The argument as to whether Key Client Management is something most professional services firms should or should not do came to the conclusion of a resounding YES many years ago.
The success of those programmes has varied with many organisations reporting huge increases in fees from their most key clients and others suggesting the jury is still out.
One of the big factors between success and failure is leadership.
Who and how these client teams are run has a direct effect on the return on investment. In this blog we break down all of the attributes required of the best Key Client Managers.
A Strategic Business Advisor
- Understands the client’s business in depth, aware of their Critical Success Factors.
- Knowledge of client’s ‘horizon issues’ allowing him/her to proactively develop solutions.
- Delivers compelling solutions to client challenges.
- Understands his/her wider firm’s offering, skills and resources and can tap into these for the benefit of the client.
- Innovative thinker, able to bring creative insight to client’s business helping them to achieve competitive advantage.
- Has his/her ‘ear to the ground’ in terms of market intelligence, relevant industry news and gossip which he/she passes on the client.
- Has Trusted Adviser status with senior people at the client.
- Shares appropriate components of the KCM plan with client.
- Introduces and ‘sells’ client satisfaction programme and subsequently implements findings.
An Effective Team Leader
- Builds and leads high performing teams from cross-functional areas.
- Not driven by personal ego but by team success.
- Is a collaborative leader who encourages the team to create and deliver plans.
- Sets direction for team members and motivates them to deliver without direct management control.
- Works with team to set and deliver targets.
- Rewards team and celebrates success for achieving milestones.
- Can balance own time between the requirements of the client, his/her firm and the team.
- Ensures that all members of the team are equipped with necessary skills*.
- Does not allow inappropriate behaviour to stand in the way of achieving team objectives.
- Runs interesting and fruitful key client team meetings.
An Excellent Business Manager
- Understands Profit & Loss and how to read financial reports.
- Treats the account like his/her business and is responsible for setting and achieving financial targets.
- Responsible for budget control, allocation of resources e.g. marketing and entertainment.
- Assesses risk and flags concerns.
A Powerful Relationships Director
- Builds and manages relationships internally and externally with all relevant stakeholders.
- Has the ability to relate to people at all levels from CEO to ‘shop floor’.
- Manages a relationship mapping tool to ensure that all key people are covered.
- Ensures that the ‘Hidden Sales Force’ understands their role and are developed accordingly.
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