interests at heart. Concurrently, that type of treatment cultivates relationships that clients can count on.
On a further note, the success of an effective client relationship is also identifiable through mapping the key stakeholders and decision makers in order to initiate and develop a relationship with them.
A vital piece in the process of materialising healthy partnerships is demonstrating that clients’ needs come first. It is also important to be able to see their day-to-day activities and the issues they might experience so that the most relevant solutions are proposed. Being genuine in what you offer goes a long way in stimulating trust and credibility.
A key aspect in providing a bespoke management service is to make sure clients know every aspect of the product as well as keeping them up to date with all the new features that can add value to their business. While the client may know about the service they receive, they probably don't know about other ways they can achieve optimum efficiency.
Furthermore, introducing the client to other services and networking your way through the client’s firm are all ways to customise the approach and organically grow the account. It is fair to admit that direct contacts can act as internal ambassadors of the product and associated services. This could potentially result in further introductions to other decision makers within the same organisation.
Last but not least, it is the individual that drives the diversity of a team and which helps identify innovative and creative solutions. A successful team is made up of individual champions. Any product or service of repute elevates the uniqueness of the individual and allows one’s strengths to flourish freely. This in turn can be channelled into a powerful force with which to not only meet but exceed client expectations.