Working as a key client manager in a professional services firm is no easy task. You have to juggle a multitude of skills and wear a number of different hats, including delivering work! Some client managers are highly analytical, others are charming extroverts. Regardless of style, the most effective managers possess a wide variety of skills that help them succeed.
Here are TEN that we believe every highly effective key client manager should have.
1. Understanding of your client’s business: Firstly, they need to understand the client in terms of markets they operate in, competitors, objectives, challenges etc. They should be aware of the client’s Critical Success Factors including a knowledge of ‘horizon issues’ which allows them to be proactive.
2. Problem Solver: Has the ability to offer compelling solutions to client challenges. They should also understand their own firm’s wider offering so that they can tap into these for the benefit of the client.
3. Industry Knowledge: Has his/her ‘ear to the ground’ in terms of market intelligence, relevant industry news and gossip which he/she can pass on to the client. They should also have Trusted Advisor [http://trustedadvisor.com/why-trust-matters/understanding-trust/understanding-the-trust-equation] status with senior people at the client, allowing them to be in the best position to advise their client on how to progress successful in their field.
4. Innovative Thinker: Able to bring creative insight to client’s businesses, helping them to deliver a competitive advantage and stay one step ahead of competitors.
5. A Leader: Someone who builds and leads high performing teams from cross-functional areas and isn't driven by personal ego but by team success. Being a collaborative leader is vital as it encourages the team to create and deliver plans.
6. A Motivator: They recognise the important of rewarding teams and celebrating success for achieving milestones. Can balance their own time between the requirements of the client, his/her firm and the team, and ensures that all members of the team are equipped with necessary skills.
7. A Head for Numbers: Understands profit & loss and how to read financial reports. They also treat the account like his/her business and is responsible for setting and achieving financial targets, taking responsibility for budget control and the allocation of resources.
8. Troubleshooter: Someone who keeps an eye out for potential problems and manages potential concerns, being brilliant at assessing the risks and flagging them up to clients and their own management when relevant.
9. Relationship Director: Builds and manages relationships internally and externally with all relevant stakeholders. Also has the ability to relate to people at all levels, from CEO to ‘shop floor’, ensuring commitment and enthusiasm from all key people.
10. Relationship Management: Manages a ‘relationship mapping tool’ to ensure that appropriate ‘man-marking’ is taking place. Encourages and develops the ‘Hidden Sales Force’, understands their role and are developed accordingly.