Are you managing multiple accounts yet failing to hold onto some of your biggest clients? As a salesperson working within a demanding and competitive industry, it doesn’t take much for you to miss the vital signs of an unsatisfied client.

If you’re failing to tend to your customer’s needs by investing that extra care and attention it takes to encourage a long-term business relationship, you’ll soon be replaced by your competition. As experts in the sales and recruitment field since 1995, Pareto have highlighted the factors you need to consider to allow you to perfect your approach to Key Account Management.

It’s about Relationship Building

Building long-lasting relationships is vital in order to maximise your chances of holding onto some of your most valued clients. It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to establish a relationship with a potential customer or are preparing to upsell to a current client, you’ve got to persuade them that you’re the best person for the job.

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It’s common knowledge that people want to work with people whose company they enjoy, so don’t forget to inject your personality into your meetings. You’ll fare better in business if you’re personable, approachable and likeable, because nobody wants to work with those who possess a permanent poker-face.

In order to stay memorable you could also carry out basic gestures like bringing coffee or donuts to your meeting, as this always goes down well. Its simple details like this that help to form a deeper relationship with your client, one that goes beyond the binding of a business contract.

This is aided also by reinforcing your reliability to your client, remembering what they say, their interests and any other personal details. This will help you to initiate deeper conversation in future, allowing them to realise that you’re interested and value them as much more than just a client.

Clarity and Consistency

Clarity is pivotal to giving clear direction to your client about what the next stage of the process is. You can’t be vague with timescales, you need to confirm and communicate any updates and keep in regular contact with them. Checking in with them too frequently will just become a nuisance for your client, but a consistent and friendly email every now and then will reaffirm your ability to professionally manage their account.

As part of consistent and organised management of your client, openly discuss current progress with them and set targets and goals together. This way you can reassure them that you are both on the same page, giving them the confidence that you understand their future business goals, which is pivotal for helping to encourage repeat custom.

Timing is everything

Timing is fundamental to success in business, so do your research and see how your customer is doing. Purchasing decisions are affected by movements and changes within a company, so keep up to date and you could find that the appointing of a new Sales Director, for example, is the perfect time to approach your client.

Always keep a calendar of significant annual events, as businesses may be more receptive during certain periods, such as after the allocation of budgets in the new financial year. Approach them when their share prices have reduced dramatically, and your proposal is more likely to be rejected.

When deciding how much time to allocate to all of your accounts, try to balance it between all of them evenly, giving enough time and attention to each of your clients. Too many salespeople invest too much time in low-value accounts, which gains them very little in return. It’s all about keeping organised and on top of your clients, giving each the time and attention they deserve. If you’ve ignored one particular customer for months on end then approach them asking for business, they’ll shun your efforts to reconnect.

Finally, limit distractions by allocating admin or more menial tasks to others within your company, such as HR or admin, so you can have the time to write a to-do-list and put all your energy into organising who needs to be contacted and when.

Eliminate the competition

As an account manager you should already be aware of your competition, and keep a watchful eye on their activity in the market. You’ll have to defend your accounts by monitoring their movements, researching and comparing how your services differ to theirs in comparison. Any new offers or services they are running can lure your clients away from you, so it’s all about keeping informed of competition and beating them on price, service and value.

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If you conduct a competitor analysis regularly, you can find flaws and weaknesses in their services and highlight these to your accounts, giving you a major added-selling point.

Overall account management is about keeping your customers front of mind at all times, and taking the time to consider how you’d like to be treated as a valued client. Engaging and communicating regularly with your customers is one crucial element of maintaining a sustainable business relationship, whether by email, phone calls or face-to-face meetings.

The experienced Account Managers and consultants at Pareto are some of the most skilled professionals in the industry, allowing them to continue our long-term partnerships with the likes of Micro Focus, Toshiba, and Mimecast. Their position in the industry and track record of effectively managing accounts has now led to further international expansion, after the opening of our New York office in 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 14.42.07To find out how Pareto can refresh your sales team through their training and recruitment services, visit www.pareto.co.uk today.