Relationship Building for Key Account Management
Being a leading Healthcare management consulting firm, at The Brooks Group, we understand that successful account managers do more than simply meeting sales goals. This critical position serves as an intermediary that must balance not only internal growth strategies, but also meet and exceed your clients’ needs. To do this, you need to have an understanding of client needs and a strong relationship with key stakeholders within their firm.
Understanding Client Infrastructure and Organization
Your primary contacts for an account may not be the final decision-makers in that company. Consider that there are three main knowledge levels in an organization:
- Formal organizational structure
- Networks within the organization
By knowing who possesses the mission-critical information and who is authorized to give final approval, you can present solutions that are effective for your client and that they would be receptive to. This may require networking with individuals outside of your primary points of contact.
The Importance of Integrating with the Governing Body
Healthcare organizations rely on a governing body to manage oversight as well as key business decisions. This group may be composed of physicians, non-physicians, or a combination of the two. Building relationships with these individuals is critical for ensuring that any recommendations you give to your clients are more likely to be not only considered, but approved.
The Organizational Component
While having a strong network with individuals at the governance level is important, you still need to have alliances with client members who manage the day-to-day tasks. A key account management training program can train you to identify the various organizational levels within your client’s company and leverage those relationships.
In general, most healthcare organizations have three key levels: strategic, operational, and tactical.
These members are entrusted with making decisions that directly impact not just your account projects, but the profitability and viability of their company. Typically this segment makes up five to 10% of the total workforce.
The operational team members are the individuals that strategize and manage the daily oversight for projects. While they still report to people at the strategic level, these people have a greater understanding of the company’s objectives and current pace at a macro level.
Members at the tactical level are the people implementing any changes approved by the strategic team that are later organized by operational members. Although not as influential as the other levels, this segment understands the company’s pain points at a granular level.
Identifying Key Targets for Networking
Knowing your client’s organizational flow and governance component are important. Healthcare executive coaching helps you to identify the core roles account members play as this will impact your success. Typically, every client organization will have a decision-maker, information provider, influencer, and gatekeeper.
While the decision-maker may seem like the only important role to befriend, note that this member may rely on the expertise or opinion of others before making a choice — so you can’t neglect the other roles. For example, a gatekeeper is someone who screens information before sharing it with a more influential individual. Building a relationship with this person ensures that your communications are consistently heard by the right people.
Prioritize Relationship Building for Success
Understanding how to effectively build relationships not just with your account team, but external influential members is essential to success. A good account manager is trained to be able to balance internal company sales goals with their client’s needs in a way that not only builds trust but also eliminates the risk of losing an account to a competitor.