According to new research, 77% of brands could disappear overnight, and no one would care. A lot of this hinges on customer loyalty built by trust and confidence. Particularly for B2B organizations and organizations of all sizes for that matter, an even greater part of their success rests on the quality of account management.
In this article, we’ll define account management, outline why it’s important, and show you how to do it better than your competitors with the help of monday.com Work OS.
What is account management exactly?
In technical terms, account management is a structured approach to managing a customer’s relationship with your business to maximize value, achieve mutually beneficial goals, and retain customers. This generally involves providing customers with service, support, and improvement or expansion opportunities that increase their consumption of a product or service and maximize retention.
In simple terms, account management is getting to know your customers better and earning their trust, so they stick around and continually buy more products and services from you.
They trusted you enough to purchase your products or services, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stay around forever. To keep their trust, you have to innovate and provide value continually. Account management consists of guiding product usage, offering ongoing training, and providing customer service.
What is the role of an account manager?
An account or customer manager achieves the goals discussed above primarily by developing relationships with customers. They want to truly understand the inner workings of their operations and what their goals may be. If they do that successfully, they can act as consultants who guide business decisions, answer questions, and hopefully sell the customer more products and services.
Related: Build personalized customer relationships with target-account selling (TAS)
Why is account management important?
Every organization knows that it costs more to find and acquire new customers than it does to keep your current ones happy. If nothing else, account management saves you time and money. There’s more to it than that, though.
Unlike sales roles which are about short-term gains, an account manager focuses on the long haul. Sure, you can invest more money into your customer support offering and let them call in to talk to just about anyone, but that doesn’t develop trust or loyalty. That’s more of a transactional relationship that positions you as a vendor.
True account management means becoming an advisor. You’re acting as an extension of their team, and they trust that you’ll steer their decisions correctly and have their best interests at heart. If you do that correctly, you’ll have a happy customer for years. That means you’ll reap the rewards of repeat revenue, the opportunity to sell additional products and service lines, and hopefully some word-of-mouth customer referrals that help generate more business.
How account management varies by industry
SaaS account management
Many companies are focused on having account managers sell additional service lines to grow the average recurring revenue of each customer over time. Retention is still their number one priority, but getting the customer more bought into their ecosystem will drive revenue and increase retention.
Wealth management account management
The top account managers have the highest retention level because of the deeper relationship they have with fewer total customer.
Those with fewer accounts have higher asset values, more accounts per household, and 7% lower attrition. Here, the account manager focuses not just on portfolio performance but also on understanding each family’s goals and how they can help achieve them.
Advertising account management
An account manager will act on behalf of their customer’s business to monitor campaign performance, oversee project progress, and seek out new leads. They’ll work within the customer budget and timeline constraints to optimize performance and improve the customer relationship by showing consistent results.
Healthcare account management
An account manager acts as a liaison between customer and a major medical supplier or hospital. That means undertaking contract negotiations, securing the best products, and ensuring the customer has everything they need to fully support patients.
7 ways to do account management better than the competition
People look for new partners because they have had bad experiences. They don’t feel heard, aren’t seeing a return on investment (ROI), or feel like a competitor is more innovative. As an account manager, it’s your job to not only sustain the customer relationship but actively improve it.
Here are seven ways you can enhance the customer experience in a way that everyone wins.
1. Keep the program exclusive
If you want to truly do something remarkable with your account management program, you can’t make just anyone a “strategic” account. Doing that will make your service costs skyrocket and prevent you from reaping the rewards you had in mind. Instead, find a way to deploy a simple cutoff that decides which customers deserve an extra set of eyes and ears.
It could mean picking accounts with a certain level of average recurring revenue (ARR) which means picking customers who are most profitable. Including accounts with the potential to improve ARR is also not a bad idea. Strategic account management could also be an extra layer of service that accounts can pay for, which would help justify and offset additional costs.
2. Use technology to keep relationships strong
Creating a culture that breeds customer success starts and ends with the tools your company uses. Without them, you’ll continue to throw people at problems, which is neither scalable, profitable, or ideal. Here’s where an account management platform pays for itself.
For example, monday.com provides the flexibility to create a custom account management workflow that will integrate into all areas of your business.
It will store all your customer ’s contact information like any customer relationship management CRM software does. More importantly, it’ll keep track of all your customer’s tasks and communications, which provides ongoing insight that will nurture and grow customer relationships.
Customer management really boils down to communication. That means emails, phone calls, Zoom meetings, and, if possible, in-person meetings. Customer want constant updates, quick answers to questions, and someone who’ll truly listen to their wants and needs. With monday.com, you can cut down on customer communication by providing them with an easy-to-use interface that’ll show all mutual tasks along with status, priority, notes, and timeline built-in.
You can even tag key people to notify them of updates or integrate with other tools to keep everything connected.
3. Keep account growth top of mind
As a key account manager, customer retention is always priority number one. However, a close 2nd is account growth. When your customer sees value and consistent growth, so does your potential for revenue growth. Sure, the sales strategy your company deploys will get them in the door, but that doesn’t mean the selling stops there.
A strategic account manager knows how to keep customer engagement up and knows exactly what features or products they’ve purchased and how much more room for growth exists. To keep track of all that, you need consistent reporting. monday.com is full of reports and dashboards that can help keep your growth goals top of mind at all times.
Calendar views help you keep up with important meetings and milestones, Gantt charts show mutual project progress, and workload views ensure each account manager has the perfect amount of work on their plate. Lastly, monday.com dashboards tie all your charts and visuals together in one place, so you always have a line of sight of your customer’s success.
4. Gain more bandwidth with the power of automation
As a society, we’re busier than ever. Our exclusive monday.com research found that 38% of workers felt like they could save 5+ hours each week if they had tools to automate their repetitive tasks.
With monday sales CRM, automations are essentially combinations of preconfigured triggers and their corresponding actions that enhance your workflow. In simple terms, they’re how you can tell your software to do things on its own, saving you precious time to focus on more important matters.
On monday.com, you can get unlimited access to custom automations.
Some common automation recipes for account management include:
- Notifying specific team members or entire teams when a project status changes.
- Sending automatic updates to your customers when a task is complete.
- Recurring reminders to notify your customers of upcoming meetings with their project manager.
- New tasks can receive personnel assignments, due dates, and status based on certain criteria.
The possibilities with account management are truly endless, especially when you pair them to monday.com’s integrations with tools like Zapier, which connects with 3,000+ apps.
5. Keep refining your skills as an account manager
Acquiring desirable account manager skills comes down to experience and training. With time, your customers will throw all sorts of unique scenarios your way, and each one will present an opportunity for learning new skills, creating connections, and building confidence.
Experience is often the best teacher since there’s usually no option other than providing value and meeting your customer’s needs. Proactively seeking out training opportunities to grow outside of your normal day-to-day takes commitment. It means sacrificing some of your already limited time as an account manager to work on yourself.
Here are a handful of ways to learn new skills that aren’t industry-specific:
- Attending community college or university classes on subjects like communication, data analysis, or other topics more specific to your industry.
- Attending professional conferences or webinars that help you learn tactics from the best in the industry.
- Read books or watch documentaries that either challenge your thinking or outline fresh ways of doing things.
- Identify the top account managers in your company or industry and reach out to them to pick their brain, shadow calls, or ask for advice.
As you can see, the list of ways you can grow your worth to an organization and customers is seemingly endless. Finding opportunities is easy; sticking with them when you get busy is where it gets tricky.
6. Leverage the power of business reviews
What does successful account management actually look like?It’s not enough to answer your customer’s questions when they pop up. In fact, that’s quite literally the bare minimum to keeping a customer satisfied with their purchase. To really wow them and develop a relationship, you have to continue to provide value.
That means reaching out proactively to share new ideas, industry insights, and possible solutions to problems. One of the best ways to do that is with what many call Executive Business Reviews (EBRs). In these reviews, account managers run reports and gather insights to offer up guidance to customers.
What kind of guidance, you ask?
- Outlining the features they haven’t adopted yet and clearly showing what sort of impact doing so would make on their productivity or bottom line
- Explaining new trends or shifts in the market your organization identifies through its own research and how they can make more informed decisions accordingly
- Review your customer’s quarterly and annual goals and offer advice on how they can shift resources, invest in new technologies, or make changes that’ll help meet them
monday.com can help you plan these EBRs, schedule them, and keep detailed notes so every 2-4 quarters, you can ensure that you’re reaching out and discussing these relevant ideas that benefit everyone.
7. Get ahead of renewals and critical decisions
As an account manager, anticipating your customers wants and needs is a big deal. Ideally, you’d know what they need before they need it and offer up solutions before they know they have a problem. At the very least, you need to know where the account stands at all times and what level of risk you’re at for getting a letter of cancellation.
That means keeping constant communication with your customers from top to bottom. It also means surveying the decision-makers for satisfaction at regular intervals.
Sending such surveys feels effortless with monday.com. Setting up a survey is as easy as creating a board with questions and rating columns. You can then schedule your surveys by adding each contact at your customer’s company along with their email addresses and assigned account manager.
You can automate this by creating a date trigger to send the survey at specific intervals throughout the year. Then, just sit back and watch feedback for each existing account roll in. With a tight pulse on your book of customers, consistent positive reviews, and a general sense of satisfaction, you can more accurately predict customer retention and stay 2 steps ahead of any dissatisfaction.
You can also report up the chain to get more resources and keep customers happy or anticipate attrition so your sales team can work harder to get new customers.
Deploying strategic account management with monday.com
monday.com sounds like a powerful ally in the account management space, but it’s far more than just a strategic account management tool. It’s a complete Work OS where anyone can create custom workflows that enhance productivity and the customer experience.
Here’s a short video that explains how effective customer request management looks on monday.com:
Here are some other ways monday.com gives you a competitive edge in account management:
- Advanced board filtering that makes it simple to sort large tasks list by customer, account manager, task type, due dates, priority, and more.
- Full-featured mobile apps keep you in touch with customers and project performance on the go.
- Integrated task checklists for any and every task, which lowers the likelihood of human error and continually makes your team look organized.
- Robust internal communication and collaboration tools make it easy to get help when you’re stuck, provide status updates, or provide a little encouragement or feedback.
- Document storage so your account managers and customers always are on the same page with the most up-to-date document versions.
That’s just a little of what monday.com can do to provide value to your organization and your ability to improve the customer experience.
Build strong relationships through effective account management on monday.com
The REAL answer to “how can we retain the customers we have?” is monday.com. It stores all your customer’s contact info, saves notes on each interaction, organizes all your files, and ties your software together. As a result, you’re more productive and infinitely more effective at nurturing customers.