Meetings are a useful tool for any account manager, and no matter how much you might dread them if you want to be a rising KAM superstar, you need to know how to run a successful and effective account review meeting with your clients.
These meetings serve as a strategic review of your relationship with your key accounts and help to learn more about the progress you’ve made and what you need to do moving forward. Many traditional-minded account managers look at account review meetings as simply a way to keep clients, but we think that they can mean much more.
Successful account review meetings are your opportunities to grow the relationship and reaffirm your commitment to the key account’s success. You shouldn’t waste this valuable face time with your customers, so you need a game plan going into the meeting.
Let’s talk about some helpful tips, so your next account review meeting provides more valuable insight to clients, and possibly save you time, so you spend less time in the conference room and more time working on your relationships.
Keep it Focused
Have you ever gone to a meeting expecting to discuss one thing, but end up leaving the meeting more confused? This is a symptom of ineffective, unfocused meetings. Account review meetings must remain focused on actions and outcomes, and anything more is just a waste of you and your client’s time.
To help you keep the meeting focused, you should walk into the meeting with a game plan and an agenda of what your client needs to hear from you, along with questions to ask the client so you can learn more about their current situation.
On your side of the table, you should discuss the progress that you’ve made with the account since the last meeting. Provide them with concrete details and stats that show them how far their account has come, not fluffy sales talk and empty promises.
From their end, you want to learn more about their thoughts on the work you’ve done. How have you helped them reach their short and long-term goals? In which areas would they like to see you improve? Learn more about the relationship so you can update your account plan accordingly after the review meeting.
Keep It Short
You aren’t the only person that hates excessively long meetings. In fact, your key accounts hate them just as much. Time is valuable, and the more critical your key account is, the more their time is worth. For this reason, you should always keep your account review meetings on the shorter side and only discuss the issues and topics that they need to know and nothing that you could share in a simple email or phone call at a later time.
Review for the Review
Before the meeting, you need to ensure that all of your key players are in place and they are fully equipped for a successful account review meeting.
First, you should review the commercial status of the account which includes any contracts between both parties along with additional opportunities to present the key account in the meeting. Make sure that you know the key players within the account including the decision-makers, gatekeepers, etc.
Knowing who’s who and which people will be at the meeting will help you adapt your game plan, so you’re speaking their language and not asking decision-makers questions better suited for lower-level contacts. The relationship mapping tool in Kapta can help with this, and keep you organized moving forward.
Take a look at recent notes from your interactions with the account whether in formal Voice of Customer interviews or brief email exchanges. The primary goal is to be up to date on the account, so you don’t inadvertently cover ground you’ve already discussed in previous meetings.
We recommend you also consult your SWOT analysis of the account to identify any strategy adjustments you should make based on new opportunities or threats. Do this before the meeting and even after the meeting if your key account reveals new information that could significantly affect your strategy.
Finally, you need to uncover any internal or external risks related to the account. By coming face to face with the risks, you can mitigate them better and avoid damaging your relationship with your key accounts.
Review the KAM Team’s Actions and Commitments
Shifting focus, your team must be prepared for the account review meeting as well. Ask the KAM team to review any commitments they’ve made to their key accounts and the actions they’ve taken to meet these commitments. Being blindsided in an account review meeting because an account manager has failed to live up to their promises is the last thing that you need. Review these ahead of time, so they know exactly what they’ve told their clients the will do and what they have actually done.
Closing the Meeting
At the end of the meeting, both the account manager and the client should leave with a new perspective and a stronger relationship. After the meeting, go to your KAM platform and record your notes and the key takeaways from the meeting. Adjust your strategy as necessary, and be sure to document any commitments you’ve made along with any personal notes about how the meeting went and what you can improve on in the future.
Efficiency is the Name of the Game
You should shoot for account review meetings no longer than 30 minutes. It sounds like a short duration for a meeting but, in our experience, we’ve found that account managers shouldn’t need more time than that to achieve maximum results. Remember, your account’s time is valuable, so by keeping it short, you’ll respect their time, and you will have more time to work on bringing your clients success – not simply telling them about it.
Want to dig deeper into running a product account review meeting? Check out our account management training course.