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Optimizing Account Management Teams:  How Objective Performance Assessments Can Drive Success

October 7, 2018

How do you measure success for each of your account managers?  If you’re like most companies, you likely rely heavily on account retention statistics, supervisor feedback, or simply a lack of customer complaints.  While these measures provide some level of insight, they are often subjective and based on the dangerous assumption that clients who aren’t complaining are fully satisfied.

 

Imagine what you could accomplish if you were able to draw direct connections between each account manager’s performance and each customer’s overall (and ever-changing) perception of your company. Now, imagine the possibilities if you were able to track those connections at a granular level – providing actionable data on how each account manager is delivering on the key categories that are most important to each account.  This is the power of account manager performance assessments.

 

Historically, the few organizations who were trying to measure this type of performance were doing so with platforms that relied on employee-reported data and mining CRM software – leading to biased and narrow conclusions. Today’s assessment tools, such as the STAMP Customer Success Management Platform by Stonegate, bypass those unreliable measures and replace them with objective, comprehensive metrics that evaluate each account manager’s capacity for delivering on the unique needs of their book of business.

 

“Innovative technologies for tracking customer loyalty and perception data have opened up a new world of insights for B2B businesses,” says Marc Pierce, founder and CEO of Stonegate.  “Our clients are using STAMP to unlock large-scale trends and individualized client needs.  Then, they’re taking it to the next level by evaluating team performance against each account’s needs.  It’s been a game changer.”

 

Compare Performance in Relation to Customer Needs

 

Every customer has different values, and your success depends on your team’s ability to identify what each customer values most and to deliver accordingly.  Account manager performance assessments remove the guess-work – providing a powerful tool that account managers can use to track their progress and supervisors can use to flag under-performing accounts before problems arise.

 

Increasingly, business leaders are recognizing the powerful effect of inward examinations.  With STAMP, ‘alert overviews’ organize the number of account alerts by each account manager – giving supervisors the opportunity to step-in and connect with the employee before issues escalate.  The platform also creates visualizations for the account manager’s performance ratings on key indicators, such as likelihood to recommend, and on specified categories, such as communications, consultation, or service – driving more productive conversations and strategy sessions.

 

Examine Peer Performance Comparisons

 

What skills and talents propelled your most prominent account managers into the positions they now hold?  It’s common to assume that the account managers with the highest-value book of business are the most proficient at their jobs, but do you know for sure?  More often, tenure or charisma plays a larger role than skill proficiency in these types of promotions – leaving key accounts surprisingly vulnerable.

 

After implementing STAMP, an SVP of Sales and Account Management for a leading healthcare technology firm shared this story:

 

“One of our longest-standing employees managed our four largest accounts, and since we never heard anything negative, we assumed he was doing a great job.  We really thought the customers were happy, and the NPS scores from those accounts didn’t give us any reason to think differently.  It was shocking to find that two of those accounts were on the verge of leaving us for our biggest competitor.  When asked, both customers talked about how they’d become friendly with our employee over the years and felt uncomfortable going over his head to report how his service delivery had plummeted.”

 

The company had started using account manager performance assessments to measure each employee’s performance relative to the aggregate average amongst all peers.  The division’s supervisors were able to plot whether each account manager was producing results that were above, on average, or below average in comparison to the rest of the team.  STAMP provided visualized data on the ‘gap’ between customer sentiment, each metric’s level of importance to the customer, and the account manager’s performance.

 

Powered by this type of transformational insight, you’re able to identify overall issues or shortfalls within the team and make data-driven decisions about how to best address the needs of your customers. “We’ve seen our clients use this information in many different ways,” says Pierce, “but the variation we admire most is when leadership uses the data to create the best-suited pairings between account managers and customers.  They’re able to maximize their team members’ strengths while delivering better results. It’s a win-win situation.”

 

Leverage Your Insights to Optimize Your Account Management Team

 

STAMP is a SaaS platform that empowers you to create effective strategies for substantially improving customer experiences andemployee satisfaction. The systematic analysis arms your account managers with the knowledge they need to thrive, including deep-dives into what’s most important to their accounts, performance tracking in key categories, and actionable data that supports effective remediation and retention plans.  After all, it’s empowering for employees to see how their efforts contribute to increased renewal rates and maximized customer lifetime values. 

 

By implementing STAMP, your leadership team is able to leverage actionable insights to build stronger, more productive account management teams.  Here are just some of the ways the platform supports data-driven decision-making.

 

Identify Deficiencies in the Organization -- Do some of your customers feel like they aren’t receiving consistent updates and follow-up?  Are certain team members failing to deliver during the hand-off from sales to account management?  Account manager performance assessments allow you to identify deficiencies in the organization, including categoric incompetencies and individual weaknesses that must be addressed.  Ultimately, it drives your ability to hire (and fire) strategically.

 

Create Targeted Training and Development Plans -- Are your customers dissatisfied with your team’s ability to educate them on how your technology integrates with their current systems?  Do they wish you’d present tailored solutions that would positively impact their business? Equipped with real data on where your company is falling short, your leadership team able to design training and personal development programs that address your employees’ (and customers’) actual needs.

 

Structure Objective Compensation Strategies -- How is your bonus and compensation program structured?  Have employees communicated dissatisfaction or claimed an unfair balance?  Using objective metrics to develop your compensation strategy removes ambiguity, aligns performance with rewards, and recognizes results.

 

Failing to address the ‘gap’ between your customers’ highest-priority needs and your account managers’ ability to deliver can cost your organization hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not more) in lost business.  Can you afford to “wait and see”? 

 

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