Knowing when a key account is at risk is an art form of sorts, an art form that many key account managers have yet to master. While there may be many warning signs along the way, without a holistic understanding of the health of an account, your key account managers may fail to see those signs of distress. As a result, you could face a series of disappointments when customers unexpectedly leave you for the competition, and that’s obviously not a good way to start the new year.
Loyal customers are the true lifeblood of your business as statistics consistently indicate. If you don’t take the time to nurture these loyal accounts, they’ll simply leave for a company that will reciprocate that loyalty.
Those key customers don’t always leave due to cut and dry reasons. A number of things can occur throughout a relationship that can leave the customer, ultimately, feeling dissatisfied with your service. That is why it’s important to know the signs that your key accounts are at risk, so you can take immediate steps to eliminate complacency in your key account managers, analyze the changes that need to be made, and begin repairing what might be a failing relationship.
Business naturally ebbs and flows, but if several of your key accounts are seeing a drop in performance lately, it could be a sign that something is seriously wrong.
Look at the buying patterns of those key accounts and examine the reasons behind why they’ve slowed. Is it possible you don’t have what customers need anymore in the way of products? Are your competitors siphoning off your loyal customers by offering a product you don’t? Or, does the problem come down to the level of service they are receiving from your key account managers?
When slowing accounts become a trend, it could mean that your key account managers are not providing enough support and attention to their accounts. Find ways to ensure you are meeting their needs.
Problems That May Put Your Key Accounts at Risk
More often than not, the actions (or lack thereof) of your key account managers is what puts your key accounts at risk. Slow performance is one indicator that something isn’t right, but the root of that problem often derives from your key account managers not actively demonstrating their value to your key customers.
To correct this problem, start by looking at what you did to win those loyal customers in the first place. Most likely, it was the result of providing something your competitors did not. Whether it was more personalized service or a particular product feature, what have you changed since that time?
Work to bring back a sense of value to your company, even if you have to create something new or reinvent the services you offer. Being complacent about the value you provide can create the most dangerous type of risk. Also, pay attention to customer complaints and prolonged silence as signs of assumed dissatisfaction.
Changes in Your Key Accounts
Another sign of risk is when key accounts suddenly change due to circumstances beyond your control. This could indicate something larger, like a sudden business acquisition, that changes how a regular buyer buys from you. It may mean the company that buys from you has a new CEO that has decided they no longer need your products or services.
Other scenarios include market shifts that force your business customers to seek out more budget-oriented products elsewhere. Your competitors may introduce new products as well, which is something you need to counter and remain ahead of to stay in the competitive game.
The best way to curb these potential surprises is to maintain close contact with your key accounts and be aware of any upcoming changes that could affect your business relationship.
Visit us here at Kapta to learn more about our key account management software, so you can better analyze these and other potential risks in the coming year.