What makes truly great strategic Account Management?
You are walking down your high street and feel hungry. You then proceed to pop into one restaurant for your starter, go into another for your main course, a third for your dessert and a fourth for your coffee. Sounds a bit strange doesn’t it?
When it comes to dining it may do. However, for many businesses who deal with “agencies” or consultants this is what they have to do when it comes to their digital and marketing capability: 1 supplier for design, 1 for build, 1 for digital marketing and 1 for print marketing. In essence, you may get a meal out of it, however it is likely that it is not the most balanced and integrated approach to eating.
Now imagine the same scenario but with a role to focus on what all of the clients best interests are – That is what a true strategic Account Manager offers.
Although there may be several menu options from different suppliers, the Account Manager should act as a “delivery driver”, making sure that your dining experience is always delivered across the board to the clients expectations.
This delivery driver will source what their clients needs are and present them an integrated, cost effective and efficient way. By taking this strategic approach the delivery driver will become an integral part to the client and insure that you don’t have your dessert before your main meal – unless you like that sort of thing?!
So in real terms, how does this look?
Essentially, the main difference between the first siloed approach and the latter, is that there is an effective account management strategy in place.
Not only by understanding your businesses strengths, as an effective brand partner it is also key to understand your limitations; hence the menu options. A true account manager will not just put their business needs first, they will ensure that their clients have the best tools across the board to be their best.
This can be shown through aligning and sharing KPIs with other partner agencies, ensuring that you are all working towards the same direction.
In reality though, we all know that we have to put our business needs first and to focus a lot of time on other agencies could be very costly internally.
However, by truly understanding your businesses limitations, advising on key skills that could compliment yours and acting as a key strategic arm of the client you will create further partner trust, which should lead to a fulfilling and long lasting relationship.
In addition, as a bi-product, by working with other agencies with an integrated approach you can assure that every one of your clients will have a better chance to receive a larger return of investment (RoI) than if you had worked in a siloed way.
I hope this is useful /insightful. Any comments or feedback is really appreciated.
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