Your main purpose as a Key Account Manager is to know your clients inside and out. You work to identify their problems so you can provide solutions. You learn about their long-term goals so you can provide the tools they need to reach their goals.
That being said, do you know what keeps your customers up at night? Do you know their specific stress points, goals, aspirations, and concerns? It can be hard to get to the root of the problem if you aren’t spending a significant amount of time working with the customer and asking the right questions. That being said, if you want to efficiently nourish and grow the relationship for years to come, you need to know their pain points among the other things that keep them up at night.
Here are a few tips to help you better understand your key accounts and how you can provide better solutions for them as a Key Account Manager.
How to Find the Right Questions to Ask
To open up the lanes of effective communication that provides better insight into your key account’s most significant problems, you need to know the right questions to ask. Along with the simple questions like “What are your long-term goals?” you can also ask deeper questions that get right to the point such as “What keeps you up at night?”
You might be surprised the answers that you’ll receive from your key accounts, and each client will have a different response related to their own specific goals. There are a few things that you should keep in mind during your Voice of Customer interviews related to the types of questions that you ask, however.
Never Lead Your Client with Your Questions
Many times, account managers will make the mistake of asking leading questions during the VOC interviews. Your primary goal of each question is to learn a new truth about the relationship or the client’s goals, and when you ask questions that ultimately lead them to one answer, you both gain nothing, and it’s a waste of time.
You want your customers to choose their own words when answering, not what they think is the “right” answer. When you ask leading questions, you end up with poor-quality answers that are typically slanted, false, and harmful to both you and the account.
Ask How Your Products or Services Are Helping Them
Do you know exactly how your services are helping your client or do you just push solutions onto them without giving it much thought? Chances are that you probably fall somewhere between those two ends of the spectrum, but there is always more that can be done to gain a new understanding to how your services and products are affecting your key accounts.
Ask them this simple question, and you might be able to uncover underlying pain or stress points. For instance, they might give an answer that sounds similar to “Well everything seems to be going great using product Y, but it would really help our bottom line if we could do X in the future.” These are key insights into how your client thinks and what they worry about, and you can then jump to provide new solutions for their problems.
Make Your Questions Personal
Especially if you have a large client-base, it is crucial to the relationship with each client that your questions are personal to show that you genuinely care about their continued success. Key accounts have a way of knowing which questions you ask other clients and which ones are specifically tailored to them. If your questions are vague and generic, you won’t be able to learn the genuine pain points of the client, and you’ll get the same cookie-cutter responses that you received from the other clients that you asked the same questions.
To avoid these same, boring answers, you need to ask cutting questions that are specifically related to the client and the information that you already know about them. When you ask personal questions of clients, you’ll be able to identify potential risks or problems and then craft a strategy to provide solutions quickly, so the potential risk is mitigated.
Pay Attention to Your Client’s Changing Goals
Over time your key accounts will have shifting goals and expectations. One of the most significant things that might be keeping them up at night might be their worry that their service provider won’t be able to keep up with them over time and their business goals and expectations change. This fear is more common than you might think which is why it is crucial that you always stay up to date with your client’s goals and objectives.
Ask them during the VOC interview about any changes to their game plan or goals that might have occurred since the last interview. It may surprise you that their goals or success indicators are much different than they were a couple of months ago. With these shifting goals in mind, you can create a more accurate strategy to provide them with the tools they need for success in the long haul.
How Kapta Can Help
It can be hard to manage all of these different pain points, goals, and expectations for each of your clients when you’re stuck using stone-age spreadsheets and faulty CRM platforms. Kapta was designed specifically for Key Account Managers so they can effectively optimize their workflow and focus on the things that really matter in relationship management. Related to finding your customer’s pain points, the powerful VOC insight tools built into the platform will help you manage the customer’s expectations, initiatives, and necessities for their continuous success.
Within Kapta you can also track and manage customer metrics and other KPIs to make sure that you are on the right track and consistently exceeding your key account’s expectations. Key Account Management doesn’t need to be complicated anymore, and with a powerful platform at your disposal, the possibilities are endless. To try Kapta, schedule your free demo today.