Effective account management requires a careful balance of maintenance and growth. You must not only do everything in your power to retain the accounts you already have but also seek out new revenue opportunities to help your company expand.
Both of these tasks require a significant amount of energy and focus from an AM, and the two priorities often compete with each other to the detriment of both. But what if you could serve both functions at the same time? The following four key concepts outline how you can shift your focus away from lead acquisition to make better use of the revenue potential of your existing accounts.
1. Shift Away from the ‘Anti-Shrinkage’ Model
For many years, the main goal of account management has been to avoid losing the customers with whom the firm is already doing business.
While it is always better to keep a customer than lose one, simply maintaining your existing accounts will never produce the growth you need. To do that, you need to add new business to your portfolio.
The most obvious way to do this is to secure brand-new clients you have never served before. However, it might be a better idea to look for new opportunities to upsell to the customers you already have.
2. Customer Service is for Retention, not Growth
Many account managers assume that providing good customer service will automatically lead to growth opportunities. This is not always an accurate assessment.
While customer service is extremely important in account management, it does not help AMs secure new business. Instead, its role is to keep existing customers happy with the services they are currently receiving.
A happy customer might be more inclined to purchase services from you instead of a competitor. The trouble is that if your company had something to offer that customer that they knew they wanted, they would already have purchased it. Unless something changes, that customer is unlikely to decide to become a greater source of revenue. Therefore, deliberate and effective upselling is important in order to generate more revenue from happy customers.
3. Leverage the Power of Customer Improvement
Instead of focusing on customer service, it is more useful to shift your attention to a different target: customer improvement.
This model turns the idea of customer retention on its head by turning existing customers into new sources of revenue. Under a customer improvement strategy, your task is to suggest ways that the customer might grow or improve their business and let them know how your company can help them do it. As an example, for healthcare accounts, this might involve promoting a new and promising drug or therapy.
If it is done tactfully and founded on solid evidence, customer improvement can benefit both you and your customers. You will secure the additional business you need, and they will gain access to a new tool that they can use to propel their organization’s growth as well.
4. Improve Your Account Management Skills and Supports
To successfully implement customer improvement strategies, you will need in-depth knowledge of both your customers’ needs and the latest developments in the field. Pharmaceutical market research companies or other healthcare research groups can help you acquire the information you need to identify the products and services that are most likely to interest your accounts.
Further, it never hurts to have additional sales or customer service training during a significant undertaking like this. An extra round of strategic account management training can sharpen your skills and give you the confidence you need to make the most of this new approach.
Bringing Effective Customer Improvement Strategies to Life
Customer improvement and similar upselling strategies are the cornerstones of predictable sales growth. Capitalize on your existing sales relationships first and you will quickly see how powerful established trust can be.
Healthcare consulting firms like The Brooks Group work with organizations to provide employee onboarding training, refresher training, and more. Contact us today to hear more about our account management training options and how we can help you better serve your existing clientele in the healthcare industry.