The primary component of continuous relationship management is customer success. If your customer does well, you and your company will do well in turn. What’s the best way to ensure that your customer reaches their short and long-term goals? By aligning your goals with theirs!
Some account managers will lose sight of their customer’s goals from time to time because they place too much emphasis on their own personal and career goals. The fastest way to correct this issue is to change your perspective and approach the job of Account Manager differently. Essentially, if your customer’s goals become your personal goals, you will find it much easier to stick to them and make them a reality!
Finding Their Goals
As the key account manager, your job is to help your clients identify their goals so they can get the most out of the business relationship. Not every client will know the specifics of their goals, and they might just have a generic response such as “make more sales this year.” Even so, this is a great starting point, and you should consider these broad goals when going in for your next Voice of Customer (VOC) interview.
When asking them about their goals during the interview, you want them to provide unique goals that they genuinely desire that you can help them reach, rather than general or vague responses that could apply to any account. We like to define these types of goals as S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Your customer’s goals should apply directly to their organization and represent a dream of theirs. Remember, goals are long-term typically and can take a year to reach, so you want them to provide you with a goal that will keep you motivated throughout the year while you work with them.
Specific goals could be for instance:
- Increase sales
- Launch new products
- Drive online traffic
All of these are distinct and require different actionable steps to accomplish. While your clients do the tedious work on their end, your job as the key account manager will be to provide them with the tools and solutions they need to make their work easier.
Now that you know the action that needs to be performed, you need to know where the goal posts are. Having a unit of measurement attached to the goal lets you know if you are close to achieving it or not. There isn’t any room for interpretation when it comes to business goals; you want them to be cut and clear with little room for error. Otherwise, you could be stuck chasing the same goal for years without knowing if you’ve helped your clients reach the goal.
We recommend attaching percentages to action statements from above such as “increase sales by 25%,” and so forth.
You want your clients to reach for the stars and set goals that will genuinely improve their business, but you also want to limit their expectations so you can then exceed them! Especially at the start, your goals should be challenging, but absolutely achievable. So, don’t let them tell you they want to increase sales by 500% if you don’t have the tools to do so. The last thing you want to do is let them down when you inevitably can’t reach their goals!
The goals your client provides will need to be based on specific results. When identifying goals, the focus should be on an actionable step you can take that will bring in results, not just feel-good morale. Results can be increased sales, more clients, etc. Whatever it is, make sure your client will be able to hoist a statistical trophy of some kind once they accomplish the goal.
Goals need to have an expiration date. The season needs to end at some point, and if your client’s goals extend forever, you won’t feel as driven to help them reach their goals as you would be if the clock were ticking. Remember, they should have big and small goals and their timetables should be different. Determine what is achievable and set a time limit for your client’s goals.
Your North Star
When lost in the wilderness, explorers will often look to the North Star to help guide them. In the Key Account Management world, your “North Star” is your customer’s end goal. By focusing on the goals of your customer, you’ll be able to map your path towards success better. With this North Star approach in mind, your account plans should align with your customer outcomes.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel for every account plan. Once you find one that works for one customer, save it as a template and adapt it to your other accounts. You might need to make minor adjustments to meet their individual goals.
Becoming Their Trusted Advisor
Once you know your client’s goals, you can become more strategic when planning their account and when interacting with them. Once your personal goals are aligned with your client’s goals, you will be working towards common things, improving your odds of success with the client. Since you’re both on the same page, you can now assume the role of trusted advisor in their business dealings. You’re no longer just another vendor, but a partner that is integral to their success.
Work with Your Team
With these newly aligned goals, you should tell your entire team! Don’t keep your key accounts’ goals a secret when your customer success team could lend a valuable hand in helping you achieve your goals! Once you’re all on the same page, you can take advantage of Kapta’s powerful collaboration tools to get the job done more efficiently.
How Kapta Can Help
Just because your clients have lofty goals doesn’t mean reaching them needs to be complicated! If you have a robust and powerful set of key account management tools at your disposable, much of the tedious work is taken out of the equation. From communication and collaboration tools to client reports and VOC insights, Kapta has everything you need to consistently exceed your customer’s expectations. Try a demo today!