Key Client Programs

How well do you service and manage your top clients? Do you have a structured plan in place for identifying your most important clients of the future, and how you’re going to do it?

If you don’t, you’re not only risking losing existing clients and missing opportunities to win more of their work across all of your capability areas, but you’re missing the boat with potential clients altogether as well.

One of the best ways to make sure you’re building strong relationships with new and potential clients, and growing revenue, profits and client satisfaction, is to put in place a key client program – an idea that often sends up a shiver up people’s spines. It’s something they know they should do….but many people have had bad experiences with unsuccessful programs in the past, or simply don’t know where to start.

The key is having the capacity and willingness to do it, and visible support and commitment from your organisations leadership team.

We help our clients establish and manage their key client programs so they can realise the benefits, including:

  • Higher level relationships in client organisations with senior decision makers.
  • Relational not transactional relationships, which focus less on price.
  • Maximising cross-selling opportunities across your various capabilities.
  • Proactive planning to unseat competitors.
  • Revenue and profit growth – from both new and existing accounts.
  • Creating true value for both you and the client, and great satisfaction in your services for the client. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, customer satisfaction increases 20% within a few years of starting a key account management program.

What help are you looking for?

I’m looking for help setting up a key client program.

I’m looking for help maintaining/embedding my key client program.

I’m looking for help running my key client workshops.

Setting up your key client program

Thinking about setting up a key client program, but not sure where to start?

Getting your program right from the get go is essential for it’s long-term success. Too many times we see clients launch into their programs without having the right foundations in place. Some of the challenges you might be facing in setting up your program include:

  • No clarity on what kinds of clients you should select.
  • The planned program is not clearly linked to your business or client strategy.
  • You’ve earmarked too many clients – one client we worked with had 240! – because everyone wants ‘their’ client in the program.
  • You’re facing resistance from a vocal few – people who have been there, done that, and didn’t think it worked, or thought it was all about the reporting, and think it’s all a waste of time.
  • No clarity on who should be doing what – from running the program, to communicating about it, to running and being part of the client teams.
  • They are unclear on what and how to measure their success.
  • What templates and tools you need in place to run the program.
  • Knowing what skills your client teams need.
We can help you to:
  • Link your key client program to your business strategy.
  • Define the various program roles.
  • Determine the selection criteria for including clients in the program.
  • Run launch workshops with key internal decision makers to narrow down your client list, and engage the key stakeholders.
  • Establishing the appropriate tools and templates that meet your reporting requirements, but are still valuable and don’t drown the users.
  • Provide advice on skills gaps, and if appropriate, train your client teams with the necessary skills through our ENGAGE B2B Sales Training program, or online programs The Client Magnet and The Meeting Magnet.
  • Establish their ongoing processes and communications plan.

Maintaining/embedding your key client program

So you’ve got a key client program set up….well done!

But perhaps you are not seeing the results you hoped for:
  • teams have done their initial workshops, but getting them to follow up their actions and maintain their momentum is tough. There is little to no accountability.
  • Some of your key client leaders might be saying they just don’t have time.
  • Maybe people aren’t clear on who’s doing what.
  • There is a lack of communication within teams, between teams, and throughout your organisation about the program.
  • You are yet to see any real impact on revenue or profit growth, or an increase in client satisfaction.
  • It’s become clear that some of your teams lack the necessary client relationship skills, or maybe they just need to go to the next level.
  • There is no reward and recognition process in place to celebrate team and program successes.
  • You’re bogged down in reporting and paperwork.
  • You have way too many clients, and know you weren’t selective enough.
  • Some of your clients in the program aren’t right and need to be moved out.

Or maybe you’ve been running the program for years, with some success, but it’s time to review your approach and inject some new thinking into your program.

We can help you to:
  • Review your existing program and provide recommendations for change.
  • Help you put in place processes that drive accountability.
  • Get some clarity around your program roles.
  • Review and develop your communications plan.
  • Develop a reward and recognition program.
  • Provide advice on skills gaps, and if appropriate, train your client teams with the necessary skills through our ENGAGE B2B Sales Training program, or online programs The Client Magnet and The Meeting Magnet.

Running key client workshops

Once you have your program established and your clients selected and client teams in place, your client teams need to kick off with a client workshop in order to develop their plan.

This workshop is critical to setting the client team on the right path, and making sure that both short and long term actions to develop and strengthen the relationship with the client are in place.

We can help you to run your key client workshops for single or multiple clients:
  • Single client – 2.5 hours.
  • 2-3 clients in one workshop – 4 hours.
  • The focus of the workshop is on:
  • Mapping the relationships within the client account (both new and existing).
  • Demonstrating an understanding of the client’s vision and goals.
  • Prioritising focus areas for your relationship building efforts based on the client’s objectives and opportunities.
  • Identify how you can crate value for the client.
  • Creating clear and measurable actions.
  • Setting relationship and financial targets.
  • Useful Resources

    Creating Value in Key Accounts by Mark Lubkeman and Vikas Taneja

    How to Succeed at Key Account Management by Lynette Ryals

    Unpacking the Meaning of Value in Key Account Management by Catherine Pardo, Stephan C. Henneberg, Stefanos Mouzas and Peter Naude.

    Managing Global Accounts by George S. Yip and Audrey J.M. Bink

    Key Account Management: The Ultimate Guide by Aja Frost

    Key Account Management by David Maister

    Want to find out more?

    To find out more about how we can help you establish or improve the effectiveness of your key client program, please get in touch.