What I have tried to do each week is write an article to provide useful and practical information that can be used by anyone who has key relationships with their accounts i.e. clients or customers. That spreads the net rather wide doesn’t it? We all have customers whether they are internal or external to our organization.

What I have tried to do is put myself in your shoes and ask what is it that I would like to know more about or what’s worth thinking about that will help me do a better job now and in the future.

Sometimes I just feel I’m talking to myself. The silence is deafening only to be broken by the sound of crickets. However, what I have realized is that it is probably because I was thinking more about what would impress clients rather than providing what would help. I focused on how many view’s, likes and comments could I get garner rather than on genuine insights that could be used.

This week, I’m hoping to change that. I’m going to post what I think are interesting and useful insights and do it because I think it will really help rather than just trying to sound and look like I’m trying to help.

Recently I have been updating my website, writing my marketing plan and initiating a network in Minneapolis, a new area to which we recently moved. During these projects I found myself putting myself in my audience’s situation more and more and I started to formalize questions that I have been asking over the years when assessing the success or failure of my strategy with our main customers. I’d like to share these.

I have coined them “The 18 Primary Relationship Diagnostics” and although by no means exhaustive, they have helped me really focus on the current situation with each account and what needs to be done to succeed. Here they are:

1. What percent of your business is derived from the top 2-3 accounts?

2. Are our top accounts growing as fast as we would like? (Profit, units, revenue)

3. Do our top accounts allow us get involved in revenue opportunities with them?

4. How many people from our own company have direct contact and influence with these accounts and who are they?

5. How many people at the account do those people interact with on a regular basis?

6. Have we got a rating system for grading the strength of the relationships with the accounts?

7. Are we sure what roles each of the key contacts play in the account?

8. Are we sure we are talking to all the people in the decision-making or influencing process? And if not, whom are we missing?

9. Have we got a Coach in the accounts?

10. Do we have a clear, written plan that will ensure we focus on improvements in relationships with the account?

11. Do we have a strategic partnership with our top 3 accounts? maybe make #3

12. Are we confident we have the optimal coverage vertically and horizontally for all customer contacts?

13. Have we prioritized who we should be spending our time with and why?

14. Is our senior management engaged with some of the accounts senior management and is there a plan?

15. Does our account team have regular reviews (quarterly) of the key relationships in the accounts?

16. Does the account team have SMART Goals to improve relationships with the top accounts?

17. Are there detailed plans to ensure the goals are achieved?

18. Do we have a yearly customer relationship plan for our top accounts which details with who and how we need to improve relationships?

 These 18 questions will determine your account strategy by revealing how strategic or tactical your customer plans are.

Have you asked these 18 questions? What did you reveal? Has it changed your focus on the top accounts?

About the Author:

I am the customer relationship mentor, who helps those responsible for their company’s most important customers, to build and maintain their customer relationships and keep them happy, so that they can protect & grow their business.

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