“Customer Value” is a term that many people use in the sales and account management world, but not many people think about how they create customer value. Many will wrongly assume that the customer either brings value, or they don’t. It’s a black and white dynamic, and they fail to make any attempts to grow and invest in the customer over the long-term.
This is where key account management is different. In our line of work, customer value isn’t something that the customer either brings or not, but instead, it’s something you can create and invest in. The customer that brings little value today could be one of your strongest investments in the future.
Today, let’s take a look at some of the tips and tricks you can use to co-create customer value, so you can bring those lagging accounts up and build a stronger collection of key accounts.
Creating Mutual Benefit for Both Organizations
One of the core tenants of key account management is creating mutual success. Customer Success management programs also share this goal. You want to create a plan that will guarantee your customer’s success, whatever their definition of success might be.
This mutual benefit shouldn’t be taken lightly. In fact, I like to refer to it as the business relationship equivalent of the Holy Grail. When both parties can see a mutual benefit from the relationship, you’ll find that it’s harder for them to separate. This means that your key accounts will stick around for years to come, and you’ll be able to continue providing them with solutions that affect their entire organization for the better.
Look for the Win-Win Solution
So, how do you begin to co-create the value of your customers? It all starts by looking for the win-win outcome at every step of the account plan (you do have detailed account plans, right?). We recommend that you start by conducting a focused Voice of Customer Interview to learn more about what drives your client. How do they define success? What is the ideal outcome for them at the end of this year?
Ask detailed and focused questions that will get to the heart of their wants, needs, issues, and fears. By understanding your customers as you understand your own organization, you’ll find new ways to help drive their success.
By aligning your short and long-term goals, you will no longer operate on a segmented strategy – one that works for your organization and one for your client’s. Instead, you’ll have one win-win outcome to strive for, and you’ll be more focused in your work, searching for solutions that guarantee to make your client the office hero.
Create Unique Value
Now that you’ve aligned your strategy and goals with your key accounts, the next step is to differentiate yourself. If you want to create more value from your customers, you need to offer them even more value from your organization.
This isn’t achieved by merely offering everything that the other guys do. How are they supposed to see you as their trusted advisor if you’re just like all the rest? The things that bring us the greatest value in life are unique. They provide solutions that you can’t find from other people, products, or services.
So, you want to make sure that you are providing a unique value to your customers. Think about the different aspect of your organization, services, and products that are above the competition. These differentiating factors will differ from organization to organization and from account manager to account manager. Whatever your unique value proposition is, make sure that is not only unique but also valuable to your customers.
Once you create a unique value from your customers, your value to them will shoot up, and in turn, you’ll also see greater value from every customer across the board as long as you keep your services and solutions consistent.
Focus on Their Success First
In the world of providing tech solutions to customers, it’s easy to think of your success first. Humans, after all, are more concerned with the health, safety, and accomplishments of themselves first before caring for others. That’s why airlines instruct you put on your air mask before others.
I want you to forget about this self-centric theory when it comes to account management. While it might seem counterintuitive, by focusing on the success of your clients first and foremost, the end result will be more favorable on your end.
People want to work with people and organizations that have their best interest in mind. This is what separates a key account manager from other vendors and sales reps. Key account managers provide their customers with solutions that will lead to real results and will place less emphasis on the quick sale.
You can’t fake this, and if you try, you’ll see minimal results and potentially drive the customer away. So, instead, set up a Voice of Customer interview and learn more about their expectations from the relationship. Once you’re both on the same page, you’ll be able to create an account plan that focuses on their success first, and your business goals second.
What should be in the account plan?
So, after you’ve learned more about your client’s goals and expectations, you can begin by either creating the first account plan or updating your existing one to better match. Account plans should focus on the customer as a whole with their ultimate success as the final point.
Each account plan must focus on the goals (long-term measures of success) and the objectives (milestones along the way) along with your daily actions and tasks. With a full-fledged account plan, you’ll stay on track each day and can monitor your progress along the way to your client’s success.
How Kapta Can Help
Co-creating customer value can seem daunting at first, but the hard work along the way is more than worth it in the end. Kapta is a powerful account management platform designed with the modern key account manager in mind. It isn’t a collection of spreadsheets to waste your time, and in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Inside Kapta you’ll find powerful account management features including VOC Insight tools and account plan templates that you can leverage repeatedly.
If you want to see how Kapta can help you co-create customer value, request your free demo today.