Account management is one of the most important functions of any business. It’s also one of the most varied, from customer service to sales and customer retention. For B2B organizations, account management takes on a unique role that requires special attention and practice.
Here are six best practices for B2B organizations that will help ensure success:
1. Establish Expectations
When it comes to account management, the most important part is establishing expectations. This means defining the problem before starting on a solution.
When you’re working with an account manager, they need to know what your goals are and how you plan to achieve them. The key here is knowing your own goals and understanding that everyone has different ones.
You don’t want to focus too much on what other people are doing because this can lead to stress and frustration as well as a poor sense of direction for yourself (and potentially your team).
You should always set ambitious goals but stick with reason so that they’re achievable and realistic. Your team will have more energy if they see themselves succeeding at something.
2. Connect With Customers on a Personal Level
“You need to be able to identify and connect with your customers in a way that feels natural,” says John Ferrara, CEO of RainMaker Platform, who is an expert in account-based marketing. “It’s important to know who they are as individuals.”
To do this, use their names when you talk with them. Ask about their families and hobbies. These questions will help you get acquainted with the person behind the business persona.
3. Use CRM Tools
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools, such as Salesforce, are used by organizations, big and small, to support and manage customer relationships. It helps build relationships across the entire customer lifecycle, including marketing, service, and IT. With the help of CRM, businesses can manage customer relationships with data.
According to Grand View Research, the CRM market size is worth 58.82 billion in 2022, and it is expected to see a significant growth rate of 13.9% from 2023 to 2030. The research only highlights the increasing popularity of CRM tools in all kinds of organizations, including B2B businesses.
Besides building and maintaining customer relationships, CRM software can also help you with account planning. It provides you with a single, unified view of every client, thus making it easier to build personalized marketing strategies for each account.
Account planning in Salesforce or any other CRM tool can be used by B2B organizations across all industries like financial services, high tech, manufacturing, health care, and more. The tool will store, analyze, and track customer information from one single location, including sales opportunities and service cases.
4. Be Consistent With Communication
Consistent communication can be a challenge for many B2B organizations. However, being consistent with your communication is important for building trust and credibility with your customers, which are essential to customer experience management.
According to Fortune Business Insights, the customer management market itself is worth $11.34 billion in 2022. It is expected to be worth $32.53 billion in 2029, with a CAGR of 16.2%.
To be consistent with your messaging, you need to:
- Set up a schedule for communications. For example, you might want to have weekly phone calls or check-ins with clients, as well as quarterly face-to-face meetings with larger accounts. This can help keep you organized and on track while ensuring that you don’t forget any important dates or deadlines in the future.
- Use the same tools for communicating every single time, like emails, social media posts, etc. This will make it easier for everyone involved.
- Use the same tone of voice across all platforms of communication so that everything sounds familiar when people read what has been said before them.
5. Stay Organized
Good organization is the key to staying on top of your clients. As per Project.co, 74% of people stopped their dealings with a company due to the feeling that the company was disorganized.
Make sure you can access all the information you need when you need it by keeping a good system in place. Here are some tips:
- Use an email system that allows you to create folders and subfolders within each folder so that when an email gets sent back and forth between multiple people, everyone knows exactly where it is. This will save everyone time searching for things by making them easy to find.
- Have a filing cabinet where all documents relating to a client are kept together in one place–not spread out over multiple folders or hard drives. You may also want to consider scanning any relevant files before putting them away.
This makes them easier for everyone else involved with the project, too, since they don’t have as far to go look through everything if they need something specific like invoices or receipts from previous projects, which might otherwise take hours.
6. Constantly Evaluate Your Work and Make Improvements
What good is it to do great work if you don’t know why? A B2B business needs to be constantly evaluating and improving its account management efforts. Consider these tips for evaluating your work:
- Focus on the customer: The first step in any evaluation of your account management practice is looking at how well it’s working from the perspective of your customer. This can include asking them directly for feedback or conducting formal surveys.
There are also other ways to gather data about their experiences with you. For instance, try tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) related to customer satisfaction, such as call center wait times or sales lead conversion rates.
- Ask questions: One way that companies can evaluate whether they’re doing a good job is by asking their customers what they think. This might sound like a no-brainer, but many companies don’t do it because they’re afraid of what they might hear. But if something isn’t right with how you manage accounts, it’s better to know than assume everything is fine.
- Look at old projects: Another way that businesses can figure out whether their account management techniques are working well or not would be through reviewing old projects from past engagements where similar ones were performed successfully before.
The best account management practices are a series of habits and procedures that ensure you’re constantly improving your customer service. They make it easy for you to keep track of past interactions, anticipate future needs and address any issues that may arise while doing business with your clients.