Not just MORE…WAY MORE! Here’s how in 4 steps…
We get it… your IT should just work. And when it doesn’t work, you want to be able to call someone and get it resolved fast…And if everything is otherwise ticking along fine…well let’s face it…you probably feel you’ve got more important things to do that sit on a monthly account management call talking IT right? Especially right now when every “check in”, well meaning though it may be, is just another remote meeting you have to fit into your work-from-home day!
But on that point… have you noticed with remote working how even more reliant you are on IT that works, IT that is flexible, and can go where you need to be, securely and productively? Hmmm….so maybe there’s more to talk about than you thought…
There’s no two ways about it – your IT needs to be secure, accessible and available in more ways than ever before. And while the helpdesk puts out the fires and smooths out the day-to-day road bumps, it’s your Account Management and Quarterly Strategic Review meetings that should be addressing any longer term roadblocks and open up new pathways.
Let’s find out what your Account Manager/Quarterly Strategic Consultant actually do…and what you can be asking them to do more of!
First, let’s address the elephant in the room – Account managers are not sales reps! One of the most common objections to Account Managers is the perception they are “just trying to sell us more stuff”. Let’s clear that up from the get-go and take a look under the bonnet of your Account Manager’s role at your Managed IT Services provider.
Account Managers are not hired to make sales, nor are they incentivised or managed based on sales figures. Account Managers are, however, benchmarked against client retention.
What does that mean? It means that your Account Managers is not doing their job if you, the client, does not see value in the relationship – value enough to keep using our IT services. When a client doesn’t see value, it generally means they are not satisfied with the service or attention they are receiving. Generally that dissatisfaction stems from pain points, roadblocks and challenges that persist and prevent your organisation from successfully moving beyond a roadblock and hitting the mark. This is about Customer Success – your success – not a sales metric, but any means.
“If that’s the case who do we ask about getting pricing when we do need new IT?”
For sure, your Account Manager. But we expect, and you should expect, our Account Managers to bring way more to the table than pricing. They are the knowledge holders of
- Industry trends and deals (Latest releases and vendor offers)
- Emerging IT and business issues (Anyone say remote working?)
- Licensing and finance options (Capex vs Opex – what’s right for you?)
- Makes, models, speeds and feeds (Weighing up price vs performance)
“Ok, so if an Account Management meeting is not a “sell session”, what’s the actual point of an Account Management meeting?”
Here is what your Account Management should be all about!
Great account management delivers information, advice, results and next steps has four important parts to it AND both you and your account management team have a role to play in each step. Here’s what that looks like.
Step 1. Find out if your house is in order!
Firstly, your regular Account Manager, who you probably meet with monthly, is there to paint a picture of what’s happened in your IT world over the previous month. Heard the saying you can’t manage what you can’t measure? Well the first part of any Account Management meeting, is to show you what you’ve contracted us to monitor and measure for you, so that we can then talk about managing your resources better.
A typical overview of your IT “measures” every month should include a comprehensive report on:
- The number of incidents or service requests logged
- The number of those that were resolve and that are still “open”
- An overview of proactive maintenance and monitoring that was undertaken
- A status update on any project in progress
- A detailed summary on the operational and security status of all your managed servers, workstations, operating systems, and back-ups
- A review of any pending quote or works that are waiting sign-off
- And most importantly – an insight into the feedback your end users provided over the course of the month – a score that gives some insight into overall service satisfaction.
If your IT Account Management meetings do not involve “lifting the lid on the engine” so to speak and giving you full insight into these metrics as a routine reporting item, then Account Management is not fulfilling its primary role of measuring for management.
What’s more, if your Account Manager has the measures, but can’t explain them – that’s no better than having no measures at all! It’s their job to review any anomalies with the Service Technicians BEFORE the account management meeting, so they can provide the necessary insights and explanations into how those identified issues are being managed plain English.
Top tip! Take some time to review your most recent Client Environment Housekeeping Report and focus on ensuring you understand what each category and metric is actually measuring. Make a list of items you don’t understand or need clarification on, and bring them to your next Account Management meeting.
Step 2. Identify current or new roadblocks and challenges
Ok, but there’s way more to your IT setup than just the monthly stats. This is where the Quarterly Strategy Review meeting comes into play. Whilst your regular Account Manager will handle your day-to-day questions and your monthly reports, the IT Strategy Consulting team will step in each quarter to support your Account Manager by kicking your IT conversations up to that more strategic level.
This means some bigger thinking about work processes and productivity and how IT issues are helping or hindering those across the organisation on more broadly. Your IT Strategy Consultant is looking for clues and feedback so that they can fill out this “mental matrix” during their quarterly discussions with you.
What technology issues are you experiencing/seeing at the moment?
How are these issues impacting the business or operations in terms of productivity, efficiency, performance, and/or sentiment?
If you could overcome these challenges what would it enable you/your team to do?
What might prevent success even if a way is found to overcome/resolve the pain points or roadblocks?
Top Tip! Schedule in some regular time in between regular account management meetings and quarterlies to consider how technology is…or more importantly…is not being used across your organisation. Is there a reason why? What daily roadblocks are your team facing? What issues do they have that they make do with workarounds for? Are there minor pesky issues people put up with daily but never get around to logging a ticket for?
Step 3. Explore solves and plan next steps
Knowing what issues you’re facing, what possible solutions we can supply, as well as what other possible solutions might be out there in the broader market, your account management team will now take what they have learnt from both your monthly and quarterly review conversations and propose some next steps and solutions. This might take the form of some recommendations made right there in the meeting, it might involve reaching out to a technical resource for more information, or to a vendor to seek clarification or advice.
In any case, it is important to that you are across the next steps and “to dos” will be for both you and your account management team, and what the next point of contact will be.
Top tip! At the conclusion of your Account Management or Quarterly Review meeting, make sure you clarify what your respective to-dos are and if you need to provide any data or information or to book any follow-up meetings to proceed with next steps!
Step 4. Rate your experience!
Rating your meeting and engagement experience is the final piece of the puzzle and unfortunately the part that most often gets overlooked the most! Remember when we talked about not being able to manage what you don’t measure? Well the same applies to the insight we have into your account management experience.
At Maxsum, every account management meeting and strategic engagement is treated as a separate activity, and as each meeting concludes and the activity is “closed” in our system, you will receive a prompt to provide a rating for the meeting and provide some feedback.
Top tip! What’s the single BEST way to get more out your Account Management and Quarterly Review Meetings? Take up the opportunity to provide your open and honest feedback after every meeting so they know where they really assisted you and where they need to do better next time.
So that’s it! Now that you know all that Account Management and Quarterly Reviews can and should be offering you, take advantage of our Top Tips and get more…way more…about of our next round of meetings.
But wait! There’s more! 😉
Coming out of COVID-19 & Making a Smooth Move Back to the Office
Here are the top 5 things your Account Manager should be talking to you about right now as COVID-19 restrictions start to ease and businesses start to plan to bring their people back to the office!