Solid client relationships don’t just happen and are not simply a result of a naturally fantastic sales team. Quality, lasting relationships take work. From proactive contact, systematic follow-ups, clear communication and doing that little extra that keeps you top of mind with your customers, especially your top customers, requires a seamless solution.
What is important to realize is that building strong relationships is a process that can be taught and systemized in your company to yield consistent and positive results.
Segment Your Customers
As much as we like to say all clients are important, the truth is that not all clients are created equal. There is a ranking and grouping that must happen to ensure client managers are spending their time where it yields the greatest results.
Customers need to be segmented and prioritized. There will be acquisition targets, penetration targets and maintenance customers. WIthin those segmentations you also need to group for high, medium and low priority. From there, a clear strategy and set of communication expectations can be established for each target group and priority level.
Now that your client segmentation and prioritization has been established, time to put a plan against each level. For acquisition targets this could mean establishing contact scripts, lead products or communication sequencing. Penetration targets could be assigned key products or services that best fit the client’s needs and are important for your company’s growth objectives. Top clients could have an extra level of communication or recognition in their plan.
Establishing communication interval targets for your client tiers is important. It is too easy for time to get away from you, to fall victim to the squeaky wheel (or needy client) syndrome, or only remember to acknowledge clients at the holidays. Communication intervals need to be outlined as part of your annual planning and should vary for client level and segmentation. High priority penetration targets should have a different frequency and method than low priority maintenance targets. Clearly establish these expectations for your team so they can plan accordingly.
One important, and often overlooked, component of good client relationships is that they are not strictly a one-on-one relationship between two people. They should be deeper. Effective client relationship managers do not feel threatened by others in their company having access to “their” clients. They are strengthened by it.
The more the client feels connected to the company, understands the full suite of resources and support that are offered and has multiple points of contact up and down the organization, the more secure they will feel. They also become harder relationships to convert away. Deeper relationships bring more supporters and extends you beyond just an anonymous price and product on paper that can be easily swapped.
Tracking and Execution
“Winners keep score” is a favorite quote and couldn’t be more true when it comes to sales and the client management process. If you are going to take the time to establish a selling process and set expectations, there should be accountability and measurement against those plans.
In business today we fortunate to have no shortage of technology and tools to make customer relationship management easier than ever. CRM tools are vital to ensuring communication plans are implemented and tracked as needed for success. Another favorite saying is “the best execution to plan beats the best plan anyday”. CRM tools provide an invaluable way to stay on track with your planning and ensuring those communication goals are being met.
Doing that Little Extra
So now that you have done your customer segmentation, prioritization, set your communication plan and tracking, what is next to go above and beyond and show your top clients that added touch of personalized appreciation? Simple – client appreciation gifts.This is a time-honored and effective way to give your most important clients the recognition they deserve.
The holidays are the most common time of year for corporate gifting. Yet having a systematic process and plan for corporate gifting can be the most effective way to keep your company top-of-mind all year. Simple, personalized gifts for birthdays, life events or as a thank you, are a great way to extend your appreciation and establish deeper corporate relationships.
Rather than creating more work, like anything else, gifting should be systematized and streamlined with a turnkey online management tool. Givenly’s corporate gifting platform enables CRM integration, client segmentation and rankings, pre-scheduling and personalization of gifts from your dashboard. Make client appreciation an easy and valuable integration to your corporate communication plan with Givenly.
Check out this quick video to see how easy it is to create groups and prioritize customers on the Givenly gifting platform.
Want to learn more about the benefits of developing a gifting plan as part of your corporate communication plan? Simply click through and complete our Contact Us form and we will be in touch soon with more information on how Givenly’s corporate gifting platform can help you grow your relationships with those top clients.