The Silent Majority? Taking steps to eliminate vulnerable accounts by: Rick Reynolds, AskForensics
hen it comes to growing the business and increasing sales, most business owners look to new customers and accounts. However, did you know that your biggest account wins could be with the clients you already have? Strengthening your relationships with existing customers is the most cost-effective and efficient way to grow your business. This process often starts with assessing whether your current accounts are strong, vulnerable or damaged. Strong, Vulnerable or Damaged? While every business is unique, there are a number of common causes for lost sales and vulnerable accounts. If you want to win more deals and retain existing accounts, you need to be able to identify the early warning signs of customer dissatisfaction. You can then create a plan of action and address issues before they cause irreversible damage to a customer relationship — and possibly cause you to lose the account. Customer accounts can be classified as strong, vulnerable or damaged. In a strong account, your corporate and customer-facing sales and account teams are fully in sync and aligned. They are on the same page with each other and the customer. They know what needs to be done and they focus on improving the customer’s business. Your account team members have successfully become trusted advisors and are part of your customer’s internal team. In a vulnerable account, there are percolating issues that, if left undetected and unresolved, can escalate and become festering and growing concerns. These issues can hurt your chances for expansion and renewal. Many, if not most, of the qualities that exist in a strong account are absent in a vulnerable account. In a damaged account, you are susceptible to losing the account, perhaps even before the contract expires. Immediate triage is needed to salvage the account and there is little time to waste. Who is Vulnerable? Although you may assume that your accounts are strong, you may not be aware that some of your most strategic
accounts are vulnerable or even damaged. Data from the 2016 B2B AskForensics Sales Analysis, which features sales and account data from B2B executives of accounts totaling more than $2.3 billion in total contract value with an average account size of $16.8 million, reveals that, on average, 87 percent of the accounts profiled are vulnerable or damaged. Some of these customers may seem happy, but are, in fact, thinking about going elsewhere. It is critical that companies attend to and monitor vulnerable accounts with the appropriate resources and care so they do not turn into damaged accounts. Top Predictors of Vulnerable Accounts In our data, we identified elements that lead to accounts becoming vulnerable. Reversing or addressing these areas can help you strengthen these accounts. The top issues we identified: a lack of account support; insufficient service quality; and insufficient communication, reporting and analysis. In vulnerable accounts, our data reveals that customers were unsatisfied with their account support 48 percent of the time. For example, one of the greatest dangers to customer accounts is an unresolved problem that festers beneath the surface for an extended period of time without being acknowledged or addressed. To avoid this danger, all levels of your corporate and customer-facing teams must be responsive and on the same page.
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