How Well Do You Know Your Accounts? (Part 1)
The relationships you have with your accounts is the key to long-term success, and the strength of those relationships is directly related to how well you know the accounts. According to Katherine Northcutt, Senior Manager at Simione, complete and up-to-date account profiles are the start of managing sales and referrals well. “No matter what format you maintain your account profiles (electronic or paper), you must first define what you need to know about each account,” Northcutt says. “One very important element is to know what is most important to them. If you know this, you will be able to position yourself as the logical solution to their needs.”
After knowing what's most important to them, Northcutt suggests that you find out how they use your services, their past experiences, personal data, and support staff positions. This overview can help you discover why you're their preferred provider, and creates an unassailable competitive advantage. However, this only works if you keep the information up-to-date and continually probe for new information. Therefore, the management of account profiles is a constant process that cannot be overlooked.
Once you have collected this information, how you use it becomes equally important. With constant review and careful strategy development, you can use this data to the fullest by asking these questions to guide your next steps:
What do you want to know about your referral sources?
What do you already know?
Who else knows information about your accounts (tap into their knowledge)?
How will you use this information to create a strategic/competitive advantage?
How can you share this valuable information with your entire organization?
Do you have a mechanism in place for others in your organization to communicate account updates and new information to you?
Remember, account profile updates are part of a continuous process that you need to follow as long as you're managing a list of accounts.