Q:How would a business leader’s or consultant’s internal knowledge and overall account health improve, if the entire account team sat down to have a real conversation with the customer to gain actionable insights at internet speeds?
In a hyper-connected world, leaders at large enterprises still struggle to maintain alignment between strategy and operations while keeping the customer at the forefront of every decision. All enterprises differ in how they manage global customer accounts, but ultimately account leaders tend to focus on three core areas:
- Maintaining high customer satisfaction
- Driving net new revenue
- Realizing operational efficiencies across the account
Account leaders usually have in-depth knowledge of their accounts, including an understanding of key executive profiles, customer needs and strategy, required solutions, and even knowledge of the customers’ customers! Continued knowledge gathering and understanding of customer needs is vital and should be done on a very regular basis. In order to conduct a account health checkup of sorts, account teams hold a series of conversation with their clients. However, holding a conversation between customer stakeholders and everyone on an account team; from strategic leaders to the operational customer-facing personnel, however, would be time-consuming, expensive and even unrealistic!
This is exactly where 9Lenses comes in. It replaces the physical conversation with a faster, easier means of gathering organizational intelligence, giving account leaders the opportunity to rapidly capture account intelligence from both internal account personnel and customer stakeholders through software. Account leaders can use the structured intelligence data to plan account strategy and to identify gaps and bottlenecks impacting the customer.
One of our Fortune 20 customers used 9Lenses software to assess the health of two distinctly different enterprise accounts last month. The first account team wanted to evaluate the performance and direction of the entire account in order to improve its strategic vision. This evaluation was to form a vital part of financial year planning. Account leadership made it clear that the results would dictate strategy for the account, with an openness to make changes based on findings. 200 account personnel over four global regions universally praised account leadership and communication, but they also pointed to some underlying issues that needed remedial action. Bottlenecks, for example, were evident particularly in the North America and APJ regions.
Further exploration of the data revealed that the root cause of many bottlenecks was a lack of clarity in processes across the account team. Statistical comment analysis highlighted a number of specific process bottlenecks, such as crippling delays in financial approval. After the account leaders reviewed the captured data, they decided to assemble different project groups to reduce these issues. Particular focus was given to reducing bottlenecks, clarifying processes and process owners so that the communication gaps were not as evident.
The second account was also spread over multiple global regions. This account team was embedded within the customer organization, so the operational account personnel had a different perspective and understanding of the customer’s needs compared with that of a traditional enterprise account team. One could argue, however, that because they were entrenched in the account, the operational account personnel had a more intimate knowledge of the customer’s operational requirements.
The leadership team for this account had three primary focuses:driving new revenue, achieving operational efficiency, and evaluating the effectiveness of account personnel in new roles across the account. 9Lenses captured 27,000 data points from 156 account personnel, identifying the top challenges and strengths for the account as well as over 20 recommendations for improving productivity and pursuit of revenue growth opportunities.
Understanding the customer, working in silos, and the presence of bottlenecks were identified as the main issues for the account. A central theme was the need for proactive communication with the client, moving away from a reactive relationship. The account personnel raised a number of suggestions to help maintain this kind of relationship, including onboarding, training, and compensation considerations.
Two different enterprise accounts within different industry verticals were able to rapidly capture information from their account teams through 9Lenses software. This allowed for quicker discovery and decision-making for the account leadership. Leaders were ultimately able to use the data to improve a broad range of areas across the account.
A:Immensely. But in lieu of a conversation, using tools such as software will allow for rapid, connected insights from everyone involved in an account.