Alastair Beddow, Associate Director at Meridian West, shares five main takeaways from the panel debate on account management held on 30th October 2014 through joint efforts of Meridian West, RBS and the Account Managers Network. He writes on LinkedIn:
How can professional firms create a best-in-class account management programme that delivers real value to their clients at the same time as increasing profitability for their firm?
That was the question posed at Meridian West’s account management event held in collaboration with RBS and the Account Managers Network. When the barriers to success appear significant – lack of time, clear lines of responsibility and focus – what changes have the greatest impact for firms now and in the future?
A panel of five industry experts debated that question with Ben Kent of Meridian West. The panel drew on their experience of senior roles within both client organisations and profession firms, including BT, Visa, Allen & Overy, EY, Addleshaw Goddard and TMF Group.
Reflecting on their contributions, five clear themes emerged for me:
- Outcome. Have a clear view about why your firm is investing in account management. It can be expensive to deliver so what outcome do you want to achieve?
- Opportunity. If done in the right way investments in account management can pay dividends – relationships can be broadened and deepened very quickly, in some cases over just week and months.
- Account managers. The role of the account manager is often not given the authority to genuinely lead client relationships; they need to be supported by account management systems that don’t undermine their role.
- Focus. Account management means different things to different clients. Ask clients what they want and use this insight to focus efforts where is it most worthwhile.
- Bespoke. For the right client segments, investing in bespoke added-value services cements relationships for the long-term and helps identify immediate opportunities.
Following the event I am writing up a white paper giving more detail on these points and capturing the observations of the panel. Do you agree or disagree with the five points above? What would you like to see in the white paper? What has worked well within your firm?