We can't run away from the fact that our clients expect a global service and that could potentially mean managing more people across a number of countries. What was once a significant local accounts for you and your company can now be important global accounts contributing to more than 60% of your businesses turnover.
These accounts are hard to retain, even harder to replace and can be complex to manage. It's critically important that key account managers and account managers of these accounts get to grips with this quickly.
There are a number of challenges working with a global account, like global pricing, or choosing how and when to set up global account management team - HBR study in 2007 might be helpful to read on that topic HBR
I want to focus on one of the big challenges I see for Global account managers, or Key account managers with a global remit.
How do you effectively manage multiple stakeholders around the world and know where to focus your attention and effort?
- Many different agendas
- Regional and local needs
- Preferences in communication
- Perceptions on price
I’m very aware that many global account managers or key account managers do not have huge support teams and coordinated resources to help them do this.
I want to share three ideas to support those with less time, fewer resources and more people to manage than others realise (believe me I’ve been there).
Idea number one –Set Expectations
Set the same expectations of work with every contact you have at the beginning of your communication.
“Expectation is the killer of most organisations customer growth because they never really understand what the customer really wants from them”
If you’re already in the middle or at a more mature place of conversation with your contacts then this is still relevant. Expectation can be defined in different ways. The expectation I’m speaking of here ‘is an agreed practice, value or behaviour of a person or between multiple people that defines how you approach particular tasks, circumstances and decisions.’
If you approach the conversation with this definition you can approach your client with the right messaging and with more clarity and confidence. Understand how your contacts have worked with other global vendors, what might get in the way, their current way of doing things are, how successful that has been and why. Don't be afraid to challenge and suggest alternative ways as long as you believe its still beneficial to them.
Make sure you take this step and process with each contact sharing the ideas taken from your conversation and the agreed practice and value of working together. You do it once then you've already started to agree the buying behaviour with your contacts.
Extra value: Qualtrics blog on customer expectation here which offers even richer insight on the different types of customer expectation.
Idea number two – Connect the dots
Once you’ve set the expectation. How you’ll work together, share information coordinate with others etc…you need to make the view of those people you’re speaking with easier for you to see on a daily basis. You have a great memory but guess what. Your CRM and or document is better because it captures what you know and keeps it for life. If you don't check out KAPTA . Either way you need to write down who they are? what they do? where they are? The why or relevance of that connection, whats important to them? and who they’re connected too?. When you have those most contacts document you’ll have an immediate reference point and you can more easily see what people to focus your time on.
Extra value: in launch of my book the Key Account Hack is the Stake holder map guide – a simple one page pdf that helps you to connect and see all stakeholders in one place. For that free gift click HERE
Idea number three – Have a process to engagement
It can be very challenging keeping track of multiple location relationships. Once you've set expectations of how you'll work and what yours and their role is. You've document who, where they are and why their important. Don’t turn up next week without a plan. You need a goal and then you need to have clearly defined steps that take you to success. Where ever you are in your client conversations it’s never too late to take a step back and ask the question “what one thing if changed could give me a better result with this client?”.
Extra value: If you haven’t taken seen my free resource on 4 steps to stakeholder success.Read this free resource on slideshare click HERE
What are your thoughts on these three ideas?
If you'd like to know how you can learn and apply a system for predictable and profitable sales from your existing customers get in touch atwww.jermainedwards.com/getintouch
Jermaine Edwards - Founder of the Key Account Hack System - Helping you retain your key clients and grow massive sales from your high value customers