In the strategic account management game, relationships are everything. You’re not just another vendor pushing a sale and then disappearing. Instead, you’re becoming the client’s trusted advisor. They learn to know you as a person and vice-versa. You’re focused on the long game and plan to know these people for years to come.
So, how do you go about enhancing your relationship? Sure, you probably send them a Christmas card every year, but is that really enough to make the relationship too strong to break?
Today, let’s take a look at four key ways you can go about enhancing the relationships that you have with strategic contacts and accounts. Some of these tips might seem obvious, but if you’re not doing all four of these things, then you’re not genuinely fulfilling your role as the SAM.
1) Get to Know Them
This seems basic. You’re probably asking your computer monitor right now, “Duh! Of course, I know my contacts. What more could I know about them?”
Sure, you know them in a business sense. You talk to them about their organization and the problems and goals they have, but I want you to know them on a more personal level. This will involve some internet stalking, but some of the best answers are readily available.
If you haven’t already, connect with your contacts on LinkedIn. This will give you a better idea of who they are personally. You should determine what their career goals are, along with their personal needs and wants and how these goals relate to their organization.
Since you aren’t proposing them solutions that will help them personally, you need something that fits their organization but is related to their personal goals.
See what makes them stand out, and you’ll be able to figure out the things that will add value to them – not only their boss.
2) Find the Missing Piece
Now that you’ve done a deep dive on your contact’s social media profiles, the next step is finding the missing piece for them in their job.
Remember, your goal is to make them the office hero for their organization, and this means you should propose solutions that not only benefit their organization as a whole but solutions that they’ll be genuinely excited about.
Once you’re able to provide a solution that they’re really excited about, then they’ll see you as a trusted advisor looking out for their best interests. This is crucial to establishing and enhancing your long-term relationship with the client.
The best way to fill in these value gaps is to talk directly to the contact. Take some time in your next interview with them to learn more about what they want. Ask them how their life could be easier. What struggles do they have with their position? What does a perfect workflow look like for them?
With these answers in mind, you can start thinking about ways that your products or services could benefit them personally while providing support that can potentially solve their problems. Solving problems for people is one of the most sure-fire ways to build a relationship with someone, and in this sense, your client will see you as a step above the other vendors they deal with.
3) Stay in the Loop
Your role as the SAM is to not only keep your accounts onboard and away from the competition but to also be the connector between your contact’s organization and your own.
Assuming this role as the connector means that you should never go more than a couple of days without talking to your SAMs. Being a SAM and being passive is not the ideal combination. You should be proactive in your management approach.
Being proactive means you aren’t sitting around waiting for the customer to have a problem and then scrambling to propose a solution. Instead, you need to actively reach out to the contact to see how they’re doing. You want not only to check to make sure that they’re having a great experience with your products and services but also to see if there is anything that you can do better to improve their experience.
Some contacts will be shyer than others, so don’t take a simple “Yup! Everything is great!” as an answer. Continue to probe and learn more about potential issues and solutions. Throw a few ideas to them that could make their experience better, and if they still respond that it’s going great, then you can move on all while using what you learned as potential areas for improvement in the future.
4) Stay Consistent
The final way to enhance your relationship with your contacts is to be patient while also being consistently persistent. Every person is different, and while some people are open books and ready to be your best friend, other contacts might be all business.
Building a sustainable, long-term relationship with an account takes time, and you can’t fake your way through it. You need to genuinely care about their wants, needs, goals, and problems. If you try to skip a couple of steps, the contact can sniff it out, and you’ll end up on their “just another vendor” list fast.
Remember, it’s not about what you’re getting from them. This relationship is all about providing real value for the client through a number of different avenues and solutions.
So, don’t be discouraged if you have a hard time getting the client to open up about their role in their organization. Keep reaching out and keep learning more about the contact little by little. If you plan it right and are patient enough, you’ll find opportunities to provide solutions and value to them personally.
How Kapta Can Help
While you’re busy focusing on enhancing your contact relationships, you shouldn’t have to worry about the technical details of the account. Get out of the spreadsheet and get on the phone with your clients by using a SAM platform designed to make your life easier. Request a free demo of Kapta today and see how it can improve your relationships.