Imonic have been working with account teams
for 10 years in several industries, however in some sectors
they are a relatively new phenomenon. In others the idea has
yet to catch on at all and the benefits to be realised.
In large organisations, where multiple departments
or functions have staff that interface with key customers,
it is not uncommon for customers to say things like "great
people, I just wish they'd talk to each other", or "the
left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing"
or even "I feel like we are doing business with 3 or
4 different companies rather than one!" It is all too
easy to forget that different departments have different priorities
and objectives, and of course often work in different ways.
At the end of the day, the customer
feels they are receiving a poorly co-ordinated service, which
does not make your company easy
to do business with (ET-DBW).
The benefits of setting up account teams
can be huge. Such a co-ordinated group of individuals will
be able to pool knowledge of the customer's business, share
account objectives, identify further opportunities and create
a step change in customer satisfaction.
This is usually done as a matrix responsibility
so rarely adds cost to the operation. Co-ordination is led
by one of the team, perhaps a Key Account Manager or a team
member who interfaces most with a particular customer.
Internal communications and the culture
of the organisation are also positively affected by working
together, and becoming more aware of each department's difficulties.
Imonic can help you to review the account
team concept, identify your key customers and organise a transitional
approach. Launch workshops, setting expectations and defining
clear responsibilities are part of the process. We also get
involved in an account review to measure the impact of an
account team, and hold workshops to share learning and best
practice between teams and functions.
As an example, our latest client to
do this is in the Utility sector, where account teams are
uncommon. We believe this may even be a first. The approach
has been to implement account teams for 30 key customers in
the first year in three phases. Early success has been achieved
and the benefits referred to above are rolling in as expected.
As far as the customer is concerned 'Key Account Teams' make
big organisations act, communicate and serve them like a small