CRM (customer relationship management) has become an essential business tool in the last decade. A recent statistics roundup from Tech.co found that:
- 91% of companies with more than 11 employees use a CRM system
- Overall CRM usage increased from 56% in 2018 to 74% in 2019
- CRM is expected to achieve over $80 billion in revenue by 2025
For anyone who has used a modern CRM platform, these numbers will come as no surprise. These versatile software toolsets can:
- Bolster productivity
- Increase operational efficiency
- Improve collaboration across teams and departments
- Drive customer acquisition, success, and retention
- Provide 360° visibility into your business
A great example of the way in which a CRM system can achieve this is through strategic account management.
Using the incredible visibility that a CRM provides, companies can identify their key accounts and empower their teams to serve them better, recommend products and services to suit their specific needs, and ensure their long-term success and growth.
In this article, we will provide tips for identifying your key accounts and explain how a CRM can make this process simpler, faster, and more effective.
For even more strategies on managing your key accounts, check out our Key Account Management Playbook.
What is strategic account management?
Strategic account management is a business approach in which a company identifies and prioritizes its most important customers and then develops and implements a tailored strategy to effectively manage and grow the relationship with those customers.
Strategic account management involves a coordinated effort by different departments within a company, including sales, marketing, customer service, and product development, to align their efforts around the needs and goals of the key accounts.
Strategic account management aims to establish long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with key accounts that are critical to a company’s success.
This is typically accomplished by taking a more consultative and collaborative approach to sales and account management rather than a transactional or reactive one.
A strategic account management program may involve conducting in-depth account reviews and needs assessments, developing customized solutions, providing ongoing support and training, and collaborating closely with customers to ensure their needs are met.
Strategic account management is particularly important in industries where a small number of key accounts represent a significant portion of a company’s revenue or where the cost of acquiring a new customer is high.
By prioritizing these accounts and developing a tailored approach to managing them, companies can increase customer loyalty, reduce churn, and generate new business opportunities.
The 3 phases of strategic account management
Strategic account management can be broken up into 3 phases:
- Identifying key accounts
- Analyzing key accounts
- Optimizing key accounts
Breaking the process down into distinct phases provides a clear structure and roadmap for your account management team to follow. It also helps your team understand what success looks like.
Let’s take a closer look at phase 1 — identifying your key accounts.
Identifying your key accounts
The first phase of strategic account management is identifying your key accounts. This stage is critical for ensuring you are spending your resources wisely and targeting only those accounts that offer long-term growth potential.
There are 3 steps to follow in this phase:
- Conduct a SWOT analysis- Perform a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) for each account to evaluate the benefit that strategic account management could provide for both you and them.
Look for accounts that have the highest potential for growth or those that are most important to retain.
Also, consider the strengths of your products and services and how those strengths could benefit potential key accounts.
- Evaluate relationships- Evaluate the existing relationships and history with each potential key account.
This can help you identify the right person to assign to an account as well as help you identify potential key accounts that could use some nurturing before you approach them.
- Prioritize your key accounts- Based on your evaluation, prioritize the accounts that offer the greatest potential for long-term value and align with your company’s strategic objectives.
CRM is the best tool for identifying your key accounts
There is no tool on the market better for identifying your key accounts than CRM. A modern CRM platform can help you:
- Centralize data- A CRM system provides a centralized database for all customer data, including account history, contacts, interactions, and sales data.
With all your data in one place, it is faster and easier to perform a SWOT analysis. Plus, since your team is all working from the same data set, your assessment is more accurate (especially if your CRM updates in real-time).
A CRM also captures all of your interactions with an account, so evaluating the relationship is a breeze.
You can also see who the main contacts for an account are, identify the decision-makers, and determine which member of your team should reach out.
- Collaborate more efficiently- A CRM system can facilitate collaboration between sales, marketing, product, account management, and customer service teams.
When conducting a SWOT analysis the more information you have the better. Being able to coordinate with other teams and departments ensures you are getting the complete story.
This also makes evaluating relationships more thorough, as your support team might have insights your customer success teams lacks (and vice-versa).
- Simplify reporting- A CRM system can generate reports and analytics on customer data, providing insights into trends, opportunities, and areas for improvement.
This information can help you evaluate the long-term potential of an account which is essential to effective prioritization.
FreeAgent CRM provides deeper insights and better collaboration for improved account management
FreeAgent CRM is a modern work management platform that provides top-of-field software tools for companies of all sizes and technical proficiency.
- Easy to use- FreeAgent’s modern user interface is quick to learn and easy to use, encouraging teams to work within the platform, driving up adoption and aligning your work processes.
- User-configurable- With FreeAgent, the power is in your hands. You can customize and personalize FreeAgent to fit the specific needs of your business and teams without external support.
Plus FreeAgent offers:
- Robust integration- FreeAgent’s flexible toolset and extensive integration library supports teams and businesses of all types and structures.
- Simple and transparent pricing- With FreeAgent there is no guessing about cost or value.
- No user minimums
- No hidden fees
- All essential tools and features are available with every package
With FreeAgent, it’s really that simple.
To see FreeAgent in action, get a demo, and discover for yourself how we are leading the way to a better workday.