You don’t know what you don’t know
What isn’t your client telling you?
Dig below the surface and you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Spill the beans: ask these questions
- What does your client do?
- How does your company manage relationships with your customers?
- What are the challenges in your clients’ business right now?
- Who are their competitors?
- What makes them unique?
- Any macroeconomic forces are at work? Industry challenges that might impact how they use your products or services
- Have you set up your social media feeds: Google news alerts, followed them on LinkedIn and Twitter?
- What is their company culture?
- Why did you win their business?
- What needs did you address and are you still meeting them?
- Are those needs the same or have they changed?
- Has their budget for your category changed this year and how did they forecast it?
- What is the decision-making process for your point of contact’s (POC) department?
- Have you identified all the decision makers and influencers? Who else should you be talking to?
- What are the big projects your POC is working on?
- What results is your POC expected to deliver this year?
- What evidence do they need? How do they want to track the performance of your category?
- What else does your POC do? Do they have responsibilities beyond managing your category?
- What’s keeping them up at night?
- What do they love about their job?
- What do they wish they had more time to do?
- Who are the most challenging people in their organisation and what impact do they have?
- Who does your client think we need to have a relationship with?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, rate how important is the category: is it on the radar, or off the grid?
- Has your POC’s job changed?
- Have they got more time or less to focus on your category?
- What issues come up regularly?
- How can you educate your client? Teach don’t sell.
- How can you make your client look good?
- What kind of administration do they have to do? Reports? Presentations? Communications?
- What do they care about?
- What problems do they need to be solved?
- What are the consequences for your POC in doing nothing in your category?
- What type of communication works best for them? Email, phone, face to face? Do they have any ideas on how to improve it?
- What is their process for issue resolution and management for your category?
- What would they like training on?
- What do they think about your products and services?
- What is the single most important benefit they get from you, above all else?
- Is there anything they wished you offered, but don’t?
- What do they think you could improve upon?
- What do they think makes a successful client-supplier relationship?
- How do they manage their clients?
- Could they introduce you to their teams to learn about their account management approach?
- If they need something from your business, do they know where to go?
- How can you help them?
If you get the answers to these questions you will have the knowledge to move to the next step which is to build your strategic account plan.
Does every client need a strategic account plan? Only the ones you want to keep.
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