Most of us are familiar with the concept of a pursuit team. This is a group of experts assembled to close a $MM strategic deal. Usually there is a lead – your CEO or VP Sales – and this person will be matched with the CEO or CFO at the client. The technical exec is paired with the client technical exec and so on. A key member of this team functions as a project manager – a do-er. This person is arranging all the conference calls, reporting on the pursuit success / failure milestones, making sure all the executive do what they say they are going to do, and builds relationships with many of the constituents at the client site.
What usually happens as the deal is closed or lost? The team dissolves and one person is responsible for managing the relationship.
A successful Client Relationship Team is useful for your strategic client relationships. If you built a pursuit team – it is likely that the client will warrant a Relationship Team and is built with many people at your company:
Executive Sponsor – > This person is the one who calls the Executive Sponsor @ the client quarterly. The good, bad and ugly are discussed and the cadence for live (or webex) executive briefings is confirmed. This person co-signs your holiday card.
Relationship Point Person -> Knows everything about the client and their market possible – weekly review of action items – regular quarterly visits with multiple contacts – messages your company’s agenda regularly and messages client agenda back to your team regularly.
Relationship Support People -> (2) key roles are: a) your junior client relationship rep – calls multiple people regularly (as much as 1x/week – min 1x/mo), arranges visits, and will often find out important info for the team to leverage. b) your technical expert – which may chance depending on what projects are on the table.
Marketing Support -> what messages are being sent to the client. Will they resonate? Understand your marketing and trade show calendars and ensure your company is talking about things your clients will want to hear. Marketing should be feeding you the latest
Overall, the days of the single contact point for your customers is over. Your competition is better, faster, smarter and stronger than ever before. You must be current, relevant and trustworthy to be a valued client partner.
Stand by for Parts 1 and 2:
What Makes a Great Salesperson – Relationships or Behaviors? Part 1 of 3
How Often Should You Call, eMail, or Social Your Client? Part 2 of 3