As mentioned in the last post about building a balanced Strategic Account Management team, you can’t expect to achieve strategic success with your accounts by working alone. As the quarterback of the SAM team, you’re going to deal with handoffs throughout the lifecycle of the account.
Think of the account as the ball that gets passed from one player to the next depending on the situation. 3rd and one at the goal line? You’re probably handing it off to the tailback. 2nd and 15 at the 30? Probably need to pass the ball to a receiver.
Do you expect to be the only person that ever interacts with your clients? Hopefully not. The truth is, there are dozens of touchpoints within your organization. We like to call these “handoffs.”
With this football analogy in mind, let’s take a look at some key SAM handoffs that you’ll find in your workflow.
1) New Customer Onboarding
When a customer first fills out the contact form on your company website, they’ll be pushed to a sales rep where they’ll determine what they want to use the product for, their problems, and ultimately make the sale or provide them with a demo.
After the clients have gotten comfortable with the tools, the sale rep will hand them off to you to onboard them. This is where the long-term relationship truly is. The sales rep got them in the door, so it’s your job to make sure they take their coat off and stay a while (years) with your company.
This handoff is crucial, and you shouldn’t fast forward or rush through the onboarding stage. This is your chance to give them an excellent first impression of your tools, and if you can pull it off, you might have netted millions of dollars for your company in the long run.
2) Escalation of Use or Technical Issues
Now that you have the ball, you can either hold it and go for a QB rush, or you might have to pass the client off to another part of your SAM team.
One example of this handoff would be if your client runs into a technical issue or starts to use the product more but has technical questions about expanding the product use throughout their organization.
As a Strategic Account Manager, you’re a relationship expert, but you’re probably not a tech wizard. That’s why it’s crucial that you have a well-balanced SAM team. So, for this next handoff, you’ll most likely pass them along to technical support.
By working directly with technical support, your client can ask them specific questions that you might not know off the top of your head. In addition, tech support will offer quick and easy solutions that could have taken you days to figure out.
When your client has a tech question or problem, don’t bang your head against a wall trying to troubleshoot for them. Rather, pass the ball off to tech support, and they’ll provide a quick and easy solution, making your client see your organization as a place that gets things done.
3) Renewals and Upsells
Renewals and upsells are a little bit different than the other essential handoffs on this list, but they are still an integral part of the SAM workflow.
In fact, it might not even involve a handoff at all and could be more like the QB sneak of SAM handoffs.
When it comes time to renew, it’s all hand on deck, and you need to bring your A-Game to keep them from churning. Most skilled SAMs will be able to convert them to long-term customers, but you might also need help. Whatever the case may be, consult your playbook and take a look at your depth chart to see which players can help you.
Depending on the specific situation, you might need the help of one, two, or all players on the SAM team to keep the client happy and with your company.
4) Customer Reference Call
The final handoff we want to cover today involves bringing in more customers via referrals from your existing clients. Conducting an effective and winning customer reference call takes time, skill, and precision, and you should call for backup to make sure you’re speaking the customer’s language.
The best team to bring in for the customer reference call would be marketing. They know the hard numbers behind recent campaigns and are professionals at speaking the customer’s language. Chances are, they are also working on a referral marketing campaign for your organization, so they are familiar with these customer reference calls.
When it feels like the right time to get a reference from your customer, call an audible and bring in the marketing team to make sure the call goes off without a hitch.
Behind this football, team analogy is the core idea that your strategic accounts interact with more than just the SAM. There are dozens of potential touchpoints with your customers within your organization and the more you know about them, the more that you can control the customer journey and experience.
Remember, as the SAM, you’re the QB, and it’s your responsibility to ensure every interaction with customers is professional and smooth. You call the plays so you must own the entire client relationship to ensure you’re achieving mutual success.
How Kapta Can Help
Kapta is the strategic account management platform that packs every element of the best programs into one convenient package. It’s essentially your playbook for SAM and contains powerful tools to help you track your customers as they go through the purchasing journey.
If you’re tired of living inside of spreadsheets and want to have more time to focus on building strong relationships, get in touch with us today and discover what’s possible with Kapta.