[Podcast] Key Accounts Drive 33% of Sales Revenue: Developing your KA Strategy

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Key accounts are an important piece to growing and scaling your business. But, if you don’t know who they are, or don’t have an established definition and process for these accounts, you’re leaving money on the table. When developed and properly nurtured, key accounts can keep your offices busy and your revenue consistent.

Kortney Harmon, Host:

I see so many businesses approach this as a don’t ask, don’t tell method. If I don’t ask them about those needs, they won’t tell me because I don’t currently offer them. That is not the approach you want to take on these accounts. You want to ask, you want to know, and even if you can’t offer those services, you have the ability to go to a partner with someone who does it really well. You can still be the go-to solution for that client.

Hi, I’m Kortney Harmon, staffing and recruiting industry principal at Crelate. Over the past decade, I’ve trained thousands of frontline recruiters and I’ve worked with hundreds of business owners and executives to help their firms and agencies grow. This is the Full Desk Experience, where we will be talking about growth blockers across your people, processes, and technologies.

On today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about why the transactional approach to your clients is not allowing you to establish key accounts to gain reoccurring revenue year-after-year from those clients that you’re doing business with today. So, I’m going to guide you through about five strategies to change your approach for 2023.

Can you believe we’re officially nine weeks away from 2023? It’s that time of year again, and if you haven’t already done so, you’re probably knee deep in budgeting and planning for the upcoming year. But let me ask you, as you are planning, who are you guaranteeing revenue from next year? Does your sales or account managers know? Do you do a working session with your sales and account team to discuss who and how they’re working with their top clients to develop them into key accounts? Are you using a key account strategy? Do you have that holistic view of the business to be able to know what you can produce for those key accounts? If you know that, that’s amazing.

However, in my time in the industry, I’ve seen key accounts happen by accident, maybe with a little TLC poured into two people that really hit it off. They’ve developed a great relationship. I was sent to many offices to run this exact type of workshop across the country, and I’m here to talk about key accounts, what it is, what it isn’t, how to do it well, and what not to do.

Depending on your business model, this is really going to vary on the role in which this process falls. Some of you may have straight sales or business development associates. They’re hunters and gatherers, really gathering new logos each and every week. Those offices may also have account managers or KAMs, key account managers that nurture and expand existing relationships. They’re your farmers. Oftentimes, depending on the size of your business, you may have a sales arm of your business that really does both, and that’s okay. Regardless where this is falling, I want to talk strategy and tactics. If key account management isn’t something that you think about or isn’t a feather in your cap, you really need to stop and establish a strategy for your teams so you’re not missing out on that channel of revenue.

I want to validate some statistics for you, and this is something that you need to do and realize the impact that it can have. So number one, did you know that key accounts are responsible for about 33% of sales revenue? 33%. That’s pretty amazing. Existing customers are up to 70% more likely to buy from you than a new prospect. 80% of a company’s revenue comes from just 20% of those existing customers, that good old Pareto principle, and customer satisfaction increases about 20% within the first few years of starting a key account program, and profits and revenue can increase by about 15%.

Now, after that program has been around for five or plus years, you’re really going to see that return double. So in other words, if you want to make more money, spend your time and more resources on the clients with the most growth potential. I mean, after all, while you’re doing your budgeting and planning, who doesn’t want to pencil in a hundred thousand dollars of revenue from just one of your key accounts? So, we’ve determined key account management is really the process that helps sustain, expand relationships with important key accounts. It really is involved working closely with multiple business departments to maintain and further those relationships.

One of the biggest mistakes many organizations, both big and small, tend to make and repeat is to treat their accounts with the same business model. I’ve seen it time and time again. You’re missing out if you’re treating everyone the same. This key account management process is not a one size fits all kind of solution. You have to truly understand your client’s needs and problems that they face in order to provide a solution. We’re often very transactional in this business. But the good news is it’s never too late to correct your situation. Start looking closer at your process and ditch that transactional approach where you need to. But you might be thinking, where do I start?

We’re going to talk about five strategies in order to ditch the transactional approach, develop more reoccurring revenue by assessing your clients that you have currently and the process that you’ve established in your office to start changing those client relationships to key accounts through collaboration.

The first strategy we’re going to talk about is really defining what a key account is, understanding how transactional is your team’s approaches today? You can only understand that by seeing that holistic view of your business. Key accounts require consultative selling strategies. It’s ditching the transactional of do you need a guy? I got a guy. Now, despite the potential benefits of key account management to your bottom line, it’s not a good fit for every client that you’re working with.

Honestly, I’ve seen this process go very wrong, costing you more money in the long run. Unless your sales associates have a clear understanding for classifying your key accounts, each and every account is going to be a key account for them, and you’re not going to manage it well enough to satisfy and keep them and the clients that you had will be lost and your revenue disappear, very counterproductive in what we’re trying to establish today. That’s why before even identifying and going after key accounts, sales associates should know what makes a key account. By having that clear set of standards, it’ll be much easier to accurately focus and get the ROI that you’re expecting.

Katie, are you ready? I have a few rapid fire polls. The first question I want to ask you today is, do your sales leaders have a clear cut understanding for what a key account is within your organization? Be ready on your trigger. Got a few ready for you. So yes, you have a clear understanding, maybe it’s a little unclear, or hey, you have no idea. Be honest. No one else is going to say these answers. Whenever you think of that, do you know what qualifies according to which criteria? Do you as leaders even have an established criteria? Think about that. It’s maybe more along the idea of the number of placements in the last 12 to 24 months, the length of service for a client, revenue brought in per calendar year. Great news, you can determine as you see fit within your organization. We’re going to work through how to find that criteria in a moment, but that poll kind of gives me a good understanding.

There is just a couple in this room that have a clear understanding of, yes. Yes, I have a clear understanding of what a key account is. Maybe, it’s a little unclear. Good news, I have no no’s, it’s not a no, I have no idea. So that’s great, but maybe we need to get that understanding of maybe I need to be a little bit more clear. We need to understand a little bit more.

That moves us to our next question.Does the rest of your organization have a clear understanding of what it means to be a key account? So you might be a little hazy, but does everyone else know? You might be a leader within your organization, you might be a president, you might be able to be on your executive team, but my question is just because you want to be able to foster this idea and drive this idea, does that mean the rest of your team knows what you’re looking for? You might say, yes, we do our best to communicate, but only do it sometimes. You ensure everyone on your team has understanding and yes, you’re very good at it, or no, you don’t communicate this or honestly, you’re not sure.

All right, I have more no, we don’t communicate this than anything. So that’s something that we need to understand. As we talk about geography, business units functions, having an understanding and agreeing of what qualifies that key account and why, and what specific resources and time and attention those accounts merit as a result? Are they willing to provide the support and information necessary to really push through your vision as a leader?

This is the biggest miss I see in offices. I don’t know about yours, I’m just guessing, but it’s often left up to the sales associate to determine who their key accounts are. I get they know where they’re spending their time, but that leads to no accountability, no planning around those accounts in the upcoming months or quarters. Therefore, if it’s not clearly established, coached, and measured, then your teams are often spinning cycles around accounts that won’t deliver to the expectation you as a leader have or the top talent that you’re servicing. It comes back to the leaders, it comes back to those drivers and your organization that really have the holistic view of your business and where your team should be spending time to be able to gather and really recoup that ROI that you’re looking for.

All right, Katie, you ready for our last question or poll right now? She is on it. Do your customers have a clear understanding what it means to be a key account? So as we talk key accounts, most of the time we’re talking about internally, but do your key account customers see their inclusion in the program solely as a reason to ask for bigger volume discounts? In reality, probably the idea is they’re a big account, not necessarily a key account. You really need to understand the idea. Are they willing to collaboratively design and execute a long-term plan of cooperation, maximizing your value? Or do they even value that kind of relationship? If not, what’s the point? Your clients need to understand what that gets them. As they’re one of your important, your key accounts, what is driving it? I’ve gotten a few. We could do our best, but we could do better, and no, we don’t communicate this with them, it’s an internal process.

Now that we determined we need to establish clear guidelines for what a key account is so we don’t have our teams chasing false promises of reoccurring revenue with each and every one of our clients, we need to figure out where to start. We need to streamline this process. That’s going to lead me to strategy number two. You need to have an honest assessment of now, understanding, assessing, and expanding your influence on the clients that you’re currently working with and how to level up those relationships.

When I would go around to offices and have this discussion, we would start talking about key accounts. You could see the sheer panic in the eyes of those in the room, and the biggest question I would hear is, where do I even find a key account? I want to reassure you, it’s not the idea that we’re going to put you on the hunt for a whole different list of prospects. We can start with what you have. After that statement, you would see the panic drain, but the wheels would start turning. You would see people thinking, did they even have a key account to start with? Did they have enough foundation with somebody to be able to develop this into reoccurring revenue?

The key account approach is typically a disruptive approach where your clients ideally could and should abandon other staffing solutions and put their trust in you alone. That’s scary. That’s scary for a client that doesn’t have trust or established relationships with you, you’re going to have to change that. It’s like dating. It’s scary how many times dating and recruiting can be compared to each other. Someone you just meant isn’t going to go on vacation with you. Get engaged, move to the next step if there’s not some sort of courting trust established between the two of you. It takes time. It’s no different with your relationships. The best place to start is where your current clients are because you already have an established relationship with them.

You should be doing this each and every time, each and every year with your teams by starting to list the number of companies in which you’ve made placements with within the last to 12 to 24 months. List the companies, list the decision makers. What divisions or departments are you currently working with today, and maybe the number of placements as well as total revenue. Now, this is an important foundation for this process, but the next piece is understanding your influence you have with each of these organizations. Do you have a connection with more than one person at that company? Because having multiple relationships within each company only increases the influence and trust you have.

Those relationships on that list, going back to that one thing I want you to remember, the higher the relationship, the greater the impact you have within those organizations. What do you think is going to get more traction within an organization? Having a working relationship with the HR manager or the president, or both? I’m not saying the HR manager isn’t a beneficial relationship, but when you have both of those levels established, it’s going to help you gain more traction. It’s going to help you understand and speak to the president and help that HR manager out. I’ve seen many sales leaders think one relationship is good enough.

What happens when that VP or president that you currently have the relationship with today leaves for their next opportunity? You work hard and that dedication to that client is back to square one. Expand your influence, elevate your relationships. This can go back to a sourcer. This can go back to someone else, but use sourcing and data mining efforts to find additional managers. Pursue relationships with all organizational levels even above the person you’re speaking with. Ask for internal referrals within that department. It’s pretty easy with social media these days or LinkedIn or whatever you’re using for your method or platform of choice outside of your ATS to really make sure that information gets into your system. You understand, you put them on your touch plan.

After you identify those relationships, you need to increase your depth. Whenever you think of that, that’ll lead us to our next poll. I have Katie busy today. Katie, our next poll is really the idea, I want you to take one of your top clients or your key accounts that you maybe have today. Do you know their professional goals of your top clients for key accounts today? Yes, maybe you regularly review this. Sort of, we review as they become a key account. No, you don’t talk about it or I’m not sure. Because understanding professional goals and personal priorities are two functions of every person you’re connecting with. There’s a connection professionally of how is their success measured? Who’s measuring their success? What are they trying to achieve? That’s only going to help you gain traction in your relationship.

All right. I have more sort of, we review this when we become a key account. Maybe we don’t revisit this as much as we should, but that’s okay. And I have another one that’s not sure. There is someone that is, yes, we review this regularly. Props to you. I love that. That is wonderful. Whenever you think about that, understand what they’re trying to achieve. But I want you to flip that coin. I want you to think about the personal level because they’re a person before they work at that company. How do they want to be perceived? How do they want to be treated by that organization and what are they trying to achieve personally?

This approach takes you out of that transactional. Guaranteed, your competition isn’t taking the time to develop this consultative approach that you’re grasping for here. Why? It takes too much time. Don’t fall to the appeal of the lazy. After all, good old Benjamin Franklin quoted, “Energy and persistence conquers all things,” and I personally couldn’t agree more, which leads me to our third strategy.

Number three is establish a communication strategy. Consistency and persistence are needed here. Now that you have your connections, it’s time to nurture them. Increasing your contact through consistent cadence of communication. A consistent personal touch will help increase the depth of your relationship. I feel like this is a little bit like gardening here. Do we have any gardeners here or lovers of house plants that they try to keep alive? Maybe it’s just me. I love a good house plant and a garden, but the good news is it’s alive most days. Most days, unless you ask my husband. As long as you keep a consistent feeding and watering schedule, it stays alive. Just because I think it’s doing okay today doesn’t mean I need to forget about it. I still have to have a cadence of what’s needed to make it flourish. And that’s the same with your clients, turn to key accounts.

In order to break out of the transactional, you have to act differently than the transactional approach. Most clients only want you if they have a need, if you call them at the right time or just email because you know what, I’m frankly too busy, Kortney. It’s like only watering your plants when they’re dead or there’s a problem. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done that too. But my next question, poll number, I don’t even know what number we’re on, Katie. How many of you have standing meetings with your existing key accounts every month or every two weeks? I’m curious. How many of you have standing meetings with your existing clients or key accounts every month or every two weeks? Oh, this does my heart happy. I love it. Yes, we meet every two weeks. That’s wonderful. We meet monthly. That’s okay too. But I’m happy that you’re doing that.

Most associates that I’ve worked with didn’t understand developing key accounts and they really thought it was a waste of time. If they didn’t have something to talk about, they would cancel the meeting. I hope no one here is like that today. The importance of keeping that event is to elevate your relationship. You want you and your client to approach this as, even if you don’t need it, we’re still going to be at the meeting. They find value in the relationship, the information you’re giving them, the questions you’re challenging them with. I even saw this consistently when I was running the desk. That was many more years ago.

But even though delivered opportunities were through our vendor management system, our VMS, we still had biweekly meetings with our regional managers at Microsoft Consulting Services. That’s a big name. They made time for us. It was the value that we brought. This is where we found out the ins and outs of what’s going on in the business. Who was getting promoted, the challenges that they were facing, the upcoming baseball tournament their kid had or the anniversary trip next month. Those are the conversations that’ll help you develop those relationships. You look at where your relationships are today, you’ll notice your relationships are either competitive, cooperative, or collaborative. Be honest with yourself on where those are today, the current clients that you’re working with in the past 12 to 24 months.

When you think of competitive, they’re either stuck on a win or lose mindset. They’re probably going to block your access to insight. I want you to think of them as a stop sign. They’re probably going to stop you in your tracks. They may not develop into key accounts, and that’s okay. We don’t want everyone to be a key account. Cooperative is they’re going to strive to be a fair, reasonable, sporadic source of insight, but it’s more like a one way street. You’re giving to them, they’re saying okay. Collaborative is where we want to be with those key accounts. This is where they’re going to be a champion, a reliable source of insight, and that’s more of that two-way street.

When you first start your calls, you might be at a stop sign, but with consistency, you can develop into a two-way street and really get to that collaborative piece.Where are you with your current relationships today? But more importantly, where do you want them to be? Are they even viable? Be honest. Do you want them to be viable? Or do you have the potential maybe to limit them? Or maybe they’re limited by one factor or another to become a key account? That leads us to our next topic.

Our next strategy is number four, identifying clients’ needs and opportunities. Now remember, the bigger the need and problem of a company, the higher motivation the company has to look for a bigger solution. You’re truly only going to understand this through conversations. It’s not the transactional emails or just reaching out four times a year. It’s building relationships that help educate you on these changes. I often hear people being present in a conversation but not involved. Have you guys ever heard that? I encourage you to listen to your teams to see where their conversations are going. Are they involved or are they present? So many of our teams don’t know how to ask questions to give solid insights. They look at this is a one way street. They forget to deliver insights that they’re seeing, as well. Remember, two-way streets elevate conversations.

Now, when you think of needs and problems, usually you think of the transactional, well, they need this project manager. I’m going to give them that project manager. But I want you to think of the news and conversations you’re hearing in our industry. Do you have new government or industry regulations that are happening? Increased penalties or specific skills or lengthened timelines within your companies? New technologies? That could put a company at risk. That happens a lot with banks, IT companies. That was a big thing with when GDPR came into play. New competitors, mergers, acquisitions, loss of rank or reach. Last but not least, is market shifts. Customer base, material cost or buying habits, depending what industry you’re in. You’ve probably seen this with regulations with vaccines in certain industries or other changing timelines or credentialing. There are so many more things that you can talk to your clients about with these challenges and problems.

These are just a few, but we need to expand and intensify the urgency of those needs by going beyond the surface level. Understanding what problems have arose to create this situation. There was a need based on a new regulation. Ask what the most important needs that you can solve within the first year of this regulation. Go beyond the obvious. What’s the biggest problem that you need to solve in the next six months to achieve your goal? You said this was your goal before the end of the year. We’re nine weeks out. How do this year’s goals and next year’s goals differ for you within that organization?

You find so many people struggle relating each problem to the goal that created it. In addition to speaking to that project manager they need to hire, talk about the defects and their manufacturing output and the $200 million contract that they’re about to lose because of it. We want to create that epiphany moment. I know that seems kind of basic, but you want them to say, I never thought about that. I’m truly smarter when I talk to John. Or when they have a situation that arose, they’re going to call you because you’re their trusted advisor to have that collaborative relationship.

If they know their needs, we can be replaced. We need to elevate that relationship. We need to challenge their preconceived notion about what they need versus want. Compare it to what you’re seeing across the industry with your clients. If we only fill their needs, what they’re reaching out to us about, our fulfillment strategy isn’t any better than their ability to articulate their needs.

That leads us to number five, establishing value and adding solutions or resources. The way to a customer’s heart is through their business and not yours. That’s hard to hear. The customer expects its key relationships to at least understand the following: their marketplace, their strategies, what their customer wants, how they add value to their business and where they make their money. But are you doing that? How are you doing it differently from your competitors? Hopefully through this, you’ve become a trusted resource. It’s their one-stop shop. Do they come to you for all their needs or do they go to someone else for their direct hire needs, their contract, staffing needs, their RPO needs? Even if you aren’t the solution of choice, do they come to you for insights on who you might know because you’re so well connected in this industry?

I see so many businesses approach this as a don’t ask, don’t tell method. If I don’t ask them about those needs, they won’t tell me because I don’t currently offer them. That is not the approach you want to take on these accounts. You want to ask, you want to know, and even if you can’t offer those services, you have the ability to go to a partner with someone who does it really well. You can still be the go-to solution for that client. But I love taking this topic a little bit further because oftentimes we don’t think of collaborating with our clients and our key accounts as maybe materials or reporting. We now know how they’re measured, what they need to achieve, why are we not helping achieve those things for our clients that we’re talking to, whether it’s the CEO or the HR manager? Have you ever helped create office profiles, opportunity alerts for social profiles, case studies, boardroom presentations? Because you have such amazing insight to this industry, there is no one better to ask than you.

Think about the number of conversations you have in a day, what insights you are getting on top of what you’re reading, who you’re talking to. But the biggest problem I see is people not giving back to that. The biggest mark I see people making is not giving back and stating their own reporting. You know you’re good, yes, absolutely. But words can only get you so far. Knowing your personal and team ratios can set you apart from any competition you may face. You can give reporting each and every week. Many of you commented that you meet every two weeks, which is going to lead me to my next question. You meet with them every two weeks. Are you talking about the number of talent that you’ve seen, the number of talent you’ve interviewed, the number of talent that you’ve submitted? This is truly telling your clients what you’re seeing on the street, so to say.

Let’s take a quick poll. She’s on it today, ladies and gentlemen. I’m hoping for good results on this one like the last one. How many of you know your ratio reporting for your team? Think about job order to identified candidates to placements. Do you know? I don’t know. I have a general idea. We need to do better. I know the metric. I know down to each metric where we stand and I don’t know, I don’t need to know. There’s a few people that said I know down to each metric, I love that. I have a general idea, but we need to do better.

Now, if you are lucky enough to have a platform like Crelate, we have this built in. We have the ability to work with so many offices and be able to give them these numbers. I’ve worked with offices personally that don’t know these metrics because reporting was so clunky. It took too much effort to get these numbers and it was just honestly easier not knowing and just guessing. Just remember you have the influence, the most influence when you can talk about your successes. These are your successes, this reporting. The quicker the time to fill with your proven talent, the more of an impact you’re going to have with your client. You’re going to help them achieve their goals within a shorter duration. Help them save that major contract, that $200 contract that they’re about to lose because of material cost. Or maybe you’re going to help them save $100,000 by the speed of your placement due to the lack of downtime of that role.

These are all case studies and metrics I hope you know because this is the holistic view of your business. This is what you, as leaders, should be bringing back to your teams, not only helping you gain new accounts, but elevating existing accounts. I would love to know if there’s anything else that you’ve done for your clients, tell us in the chat. Use these stories in your conversations, share them with your teams. You as leaders may know, but do your other teams know so they can share those impactful stories as successes of your office? It’s how you can impact the industry alone.

All right, Katie, I’ve talked a lot. I’m so sorry. I am open to AMA and any questions you may have. I have not even checked out the chat, so I apologize. Katie, do we have anything?

Katie Jones, Producer:

We do have a couple of questions coming into the chat. One of them is a long time listener, first time question asker, but still too shy to come on stage. That’s okay. That’s okay, Tammy, I will ask it for you. The first question is, what is the best way to connect with multiple people at the same company?

Kortney Harmon, Host:

I love that idea. It depends probably what level that you’re talking to. I’ll give an example. We often work with HR managers. HR managers oftentimes are the people that are filling the job, but they’re not the people that are really making the job description. They’re not the ones that are feeling the pain points. Oftentimes, just merely asking the question, could we have a collaborative conversation with the hiring manager? That’s a good one. If you’ve interviewed or if you’ve had someone interview through that process, understand who’s a part of that interview process. Make sure you’re connecting with them post that conversation. That’s an easy way without going into data mining and trying to find additional resources.

I’m a big fan, and I know this is sounds so corny, but I’m a big fan of a good old thank you card. I send a thank you card to every single hiring manager that ever was a part of the interview process, handwritten. My card was in there because I wanted to establish those other relationships so when my key person left that organization, I wouldn’t just go by the wayside. So, every interview within that organization, I ended up getting about eight or 10 people within just one organization alone because of thank you cards, establishing who was in the interview process, as well as just asking for introductory calls.

Again, you have to put this in a non-threatening way. I’m not trying to go over your head, but I’d love some more insight. I’d love to go beyond the job description. Those are some easy ways to go about it. Your other easy way is probably social media. When I say social media in this, I’m thinking LinkedIn in my brain, but it’s the idea of you have the ability to go connect with people in that same organization depending on their job title, depending on where they are, location or branch wise. But you have the ability to connect and say, “I’m actively working with your HR manager. I’d love to connect, be able to get more insight, and understand what you need going forward into this 2023 year so I can accurately deliver on your expectations.”

Katie Jones, Producer:

So the next question is, how often should I contact these multiple contacts from the same company? Is it okay for me to contact them between meetings?

Kortney Harmon, Host:

Oh, okay, so we’re setting the cadence, absolutely. I think you’re going to establish that process. It depends how frequent your meetings are. If you have a biweekly touch, maybe you’re still giving insight. Maybe it’s a different communication plan, in the meantime, maybe email’s okay. Oftentimes, I hate to say this because I know it’s taboo in our industry, but I would text with my clients back and forth if I needed to because we developed that relationship. I think it’s based on your cadence of what the expectation is and what do you need? I go back to… Katie, I talk about this all the time, I go back to what kind of connection you’re making. Is it social? Is it a connection? Email for information, text for action, or call for persuasion.

Think about what you’re trying to communicate or what you need to convey to them in the meantime before you make that stance of, oh, I need to call them today because I’m going to talk to them in seven days. Could it be an email as information to be able to educate them on what I’m going to be talking about? Maybe I want to send them that report to say, Katie, I talked to 82 people this week, and within those 82 people, we’ve vetted them. We’ve come out with 12 solid talent that we want to submit. They’ve been, whether in my industry, I text screen them as well, so I text screen them, they’re valid, I’m down to 12. So, I could give them the reporting on what I’m seeing on the streets. That could be that visual, that could be that email.

But I think it comes down to understanding in what you’re developing. If it’s new to that relationship, test it. See how they respond best and worst case scenario, just ask them. Ask them what the best way to communicate is with them in the meantime, because they may tell you, email’s going to get lost. I’m so busy in my day, I don’t have time to look at email, so I’d love for you just to text me. Shoot me a text, when you have the ability, that it’s something important.

Katie Jones, Producer:

Awesome. I love that. I feel like that’s such a great point too about texting. It’s easy, it’s quick, it’s a good way to stay in contact.

Kortney Harmon, Host:

And it’s absolutely okay, but after you’ve developed that. I in no way condone texting as your first touchpoint if you’ve never developed the strategy. I don’t want you to go stalker level on anybody, but I think it’s also good once you’ve established that communication, ask if it’s okay, ask what the best way is because Katie, if you asked me today what the best way to communicate with me is, I would tell you text.

Katie Jones, Producer:

I have another question that just came in. This is from Tommy. Would you consider clients that well, don’t have a high dollar worth, but constantly refer you to other businesses or big names in the industry to draw other clients, would you consider them to be key accounts? And if so, how do you incentivize your sales team or account team to maintain relationships without the direct revenue?

Kortney Harmon, Host:

That’s a great question. Could that be it? Absolutely. I don’t think there’s a rhyme or a reason. I don’t think all people are key accounts. I don’t think it’s the fact that they’re giving us X number of dollars in business, but what is the value they’re giving us? I look at this just like we look at our industry and they’re like, well, placements is the only thing that makes us successful, but is it? Are we moving the needle in another way? Are we getting job orders? Are we establishing value? Are we getting onsite interviews? That’s no different in this. Key accounts come in all shapes and sizes. Are you giving back? Are getting? You may not be getting the ROI, but you are, because in reality, Tom, it’s the idea of you incentivize your teams because you’re getting additional clients, you’re getting people coming to you. You can’t measure probably your ROI through that one client, but what have they directed to you? What additional business have you gotten through that?

I think that’s probably where we have to say, what’s measured? What are we holding our teams accountable to and what’s okay? And honestly, most of the time, again, I don’t hear this conversation in most offices, leaders have an idea to say, well, they should just be doing this. But whether it’s in a morning meeting, whether it comes down to processes, but you need to have someone that’s external outside of the business. You and I as a sales associate, or if we’re running our desk, we oftentimes get tunnel vision. It’s like a horse with blinders. I’m not getting immediate return on this, so I’m not going to work on it. But Bob over here, Bob has gotten seven new logos in the last 12 weeks. How is that possible? But you know what, it’s because of that.

We need to be able to have that external vision, someone that sees that holistic view in our reporting, in our metrics, and in our teams to be able to lead us to what good looks like, because we might not know, or maybe we’re in a new industry, so it’s trying to establish and chart new waters. I would say understanding and showing success is the easiest way to get your teams on board. Number one, if you have someone on your team that has executed that well, show the value of that. But if you have someone that’s hungry and you show a little value, you may not get everyone to bite on that process, but I think it will continue to build some momentum as you continue to show the success that others have had. It might be more of a pushing a rope kind of concept, but I definitely think it can happen.

Katie Jones, Producer:

Awesome. Thanks, Kort. All right, Kort, that looks like all the questions that we have for today, so I’m going to go ahead and hop off stage.

Kortney Harmon, Host:

Awesome. Thank you, Katie. All right. Thank you for the questions. Now in closing, remember, developing every client to a key account is not realistic and will not produce the ROI that you are wanting if you don’t have strategic guidelines and strategy of your processes. It’s going to take time, consistency, communication to move your relationships that are selected by you and your leadership team to a collaborative effort. You have to move yourself out of the transactional approaches. Pour a little bit more blood, sweat, and tears into building that trust and consultative brand. That will help reap the benefits of that reoccurring ROI.

We talk about this as really about core processes because your tools aren’t allowing you to see that holistic view of your business. As you’re planning your efforts in the upcoming year and road mapping what’s ahead, ensure your teams not only have the right tools in place, but you take the time to workshop this exercise with your teams to help them understand where and how they should be spending their efforts in expecting the return. This should be baked into your planning each and every year, as well as measured and managed each quarter, not only through your efforts and strategy, but tools.

If you found value out of this episode or any other live events, please do me a favor, tell one person, personally invite them to our next live session, or even share the podcast with them. It would really mean so much to me. I’d love for you to join us next session. I know we’re back on a regular cadence now after Staffing World, but November 15th, we’re going to talk about your touch plan strategy when attracting new clients. What’s the cadence that works best in today’s world? How to put that into work for your sequencing plans for the upcoming year.

Now, if you can’t get enough and you need a little extra, next Tuesday, I’m actually going to be speaking at an SIA webinar about how to merchandise your talent to increase revenue. You can find that link on social. Katie, I don’t know if you have that, if you could throw that link in here. I just threw that on you right now. But if you’re a member of SIA, you can join that talk, as well.

I’m Kortney Harmon with Crelate. Thanks for joining the Full Desk Experience. Please feel free to submit any questions for next session to [email protected] or ask us live next session. If you enjoyed our show, be sure to subscribe to our podcast wherever you listen and sign up to attend future events that happen every other Tuesday at 3:00 PM Eastern, 12:00 PM Pacific.

Filed under: The Full Desk Experience