The key to a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship with clients is simple: stay in touch. Easier said than done when you have a dozen clients and hundreds of stakeholders. Follow these tips for effective and efficient communication to make sure your clients don't slip away (and into the arms of a competitor).
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Too many clients, not enough time
Key account managers have a lot of clients. Within each one of those will be dozens of contacts. From procurement, to executives, to end users and everything in between. Multiply them and you'll easily reach 100+ people you should be in regular contact with.
How do you maintain those critical customer relationships, especially as you grow, get more accounts, launch more services, solve more issues?
It will get real overwhelming, real quick, without a system.
12 tips to keep in touch with your client
It's not easy to stay in touch with so many clients. But neglecting those relationships is not an option.
Trust me, absence does not make the heart grow fonder. Absence makes the heart find a competitor to do business with.
So here are some ideas to help you improve the quality and efficiency of your client communications.
1. Create a relationship map and contact plan
A relationship map collects information about your key contacts, how they feel about you, their business drivers, how frequently you should stay in touch and so much more. Use free tools like GetDex or Airtable to take advantage of automations and integrations that make keeping in touch a breeze.
2. Automate where possible
Many of the tools you use have automation capabilities, so check out the help sections to see what integrations or functions they offer. For example, my CRM (Salesmate) has sequences and email templates that allow me to setup set up a personalized conversational flow. And tools like Zapier and Power Automate can connect separate applications to automate your communication processes and workflow.
3. Share the load
You don't have to be the only one in your organization communicating with key stakeholders. Setup and executive sponsorship program to connect executives, or encourage subject matter experts to take the lead on client conversations relevant to them.
4. Create a knowledge base for frontline teams
A knowledge base is vital to improve internal communication and support your frontline teams in dealing with clients. You can set this up easily in tools like Microsoft Teams (using OneNote) or Notion.
Think like a marketer and design your client communications like campaigns. Group similar clients together into categories. Then when you find something worth sharing with them, you can send that same email (with some tweaking) to dozens of people, instead of one. Use mail merge to send bulk emails to make fast work of this strategy.
6. Use meeting scheduling apps
Meeting scheduling software enhances client communication by automating the appointment booking process. Share your online meeting scheduling link with your clients and encourage them to use it anytime they'd like to talk to you. I use Dotcal and absolutely love it. Click here to get 50% of your first 6 months and give it a try.
7. Use multiple channels
Don't just rely on email. Find out where your clients hang out and communicate with them there: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram. Also don't underestimate the value of a spontaneous phone call.
8. Use project management tools
These platforms are perfect to collaborate asynchronously. Centralise all your client communication, account plans and related activities in one place. Use the integrated communication and comment features to stay in touch easily and quickly. My project management tool of choice is ClickUp.
9. Create external Teams and Slack channels
A vastly underutilised feature of communication tools is the ability to create external channels to move conversations out of email and bring them together in one space. It makes sense to communicate with your clients using the same tools they do. Find out more on how to do this with Slack Connect and Microsoft Teams.
10. Create recurring milestone meetings
There's no reason not to schedule all your regular client meetings for the entire year, NOW. That way even if time slips away, you have your regular touchpoints in the calendar so your clients don't.
Too many key account managers arrange their quarterly reviews as they go. Imagine if you have 10 clients. That's 40 reviews your scheduling on an adhoc basis. What a massive waste of time, not to mention you'll rarely get an appointment when you want it and you'll be delivering your Q1 reviews in Q3.
Instead, set 3-monthly recurring meetings either indefinitely or to finish at the end of the year.
11. Keep track of special occasions
Make notes of events like birthdays, vacations, children's graduations, anniversaries, charity events etc. Set reminders and drop your client a quick note to wish them the best beforehand or to ask how it was afterward.
This is a simple way to keep in touch with clients when you have nothing to say and great for building rapport.
12. Use video messages
A picture paints a thousand words. If you find yourself writing a big long email, send a video message instead. You can add context, share screen grabs, and explain more clearly than you can in words.
Create templates for frequent messages. For example you could record a video introducing yourself as a key account manager and send it to your contacts any time you get a new client.
I use Drift for all my video messaging. It's simple, free to use and no storage limits.
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Check these out
+ Logitech Brio Webcam. I decided to upgrade my webcam from HD to 4K because I spend so much time on video calls. I am thrilled with my choice of the Logitech Brio 4K (which I picked up for c. $150. I think the image quality is massively improved. See the little clip below with the before/after webcam comparison.
+ The Expansion Sale: Four Must-Win Conversations to Keep and Grow Your Customers. This is hands-down the best business book I've read this year. It provides a complete blueprint on how to have the following conversations with clients: why stay, why change, why pay more and saying sorry.
+ The KAM Club. The world's most amazing community of key account manager. Inside you'll find all the tools, templates, guides, workshops, training and coaching you need for a successful career in key account management.
Quote of the week
"Don't struggle to make your presence noticed. Just make your absence felt." ― Tinku Razoria
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