That Customer business review is the privileged meeting, quarterly or semi-annually, between you and your client to take stock of the relationship.
Although each company has created its own “template“, a review of customer account should never look like someone else. Too often copy/paste is practiced from one client to another and the lack of personalization does not allow you to optimize this decisive exchange in your business relationship. Every customer is different and you should take this into account when preparing your review.
What questions should you ask yourself before preparing?
Whether quarterly or semi-annually, this moment of focus is key to maintaining your relationship. Ask yourself about changes that have occurred since the last review, in your company and with your customer: economic context, innovation, geographical expansion, company takeover, merger, downsizing, etc. And focus only on the changes which has or will have a significant influence on your relationship with your customer.
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For example, if your client has merged with another company, the notification is an opportunity to discuss with him risks and options for your solution/product and to build an action plan in advance.
Analyze them successes and their factors in order to value but also less happy experiences and anticipate them improvement points so that your client realizes that you have a fair vision of the relationship and that you are there, in a process of optimization and co-construction with him.
Which data should answer which KPIs?
In order not to “contaminate” your account reviews with too much data, it is essential that you connect the data must be presented according to your client’s KPIs. Not all customers have the same goals. It is therefore important to choose the data you present carefully.
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A classic mistake observed is the temptation to put a lot of numbers to show your analytical skills and the seriousness of your work. This practice often leads to a lack of listening on the part of your client, which risks becoming so drowned in a wealth of data half don’t interest him. Whereas if you personalize your presentation only with data that corresponds to his KPIs, you will have his full attention because you are there to make him achieve his goals. This does not prevent you from adding some additional data to open the reflection on new points, but know how to dose.
It’s good to present data, it’s better to make it talk.
As your client’s “leader”, it is up to you to analyze the data you present if you want to spark a constructive conversation and agree on concrete future actions. apply the “so what” exercise. When you choose the data to present, you will be able to define its relevance to your client and adopt the attitude of a consultant, a key factor of trust.
For example, if your customer’s KPIs revolve around the efficiency of the employees and the adoption of your software solution, your “dashboards” should focus on saving time of employees, the rate of penetration and use of the solution, the actions to be implemented to convince users to adopt it.
Who do you talk to and how?
When planning your review, you need to know who will be the interlocutors present during this exchange in order to be able to adapt your content and the vocabulary to be used. Every business and every profession has its jargon. To capture your audience, the key is to use it to get your messages across and avoid misunderstandings while demonstrating to your client that you not only know their environment, but also different business functions involved in the relationship with you.
It can sometimes be difficult to use the vocabulary of each subject if you have many different interlocutors during the review. To choose the most relevant, focus on the most important interlocutors influential in relation to your written presentation. This does not prevent you from rephrasing during the review to address related participants.
If you e.g. have procurement and sales contacts during your review, you will need to address the topics of economics, service quality, user satisfaction and the effectiveness of the sales teams that your solution/product brings.
Tailor your account review to your customer’s buying cycle
Depending on your position in your customer’s buying cycle, you will take a different stance.
If you are at the beginning of the relationship, the first review will focus mainly on the implementation of the relationship with its strengths and any corrective actions. You are still in the discovery phase of your account and do not necessarily know all the parameters or all the interlocutors yet. This review is a great opportunity to ask questions and continue to explore your account.
You still have a reinsurance role to your client on his choice and your ability to serve. Don’t be too quick to push other solutions or products because trust takes time to build.
Mid cycleyou begin to feel more comfortable in the relationship and can initiate topics to expand your scope, present innovations and ask to meet new people who are potentially interested in your services/products.
Towards the end of the cycle, you are in a decisive phase to avoid the next tender and, if possible, obtain a renewal of your contract. Of course, your review must greatly promote the satisfaction of the users of your services/products, your innovations, market data that highlights your positioning and shows that your customer has no interest in challenging you in a new offering. the purchase policy allows).
To conclude, you will have understood that an account review is unique to each customer according to its goals, its vocabulary, its interlocutors, its purchasing cycle. So ditch the defaults, keep your logo and start from scratch to build this review.
It’s yours privileged moment to retain your customers by making them feel that they are unique and that you fully understand their special circumstances.
To know more
Carole Poillerat, founder of ComSense. It now supports companies of all sizes in their marketing and commercial optimization, also offers training and animation of conferences and Customer Advisory Boards.