We often put a lot of focus on the questions that you should be asking your customers, but the questions that your key accounts should be asking you are equally important. Any sort of communication with a client is always a positive sign and ensures that both parties understand the goals of the other. If your customers are asking you questions, that means that they are engaged and interested in how you are helping them reach your goals.
These are the five questions that should be music to your ears as a Key Account Manager. If they aren’t asking these questions, it might be a sign of potential risk that needs to be mitigated.
1) WIIFM – What’s in it for me?
As a Key Account Manager, one of your primary responsibilities is to make your customer a hero for their organization. You provide them with the products or services that help their company, and when they take these solutions to their bosses, they’ll look like the hero that saved the day. So, whenever they ask questions related to their own benefits that they will derive from the relationship, you should be excited.
Whenever you hear this question, your first response should show how your tools are helping them achieve their personal goals and objectives. They want to know what it is that your company and services are doing to help them moving forward and your job is to sell yourself and your business, so they know that through the relationship, they are increasing their odds for success and deriving genuine value.
2) How are you measured?
In whatever role that we have, everyone is measured in one way or another. With this question, your client is wondering what your own internal key performance indicators are. Are you measured by sales or are you measured by the number of long-term clients? In addition, you also want your customer to know that you are in fact measured and held to a certain standard within your organization. With this in mind, your customer will know that you have the motivation to see the relationship prosper and that you have an incentive to see their company succeed.
At first, it might feel like an uncomfortable question; why should they have to know about your commission or bonuses? While you shouldn’t feel you need to disclose exact figures related to your pay, you should remain as transparent as possible with the client to foster a relationship built on trust. So, if you will get a bonus if the client sticks with you for six more months, let them know. That way, they’ll understand that you will be doing everything you can to ensure they stay with your organization.
3) Are you getting enough feedback?
As an account manager, chances are you crave feedback; it’s the reason that you conduct Voice of Customer interviews, NPS, etc. To improve your services, products, strategies, and approaches in key account management, you need feedback from the customer. Whether it’s positive feedback, neutral, or negative feedback, with every comment you receive from a customer, your key account management processes and services will be that much better.
It is especially refreshing when a customer is concerned with the level of feedback you are receiving. If they ask “Are you getting enough feedback?” it shows that they know the importance of feedback in a key account relationship and they want to make sure that you are getting enough feedback to continuously improve your services. Asking this question also shows that the customer is engaged in the relationship.
4) How do we fit into your customer mix?
You might have a stable of accounts you work with, but there are only a select few that are included in your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). These are the accounts that you give the majority of your attention to and go above and beyond to keep happy. They are the 20 percent of your clients that 80 percent of your focus goes towards.
When a customer asks how they fit into your customer mix, they’re trying to gauge their importance relative to the other accounts that you manage. It can seem tricky to respond to this question, but remember that honesty is the key here. Hopefully, they are in your ICP, but if they aren’t, you should gently let them know.
By telling them that they aren’t the highest priority you aren’t doing them a disservice. You are showing to them that while you value their business and the relationship, it just isn’t the most profitable in the customer mix. Be sure to let them know that there is hope for the future. Tell them about different things that they could do or other services you could provide that would get them into the ICP in the future.
5) How can we help?
This is perhaps the best question that you could hear from an account. Everybody could use a helping hand every once in a while, even Key Account Managers. Anytime that a customer offers additional support, you should accept it. One of the best ways that an account can help you is through references.
References are practically the lifeblood of your business, so the first thing you could potentially ask of your clients that are willing to help is if they have any friends in other companies that could be in need of your services. By building these references and leveraging the network of your key accounts, your account stable could grow significantly.
Remember, key account management is about the win-win proposition. Your clients want to see you succeed just as much as you want to see them succeed. If you are able to provide genuine value to your clients, they will be more than willing to help you out in similar ways.
How Kapta Can Help
If you want to take these questions your clients ask and implement them in usable ways, we recommend you give our Key Account Management platform a try to keep you organized so you can effectively nourish and grow the relationships with your key accounts. If you would like to see what Kapta can do for you, schedule your free demo today.