While writing my first book I had the opportunity to survey and speak with 200 customers. I asked them a number of different questions including a series of questions that were specifically about how their accounts were managed.
One particular point that came up most often was the experience many of these customers had of their key account manager. The transformation of going from being positively persistent and helpful to becoming 'human spam' and very little of what they bring being relevant or uniquely valuable to them. (I'm using softer language than some did). This obviously wont be you, but here is the danger.
In my survey less than 7% of those 200 customers would raise their concerns. They'd simply ignored emails, made their account manager wait longer and sometimes even purposefully slow down decision making. WOW!
I don't condone any of those actions but if potentially only 7% of customers will raise concerns about the way they're managed or the frequency and relevancy of the communication they receive. How do you guard against this?
I recognise there might be some that will argue its not about frequency of communication its about the value you bring. You're right and you might be wrong. It's about the relevancy and timing of that information more than the value of that content. How many times have you seen something that looked valuable but wasn't helpful to you at that time. That's exactly what many of your emails might be to your clients today. You put all that effort in only for it to get archived into a place your client is unlikely to go back to. Nowadays our tolerance for email that isn't immediately helpful is very low.
Here are three things you can implement today to ensure you're matching the right level of communication and delivering content that is relevant to your key accounts:
- Ask your clients - Sounds simple but its the sure way to know. Mention that you want to share valuable and relevant content with them. Get to know how often they're bombarded with email. What do they honestly do with their emails? Set expectation of how you tend to communicate, what you're thinking about sending and get their feedback. You'll be surprised by how helpful this conversation will be. Why? You're getting their permission.
- Be aware of where you are in the process - Make your content relevant to the place in conversation you are with your key accounts. Lets just be real. You want your clients to act. You should be also sending valuable content that has a call to action. If both you and your client are aware of where you are in your conversation this should be of no surprise. If it isn't clear to your client you need to make sure it is.
- Know whats most important to your client - Get to know whats happening in your clients world. What things are they looking to achieve, have implemented or resolved. If you can tap into the issues that are most important to them today and offer content or advice around this you're open rate will sky rocket. As key account managers you are perfectly placed to know this. I say this often and I'll end with this. Every conversation you have with your customers means you are in the greatest competitive position to differentiate your value and deepen your customer relationship. Make those conversations count.
If you're a key account manager or manager of key account teams wanting to double your key customer growth in the next 6-12 months get connected to my Wednesday KAM growth insights newsletter. Click HERE or get connected atwww.jermaineedwards/signmeup