If you believe business is built on relationships, make building them your business. Scott Stratten
I lunched with a good friend of mine late last week who works with a large multinational insurance brokerage. Like many of us, he is in the strategic planning part of the year, with a big presentation to his Board this week.
The focus of his presentation, again like many of us right now, is how to grow client revenues in 2011. He instantly got my interest – sometimes businesses we train can be obsessed with getting new clients, while they ignore the rich veins of gold sitting within their own database. When we show clients how to mine it effectively, the whole selling culture changes. So I asked for him to tell me more, and I particularly liked his 3-step approach to strategic client planning which I’m going to share with you now:
a. Create: A simple matrix with time allocated to “Win”, “Grow” and “Defend” clients in 2011. Each client belonging to the Account Manager belongs in one (or more) of the columns.
b. Project: Ask his team to put together a range of projection strategies in 2011 to help Win, Grow and Defend business. For example, they might know that new potential client Tesco is be going out to tender this year – they go into the WIN column with a range of strategies and actions before, during and after the bid. Existing client Waterstones might not have billed much in 2010 – so they go into the GROW column, with a specific range of strategies to supercharge their spend. And old client Penguin Books might have had a turnover of key staff, therefore being on shaky ground and needing special attention – so they are put into the DEFEND column, which might involve some extra love from the Board.
c. Execute: Each month the team writes a short report with an approximate time allocation to each column. Something simple – “Spent 4 days developing innovative solution for Tesco pitch”. That way Management can assess the time spent on various activities within the business, and adjustments can be made.
The reason I like this model is that it’s simple, it has a strong relationship focus, it identifies strengths and weaknesses in your client base, it’s got an easy to remember bunker-room type description, and it focuses on results. It won’t be right for everyone – but maybe you can adapt it for your type of environment.
If so, let me know what you came up with!