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How to Fortify and Grow Critical Accounts


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Presented by Rick Reynolds of Ask Forensics at the 7th Annual Marketing & Sales Summit.

Did you know that many of your multi-million dollar strategic accounts could be at risk without you even knowing it? Sales and account forensics investigations into $3 billion worth of client accounts reveal that 79% of the profiled strategic accounts exceeding $15 million are “at risk”. In most cases companies are unaware of this, and it can cost millions of dollars in lost accounts each year. It’s like an undetected disease with huge implications. Losing one account can seriously impact bottom line performance, but the good news is, moving the needle in the positive direction will generate significant revenue and profit.

When you cut through all of the clutter, it boils down to one thing—service quality. This is customers’ most critical need and, for the most part, companies are effectively providing service quality. The question that should worry executives is: If on the surface we are doing well, then why are so many accounts “at risk”?

This presentation will address the often undetected, not-so-obvious cracks in client relationships that put critical client accounts “at risk.”

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How to Fortify and Grow Critical Accounts

  1. 1. AskForensicsHow to fortify and grow critical accounts
  2. 2. What We Will Cover Today• Background on AskForensics• Why are companies not exceeding customers’ expectations even when they think they are?• How does service quality impact becoming a “world class” partner?• How can a company achieve a competitive advantage?• Q&A
  3. 3. AskForensics• Over 20 years of expertise• Works with leading corporations• Evaluated over $8B of business and identified $3B of “at risk” accounts over past 6 years
  4. 4. Most Accounts Have Some Level of RiskStatus Rating of Existing Accounts Expansion 66% of accounts 2% Opportunity are vulnerable or 8% 30% Strong damaged.58% Vulnerable The implications are enormous. Damaged % of Accounts
  5. 5. Why Companies are not Exceeding Customers’ ExpectationsPrimary Reasons %Account Support 34%Product and Service Quality 31% Issue: Services and support that AskForensics-Client is not providing that, if provided, would put AskForensics-Client “over the top” and make the company “best in class.”
  6. 6. Account SupportComponent %Improve training for frontline staff 19%More timely response to requests 17%Offer proactive ideas 17%Better understanding of requirements 15% % of Accounts Mentioning Account Support
  7. 7. Improve Training for Frontline Staff• Includes management and service teams.• Vital to expanding and retaining existing customers. – Direct and daily contact with customers. – Offer best practices and industry data/insights – Resolve day-to-day problems. – More interaction and leave more of an impression than your sales team.
  8. 8. More Timely Response to Requests• Responsiveness a clear indicator of desire to meet and exceed expectations.• All levels of your company must be responsive. – Corporate and support teams. – Front line and regional teams.• Communicate what you have done to address customer’s needs and problems.
  9. 9. Offer Proactive Ideas• Customers look to you as the expert. – Rely on you to perform important tasks that they cannot do themselves.• Customers want ideas, actions, and results.• When you are not proactive value can erode.• Don’t let competitors beat you to the punch.• Have a consultative, partner oriented approach.
  10. 10. Better Understanding of Requirements• Not identifying and addressing needs leaves you open to problems.• Teams closest to the accounts expected to have more intimate knowledge.• Must communicate needs to others in your organization. – Frontline teams, support teams, and senior leadership must fully align with your customer.
  11. 11. Product and Service QualityComponent %Provide better quality products and 40%servicesContinue to be creative 25%Improve and maintain product and 25%service consistency % of Accounts Mentioning Service Quality
  12. 12. Provide Better Quality Products and Services• Continually improve your offering. – Don’t let competitors set the bar.• Offer better quality than competitors. – Achieve differentiation. – Avoid price as a focus.• Do not become complacent. – Needs and expectations constantly change.• When end users have choices you want high usage.
  13. 13. Continue to be Creative• Initiate and be proactive. – Selectively push the envelope. – Closely linked to understanding needs.• Share ideas with clients. – Involve their input and participation. – Seek a partner level dialogue.• Focus on enhancing your customer’s value.
  14. 14. Improve and Maintain Product and Service Consistency• Consistency shows quality is embedded in the company. – Not just related to the individual. – Must have bench strength.• Maintain close gap between best/worst performers. – Minimize weakest link scenario.• Communicate with your customer and within your organization. – Share best practices and ideas. – Implement and monitor.
  15. 15. How to Achieve Competitive AdvantageThe obvious:• Improve Account Support – Front line staff training – Respond quickly and thoroughly – Be proactive – Thoroughly understand requirements• Improve Quality – Be best in class – Be creative – Improve consistency
  16. 16. How to Achieve Competitive Advantage (Cont’d.)The Not So Obvious:• Continually innovate and improve – Offer sustained improvements – No quick fixes that phase out over time• Ask how your are doing and act on what you learn• Conduct strategic business reviews – Continually assess needs and requirements – Solicit input – be collaborative and partner oriented
  17. 17. How to Achieve Competitive Advantage (Cont’d.)The Not So Obvious:• Communicate your value – no one else will – Quantify direct and indirect value• Maintain a cultural match• Make sure your entire organization is committed to serving the client – Customer facing and support teams. – Make your background teams available.
  18. 18. Thank You for Attending AskForensics, LLC www. Rick Reynolds Senior Partner 404-425-3107 Atlanta, GA USA