If a valued client is having issues with your services, who do you want talking them off the ledge? Perhaps you feel as though you're the best person to handle an issue like this. But don't you have other things on your plate? Many times, the person managing client accounts is a technician. While this person may be the best technician in the world, managing an account comes with a different set of responsibilities. Having designated Account Managers is something that may seem foreign to many MSPs. Well, it's time to get with the program.
What does an Account Manager even do? Well, much like the job title indicates, he/she manages the accounts of your clients. This includes everything from answering questions regarding services or prices to scheduled face-to-face meetings with your clients for Quarterly Business Reviews (QBR).
Before you think "I don't have the budget for this," take the time to look over the potential benefits that come along with hiring Account Managers. We understand that making new hires is sometimes out of the question; we'll address that later. For now, let's simply review the massive upside that Account Managers bring to your business
1. Upsell & Cross-Sell with More Success
When someone is devoted to managing the accounts of your clients, it allows the opportunity to conduct full and extensive business reviews. If you schedule these reviews with your clients on a quarterly basis, you'll be able to stay in front of them and help them to fully understand their IT needs. It also allows the opportunity for you to present additional service offerings. If you're not connecting with your clients, but instead calling them out of the blue to ask them if they'd like to spend more money, the result probably isn't going to be what you'd like it to be. On the other hand, if you're meeting with your clients every quarter to review their needs, they're going to build a relationship with the person that they're meeting with and with your company.
Lets say, for example, you're going over the ways that you've helped a client reach their goals over the past quarter. If the client sees that you're coming through and providing them with the service that you promised, they're going to be more inclined to trust you with suggestions and recommendations going forward. You told them that you would do something for them and you did it. Now, they can see that you can deliver, and they'll be more likely to listen to an upsell opportunity.
Not sure how to perform a Quarterly Business Review? No worries, we've got you covered!
2. Let Your Team's Superpowers Shine
You may be asking yourself, "why can't I just have my technicians conduct these reviews?" Well, you can. But before you go ahead with that plan, you should ask yourself two questions; 1) Does this person have the skill set needed to manage an account and conduct a successful QBR? 2) Am I going to be stretching them too thin if I ask my technicians to add this to their list of responsibilities?
Of course, in a perfect world, all of your technicians would have the time and people skills needed to take on this kind of a responsibility. However, as you probably already know, this isn't typically the case. Your technicians should be focusing and dealing with what they know and do best; the technology. By asking your technicians to take on the responsibilities associated with an Account Manager, you're limiting their potential as a technician. In all actuality, you should be striving for your best technicians to become true project managers. Adding additional responsibility that they may not be comfortable with will only hinder this progress.
An Account Manager should be someone who knows the technology, but can also talk the talk. They should be a blend of tech and sales focused on making your clients aware of their needs and showing them how you can help them to meet their goals.
3. You'll Have More Time to Work On Your Business
When you start your own business, it can be incredibly hard to view it from the outside. Many times, business owners feel a need to have their hands in every aspect of the company that they started. This is understandable because YOU started the business, so YOU want to make sure that everything is running smoothly. Still, if you really want to scale and grow your business, you need to be working ON it rather than IN it.
Lets re-visit the question that was posed at the beginning of this post, "If a valued client is having issues with your services, who do you want talking them off the ledge?" Because you know your business so well and are so entrenched in the industry, you probably feel like you have what it takes to solve any issues that your clients may be facing. The truth is, you're probably right. Still, if you're constantly putting out fires, you're not going to have any time to focus on making the big-picture decisions that will lead to the long-term success of the company that you started.
The Budget Issue
While hiring a dedicated Account Manager may sound well and good, sometimes it just isn't in the budget. That's understandable. If you just can't make new hires at the time, you can start to bake the traits of good account managers into your hiring process. Perhaps you hire senior technicians that have a sales background. That way, you can rely on these hires to oversee projects and also manage accounts. Maybe you look to bake account management into your sales team for a while.
It's ideal to have Account Managers. Still, until that is a realistic, you can always make strides toward filling the gaps that can help your business to grow!
By Brandon Garcin
By Gretchen Hoffman