Building a strong relationship with a new client often takes time and is largely dictated by the results you deliver to them. Getting that relationship off to the best possible start requires you as an account manager showing a passion and commitment to the industry itself, but more specifically to the individual business you are working with.
During the sales process we’ll demonstrate our knowledge of the market they operate within through relevant case studies and testimonials so it’s often the case that by the time the campaign starts, the client is already bought into the fact that we know the market like a London cabbie knows a map of the capital city.
What many of our clients need to see from us at this point is that we know their business and that we’re always striving to learn more and more about them as people and as a company. Immersing ourselves in the client’s world makes us superior account managers because it allows us to take on the role of their marketing department – just as if we were an in house team.
Here’s how we go about immersing ourselves in the client’s world.
We ask them a series of highly commercial questions, straight off the bat.
From their elevator pitch to their profit margin, we have a series of questions that we want answers to at the very start of the campaign. These questions sometimes prove difficult for the client to answer, but it allows us to demonstrate that we are highly commercial with a passion to seek the credentials of their business. This often leads to the client seeking that information; a useful exercise for themselves as well as us.
When it comes to profit margin – this can be a cagey subject. We’re always very clear about why we ask this. Ultimately, we want to report as accurately as possible on ROI for our clients each month. If we see in Google Analytics that they have had 100 more conversions than the previous month then that’s great, but what’s even better is if we can attach monetary value to each one of them and show them the increased profit their website is generating. One area we’re also keen to establish is the lifetime value of that conversion, for instance if that client is a gym and the conversion is a sign up to a club, what’s the average membership length? If it’s a year we can take that initial conversion figure and multiply it by 12 months to give an average lifetime profit.
We endeavour to spend a day at their office
Where possible, we’re getting our account managers to spend a day a month working onsite at the client’s premises. This is the most literal sense of what we mean by immersing yourself in the client’s world! You’ll get the opportunity to engage with the team at all different levels and it’s advisable to ask to spend time in different departments – meet with the cogs and you’ll gain a much deeper understanding of the machine. By doing the day, you’ll be privy to “a day in the life of” situation whereby you see your client in action on a typical day for them which can be massively eye opening.
We attend their events as if we were their target audience
Although your daily dealings with the client may be solely restricted to their presence in the online world, you should always have a knowledge of their offline activities. Attending events they are putting on such as open days, training sessions and award ceremonies are key to ensuring the client knows how invested in their company you are. You’ll learn an awful lot about the company by getting involved in their offline efforts and by viewing events as their target audience, you’ll be able to offer valuable feedback to them that they may ordinarily not receive. It’s mutually beneficial to jump into their offline world – if you only ever deal with the online side then you’ll only ever be immersing yourself in one part of the business.
Ask the challenging commercial questions, take the time to work onsite and get involved in their offline efforts – by doing these things you’re demonstrating huge passion and commitment to the client and giving yourself the best platform to deliver a campaign based on excellent knowledge of the company and the market as a whole.