The Role of Client Relations Management
It is extraordinary but commonplace that we professionals ignore our existing or past clients as prime supporters, providers of referrals, new projects and helpful business advice. The Marketing Cascade places them No. 1 for developing business.
The overwhelming focus of CRM is to ensure our existing and past clients are fully aware of what we do, of our major successes, of new sectors and of the opportunity they have to help us.
The specific actions will evolve over time. Each month, or year the Head of Business Development(HOBD), one or more of the Sector Champions(SC’s), anyone in the firm will see a new opportunity, a new form of approach. For the start however, I strongly suggest you stick to strictly limited actions with very clear outcomes that are immediately relevant. “Keep within two steps of the bottom line.”
1. Act on the criticism so far in terms of project administration and cost control you have won from your excellent initial client review. What precisely was meant? What would your clients do? Establish a complete response, roles, responsibilities, accountabilities, reporting and feedback system and ensure the work is done.
2. List all readily accessible past and present client contacts and set up email network awareness via the central office.
3. Assign client contact roles where the scope for referrals, new business, general PR looks most likely.
4. Use clients as entrées to sector understanding by SC’s.
5. Initiate client specific feedback by the HOBD on
- won or lost proposals
- completed projects
- ongoing project milestones
The HOBD should oversee this vital work and whenever possible carry out the activity. Whenever feasible look for continuity of resourcing so that those responsible see the trends, exceptions, etc.
I have not touched on events, entertainment, Christmas cards, etc. We should talk this through.
The HOBD should monitor the delivery of the 5 areas via a six month report. Within 2 years we should have an agreed, regular contact with all past/existing clients, have massively increased our detailed understanding of our clients needs, concerns, criticisms and approbations.