Account Management Model

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Account Management Model: Case Studies

After an exhaustive research, we were unable to find case studies of consultancies that have revamped to an account management model. However, two case studies of consulting firms working with clients to implement improved account management models have been presented below.

E Source Consulting & Advisory Services

  • E Source solutions included business customer satisfaction studies, client benchmarking against competitors, and performance gaps identification.
  • To get a better understanding of customer preferences, the consulting firm conducted internal and ethnographic business customer interviews.
  • Using the insights obtained from their studies and interviews, the consulting team "segmented the client’s business customers, defined new customer tiers by using an established customer-scoring methodology, and improved the assignment of customers to the appropriate account manager."
  • With the tiered structure, a new business customer service model was established, where the top tier gets the highest level of interaction, and the bottom tier gets the least.
  • Additionally, the consulting team provided the client support on how to strengthen its manpower in the future, and set new workload balancing and project management standards.
  • In the revamp, the client reassigned around three-quarters of its customers to align with the new model.
  • The account management model revamp resulted in overall business customer satisfaction improvement.

Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG)

  • Some challenges encountered in the development of the model were the following.
    • There was no proper coordination among bank representatives, with clients being approached by representatives from different divisions of the bank, only to offer the same product.
    • The bank’s sales approach was perceived as opportunistic rather than client-centered.
    • The bank's clients wanted the bank to be always available and provide innovative solutions for their financial concerns.
  • Based on client goals and the bank's strengths, Cisco IBSG developed a tailored GAM model for the bank.
  • Similar to the first case study presented in this research, Cisco IBSG suggested that the bank provide the best-in-class GAM model for its elite customers.
  • However, the key to success was to focus on extending the bank’s value, which was the privilege of deeper relationships in forms of advisory services, to its elite customers rather than features and prices.
  • The bank was also advised by Cisco IBSG to develop methodologies for customer-centric and quick-cycle product innovations to become an “outside-in, sense-and-respond” organization.
  • The implementation of global account management, along with the other recommendations of Cisco IBSG, "have yielded big returns" for the bank, reporting over 90% customer satisfaction in 2010.

Research Strategy

To present case studies of consultancies that have revamped to an account management model, we looked for business news articles about consultancy firms adopting an account management model. We were hoping to make a secondary search for a case study or create a case study ourselves once we have identified the firms. However, after an exhaustive search from business news websites like Forbes, Business Insider, and Bloomberg, we were unable to find any such case.
Our assumption is that consultancy firms are expected to be experts in account management and other models, so any revamp in their structures is kept as confidential lessons-learned or proprietary intelligence/experience that they may use as a future reference for their clients.
Nevertheless, to provide helpful insights, we expanded our scope to companies from other industries that revamped to an account management model with the help of consultancy firms. With this strategy, we found case studies of a utility company and a bank that both revamped to an account management model. If our assumption is correct, then the revamps these consultancy firms implemented for their clients are likely to be modeled after their own case.
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Account Management Model: Insights

Here are some insights of industry thought leaders such as PNI Consulting, Richardson and McKinsey Co. on the best practices in revamping to an account management model: know the needs/wants/goals of the customer, personalize key account experiences, disseminate/democratize account strategy, conduct regular account reviews and reallocate sales coverage.

Know the needs/wants/goals of the customer

  • According to PNI Consulting, an international firm specializing in leading global business transformations, becoming a solution provider is the first best practice in account management transformation. PNI consulting further notes that transitioning from a transactional approach to becoming a solution provider involves the need to have a deep understanding of the goals and needs of the account/customer.
  • Richardson, a sales performance improvement company that has been helping sales leaders for more than 40 years, also notes that knowing the players inside the strategic account is one of the best practices in account management.
  • This is also supported by McKinsey Co. as the established management consulting firm notes that it is important to be wise about what kind of support the customer wants.

Personalize key account experiences

  • Key accounts are expecting personalized, predictive solutions to their problems. PNI Consulting says that driving personalization is one of the best practices in account management. This involves a change from giving broad strategic focus to giving strategic focus at an individual program level.
  • McKinsey also states the need to "personalize content to decision-makers". This involves moving away from broad-based marketing that is centered around products to moving towards marketing that is account-based. The difference lies in the degree of targeting as well as in the degree of personalization.

Disseminate/democratize account strategy

  • PNI Consulting notes that codifying learning and performance results by creating enterprise-wide memory is one of the best practices in account management. This involves ensuring the dissemination of learning and insights not just to the key account leaders but also to the broader organization.
  • According to McKinsey, one way of democratizing account strategy is by having an account-planning software that can be visible to all the important parts of the sales organization. This ensures that the account strategy is shared with the other members of the client's organization.

Conduct regular account reviews

  • PNI Consulting lists another best practice in account management transformation and that is to conduct regular and consistent account reviews. These reviews will be based on "short-term performance and long-term health of key accounts." This ensures that each account is receiving the best treatment based on factors such as economic potential, account size, and complexity as well as market shifts.

Reallocate sales coverage

  • Reallocating sales coverage is another best practice. This reallocation seeks to better align with the changing needs of customers who are digitally savvy such as millennials.