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10 Essential Tips For An Effective Business Review

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A business review is the cornerstone of any client/supplier partnership and one every Account Manager must master. What follows are 10 essential tactics to get your reviews back on track and turn them into one of the most anticipated events on your clients’ calendar. I hope you find them useful

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10 Essential Tips For An Effective Business Review

  1. 1. 10 essential tips for an effective business review
  2. 2. A business review is an evaluation of metrics and performance of a supplier program over the previous period. It should be linked to overall strategy and objectives and is the result of everyone’s activities, interactions and contributions. It ensures alignment and creates a shared perspective between client and supplier. By that, I mean clarity (what’s done, what problems need to be solved and who’s doing what) and trust (ideas, learning, commitment and accountability). Yet most reviews typically repeat existing data verbatim and rarely offer insight into what it all means. With people already in meeting overload, Account Managers’ need to make time in front of their client count. What follows are 10 essential tactics to get your reviews back on track and turn them into one of the most anticipated events on your clients’ calendar. I hope you find them useful. According to a 1998 U.S. study, the average employee spends 6 hours every week in meetings, and senior managers attend nearly 23 hours. The Science and Fiction of Meetings, MITSloan Management Review, Steven G. Rogelberg, Cliff W. Scott & John Kello Warwick Brown, London, July 2017
  3. 3. Executive Summary  Long term client  Competitive pricing  Strong relationships  Global footprint  Product gaps (reporting and billing)  US is a key market not with Egencia  New markets in Scandinavia where we are strong  Mobile first strategy so keen on our app  Introduce Global AM  CWT have already been in to discuss  Outsourced consultant leading RFP  Commission return is a key driver  Want full disclosure on earnings (P&L) GET IT IN THE DIARYBook reviews 12 months in advance. You’ll get your pick of dates and it’ll ensure those meetings happen. Sending placeholders well in advance will make scheduling reviews a breeze and improve attendance. Working to a deadline helps with time management and motivation. Reconfirm with your client a few days before the review and make sure they’ve booked a meeting room. Host the review at your office. It’s efficient and a great way to introduce teams they wouldn’t ordinarily meet.
  4. 4. Executive Summary  Long term client  Competitive pricing  Strong relationships  Global footprint  Product gaps (reporting and billing)  US is a key market not with Egencia  New markets in Scandinavia where we are strong  Mobile first strategy so keen on our app  Introduce Global AM  CWT have already been in to discuss  Outsourced consultant leading RFP  Commission return is a key driver  Want full disclosure on earnings (P&L) MEET BEFORE THE MEETINGA quick call to the client in advance of the meeting gets you aligned and assists preparation. You’ll deliver a review that ticks all the boxes. Schedule 30 minutes with your client in advance to confirm what topics should be explored in the review. Avoid sensitive subjects. You don’t want to ambush your client, especially if the boss is there. Focus on measurable criteria that cover key elements like cost, quality and compliance. Let your client know you want the review to be impactful and a beneficial use of their valuable time.
  5. 5. Executive Summary  Long term client  Competitive pricing  Strong relationships  Global footprint  Product gaps (reporting and billing)  US is a key market not with Egencia  New markets in Scandinavia where we are strong  Mobile first strategy so keen on our app  Introduce Global AM  CWT have already been in to discuss  Outsourced consultant leading RFP  Commission return is a key driver  Want full disclosure on earnings (P&L) INVITE THE RIGHT PEOPLEDecision makers and influencers are vital if you want to get things done. Keep the number of participants low and leave with agreed actions. Improve attendance by only committing participants for the time they’re needed, not the entire review meeting. Reduce no-shows by sending reminders the day before and letting all participants know how vital their contribution is. Be on the look out for the quiet ones. Not everyone is quick with their opinions so encourage their input. Anticipate the questions that need answering and those that need to be asked.
  6. 6. Executive Summary  Long term client  Competitive pricing  Strong relationships  Global footprint  Product gaps (reporting and billing)  US is a key market not with Egencia  New markets in Scandinavia where we are strong  Mobile first strategy so keen on our app  Introduce Global AM  CWT have already been in to discuss  Outsourced consultant leading RFP  Commission return is a key driver  Want full disclosure on earnings (P&L) SET AN AGENDA Simple, but often overlooked. Pick 2 to 3 priorities, communicate what preparation is needed and stick to the time allowed. If the meeting goes off- topic an agenda helps you quickly steer the conversation back to the matters at hand. For each topic note if the purpose is to share information, seek input or make a decision. Send related material in advance. Be clear to participants on what is expected and how to prepare. Identify who is the lead for each agenda item. It doesn’t always have to be you. List agenda topics as questions that needed to be answered.
  7. 7. Executive Summary  Long term client  Competitive pricing  Strong relationships  Global footprint  Product gaps (reporting and billing)  US is a key market not with Egencia  New markets in Scandinavia where we are strong  Mobile first strategy so keen on our app  Introduce Global AM  CWT have already been in to discuss  Outsourced consultant leading RFP  Commission return is a key driver  Want full disclosure on earnings (P&L) NO DEVICES Make it clear on your agenda that it’s a device free zone. It’s distracting for everyone and beyond that, participants are missing a prime opportunity to build networks and establish relationships. Phones and other devices distract participants from being fully present and diminish their contribution. Building rapport is so much more effective with eye contact. To calm anxiety about being off the grid, schedule short phone breaks every 30 to 45 minutes. If you see someone using their device, nicely invite them to step out and return when they’re ready.
  8. 8. Executive Summary  Long term client  Competitive pricing  Strong relationships  Global footprint  Product gaps (reporting and billing)  US is a key market not with Egencia  New markets in Scandinavia where we are strong  Mobile first strategy so keen on our app  Introduce Global AM  CWT have already been in to discuss  Outsourced consultant leading RFP  Commission return is a key driver  Want full disclosure on earnings (P&L) STICK TO STRATEGY Business reviews should propel your clients’ program forward. You’ve only got 90 minutes – if you’re lucky. Keep operational matters separate so the meeting is focused on transformational objectives. Examine topics that may deliver meaningful value over the long-term. Leave the low hanging fruit for another time. Document your strategic plans, track progress and regularly share how you are performing against target. Discuss product roadmaps and enhancements to highlight how your solution is adapting to client needs. End on a positive note. Recap all the successes so far as well as the exciting plans you’ve just made.
  9. 9. Executive Summary  Long term client  Competitive pricing  Strong relationships  Global footprint  Product gaps (reporting and billing)  US is a key market not with Egencia  New markets in Scandinavia where we are strong  Mobile first strategy so keen on our app  Introduce Global AM  CWT have already been in to discuss  Outsourced consultant leading RFP  Commission return is a key driver  Want full disclosure on earnings (P&L) AVOID THE PAST You want to learn from history not re- live it. No more than 30% of the meeting should be about past results. Discuss what influenced them and how they are relevant to future strategy. The rest of the meeting must be about what’s next. Some clients dwell in the past. Acknowledge issues and more importantly, the resolutions. Stay forward focused. The business review is about making decisions to move the program towards targets. Analyse service incidents and support tickets in advance so you are aware of trends and can provide context. Don’t ignore negative feedback. It may reveal underlying issues that are part of a wider problem.
  10. 10. Executive Summary  Long term client  Competitive pricing  Strong relationships  Global footprint  Product gaps (reporting and billing)  US is a key market not with Egencia  New markets in Scandinavia where we are strong  Mobile first strategy so keen on our app  Introduce Global AM  CWT have already been in to discuss  Outsourced consultant leading RFP  Commission return is a key driver  Want full disclosure on earnings (P&L) CELEBRATE SUCCESSThe review is the ideal forum to share successes: what has gone well and why. Take time to recognise achievement and the positive impact the partnership between you and the client has had to their business Shout your achievements out loud and help your client get the good news out to the rest of their business. Money talks. Highlight savings and reduced costs but don’t forget about other value-led achievements. Showcase your key contacts’ contribution. Recognition helps their credibility when asking for support. Use charts, diagrams and pictures to represent your data visually. It will have much more impact.
  11. 11. Executive Summary  Long term client  Competitive pricing  Strong relationships  Global footprint  Product gaps (reporting and billing)  US is a key market not with Egencia  New markets in Scandinavia where we are strong  Mobile first strategy so keen on our app  Introduce Global AM  CWT have already been in to discuss  Outsourced consultant leading RFP  Commission return is a key driver  Want full disclosure on earnings (P&L) FOCUS ON GAPS Define the future state, analyse the current state and identify how to get from here to there. Embrace innovation. Get agreement on actions during the review and then make the magic happen. Strategy is supposed to be disruptive. Don’t play it safe. Let your client know it’s OK to rock the boat once in a while Giant leaps or baby steps. It doesn’t matter. Identify the objective and the target, build the plan and then get started. Things don’t always go according to plan. Make sure your plan is agile enough to respond to curve balls. Adopt the Kaizen principle of change for the better through a strategy of continuous improvement.
  12. 12. Executive Summary  Long term client  Competitive pricing  Strong relationships  Global footprint  Product gaps (reporting and billing)  US is a key market not with Egencia  New markets in Scandinavia where we are strong  Mobile first strategy so keen on our app  Introduce Global AM  CWT have already been in to discuss  Outsourced consultant leading RFP  Commission return is a key driver  Want full disclosure on earnings (P&L) So what? What now? Ask yourself these two vital questions for any action you agree, any recommendation you make and any data you present. If you can’t answer them, don’t go there until you can. Turn your to-do list into a plan by grouping similar activities and keeping track of them throughout the year Not every recommendation you make will be gold. Let go of the ones that your client doesn’t respond to. The business review is an ongoing cycle of monitoring and evaluation. Review. Plan. Do. Asking yourself “so what” and “what now” can be applied to any situation. It’s a game changer.
  13. 13. Want to know more? Account Manager Tips is an online resource helping you launch and nurture your account management career. For an in-depth look at how to get the most out of your next business review visit: amtip.co/reviews

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