Who can forget Kevin Bacon’s (aka Chip Diller) famous plea for calm in the midst of chaos as John Belushi and members from the Delta House hijacked the Faber College homecoming parade in the movie Animal House?
“Worried....why should I be worried…everything is under control.” "[insert customer name] loves us and would never leave”…”We are rock solid and there’s no need to worry.”
Ever hear these words from your sales & account management teams when asked about the health and stability of your crown jewel accounts?
Even worse, you could hear following: ”I can’t believe they’re leaving us”…”I’m shocked”…”We didn’t see this coming.”
How do you know your company is in a good place with any client much less your Golden Goose?
Ravenhouse International and HR Chally have performed nationwide surveys to assess the relationships customers have with their sales representatives. The results are consistent across most industries. The data is not exactly what we want to hear!
Only 10% of clients think sales reps add real value!
70% think sales reps are product, not client focused.
80% of companies that made a change, deserted companies they rated “good” or “very good”.
We all want to believe our clients value the personal relationship as much as we do. We HOPE the strength of our personal relationship will protect us. Unfortunately, that’s not the case… sometimes it’s “Just Business”(as Sonny Corleone found out the hard way at the toll booth).
It’s critical that we see the world through the customer’s eyes and not be blinded by our own belief that “All is Well”.
Can you identify and mitigate risk before its too late?
For starters, it’s critical to take emotion out of the equation. Whenever we conduct a post-mortem of a long-time customer who has defected, we always find the same set of data points. Unfortunately, neither the rep nor their managers connected the dots. Ask yourself:
Is your entire relationship limited to a single person or a select few within a single department?
Do you lack diversification of relationships across the business horizontally AND vertically. What if the ranking client sponsor leaves or is re-assigned. What if an outside consultant is hired to evaluate a department where your solutions are imbedded? Your solid relationship just got very shaky.
Are you conducting regular business reviews that truly matter to the client at least semi-annually if not more frequently?
If you are, are you in your customer’s operating reality? In other words, do you default to reporting on low value activities where data is easy for you to capture and report but isn’t that insightful to your client? Are your metrics mostly weighted on just cost savings? OR, do you align your reporting around leading indicators and insights that validate your value in helping the client execute on their key initiatives?
Assuming you are conducting regular business reviews, are you executing and sharing the good news with all the right people?
Besides your key sponsor, who else within the client’s organization knows about the real value your organization delivers? Do you have senior leadership’s endorsement? Can they explain to their boss what you do and the quantifiable value your company brings?
Does your organization utilize tools or have processes in place that assess and diagnose a client’s health on a regular cadence?
Don’t confuse this with using CRM to capture selling activities and pipeline. We are referring to a predictive modeling tool like ClientFit® that captures the relationship’s fluidity such as organizational changes, relational hierarchy, market conditions, and your company’s execution against defined objectives. This data is aggregated and presented in simple dashboards along with actionable activities to manage and eliminate risk of losing those Golden Geese.
We highly recommend using data and technology to assess client relationships rather than taking Kevin Bacon’s advice to “Remain Calm” and claim “All is Well”.
At Butler Street we help our clients identify risk and take action before it’s too late. If you would like to know more about our strategic account management methodologies and technology like ClientFit, please contact us today!