Understanding Client Needs: An Account Manager's Guide to Lead Gen.
Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Clients are our bread and butter. Understanding what they need, their goals, their ways of working and anticipating how they like to receive updates is key to foster a good working relationship. Having trust in your account manager to know they have your best interests at heart, be their voice in the agency and know the ins and outs of the business breeds confidence. It’s not always easy, though…and for lead-gen clients, it pays to do all you can to get a grip of the task at hand to give the best service possible. Here are my five top tips to being a lead-gen(ius) for your clients.
Digital Account Director
Understand the business
This is the first, most important bedrock of any client relationship - take the time to get under the skin of your client’s business. Too many times, account managers are thrown in at the deep end and don’t have the opportunity to research a business, let alone pay them a visit in-person to see what they’re about. Taking the time from the word ‘go’ to invest time in competitor research, deep-dives into their website and asking those awkward (sometimes stupid) questions means that you start off on the right footing. And please, visit your clients in-person, and see what they do, how they do it, and why. Bring the team along - it never ceases to amaze me the tonic a site visit can give to your team, and it invigorates all who work with the client, giving much-needed context to why your work is so important. I’ve visited factories, retirement communities, plant nurseries, wedding venues and more - and the context you get from the visits, seeing in 20/20 vision why what you’re doing matters, is both powerful and motivating.
Understand the market
Secondly, getting a competitor list from the client is incredibly useful. Seeing what the wider market does, how they operate and discovering what the market leaders do to make them top dogs will help you to work better for your client. Talking to them on their level, with the same degree of understanding of the services they offer as they have means you’re speaking in their language. You’ll never be an expert in their field, but doing your research and understanding industry terminology will only help relationships and improve performance. At Uplift, we use tools like SimilarWeb Pro to assess industry performance and clients hugely appreciate seeing objective (and essentially secret) data on their competitors! And by looking further afield you’ll see some great examples of what’s possible - and how to provide a better user experience than competitors do. I’ve spent hours and hours in the past doing deep dives into industries I’ve never even considered, and I never fail to be surprised by the insights I learn. In every one there’s something fascinating, you just need to look!
Understand the task at hand
What is your client’s primary goal? Is there a secondary goal? Are there softer conversion points that form part of a customer funnel? What happens after a customer completes a form? The more you can understand about wider processes that happen, despite sometimes being outside of your remit not only shows the client you’re interested in the wider mechanics of the business, but there may be ways that you can affect this wider process. Are enquiries reaching the destination in the best format? Is it easy for the client’s team to retrieve enquiries? These types of questions have really helped me as an account manager in doing a better job for clients, and in turn, increase the value I’ve added. I’ve always been wary of asking ‘silly’ questions, but I’ve also found that the most fundamental questions offer the biggest insights.
Understand your client’s personality
Making positive relationships with your clients is possibly the single most important thing you can do. Finding out what drives them, what delights them, finding common ground and identifying with them will help your collaborative working immeasurably. Making working with you as an account manager a pleasant experience will help to break down barriers, and clients will more readily share important information and want to work more closely with you. 40% of B2B customers who are very satisfied with their account manager are fully engaged with agencies, but this drops to 13% if they’re not (source: kapta.com), showing that strong relationships pay off. Some of the relationships I’ve built with my clients have been pretty unique and the strength of the bonds made, based on trust and friendship, have meant that as they’ve moved from job to job, they’ve wanted to work with me and my team again and brought their business to us. It’s a great compliment, and one I’m proud of.
Understand the client’s internal pressures
Who is your client working for internally - who’s the real boss, and what do THEY need? Everybody has someone to answer to, be that managers, investors or C-level executives. If you can understand their needs, you’ll be able to pre-emptively alleviate some of the pressure your direct contact will be subject to, and they’ll appreciate it. It also means they’ll always have the data they need when their superior requests it. Make your client look good, let them take the glory and you’ll reap the dividends. When my clients and I have introduced counterpart colleagues in both businesses, at senior levels, this once again helps to expose the different requirements that are needed throughout the business, and builds trust.
Understand what would make the client’s job easier
For lead-gen, it’s all about volume, quality, and quick response times. Making sure you’re checking in with your client on enquiry quality, internal conversion rates and average conversion values and feeding that back into your team helps take the pressure off clients, so they can trust you know what’s important to them. Giving them access to the raw enquiry data via a live database is always helpful, and ensuring that data such as source/medium is available will also help to give both you and the client as much intel into client behaviour and what works as possible. And regular meetings to touch base, reassuring them you have their back and you’re both on the same page is so important.
To speak to us about lead gen or wider digital marketing, just drop us a message