The same B2B client management standards apply across most industries. It simply comes down to managing your clients' expectations so there are no surprises and everyone is always on the same page. To help you achieve this, we’ve provided a list of our 8 top tips to help you manage your clients effectively.
1. Set KPIs for your business
These metrics are the ones you mutually agree upon with your client. It is how you will measure success.
2. Set KPIs for your main point of contact at your client’s company
You need one point of contact who will respond to your emails within a certain timeframe, who you can call when you need to discuss day-to-day items. It’s so important to establish this from the beginning. This person should also be the one to compile feedback for you when it has come from more than one person in the business.
3. Be honest…always
If you haven’t delivered something on time, be upfront. Just admit that it slipped away from you and you've put procedures in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again. If you can, give your client notice that you may not be able to deliver something by the agreed deadline. This is a much better situation and your client will appreciate it. Most of the time it won't even be a problem, so don't make it one by waiting until the last minute.
4. Pick up the phone
These days, people are more comfortable communicating via email than the phone (well we are Gen Y after all) - even when it’s something that can easily be rectified by picking up the phone and having a 5 minute conversation rather than a 2 week email exchange. Of course it's good to have a paper trail, but that can still be achieved if you speak over the phone. Simply take down notes during the conversation and then email them to the client to reiterate and record what’s been discussed and any resulting actions. It's also a good idea to add these notes to your CRM so that your team has visibility on what's been established on the call. This is a much more effective method for both parties (provided you can get the client on the phone, of course, which may be a struggle).
Get your overall strategy in place and once that’s done, plan your day, your week, your month, and your year. If you know you have things coming up, don’t leave it until the last minute, like some of us did in university. This is the real world - you can’t just ‘pull an all nighter’ and get it done. Some tasks take me weeks, even months, to complete; it can be a long process that requires constant monitoring. Using a Gantt chart for longer term projects can really help you figure out all of the little tasks you need to do to get to the desired end result.
6. Be friendly, always happy to help
I can always tell when someone isn’t in the mood to help me and as a client that is really annoying. This is customer service 101 - you are being paid by your client to deliver a service so you should always be polite and professional, even if they’re pushing back on your suggestion. Just stop, breathe and think about it logically. Present to the client the reasons why you believe your suggestion is better than the alternative so that they can see the bigger picture. If they still decide to go with what they want, then at least you've done your job in providing the best advice.
When you’re performing a service for a client, like any good relationship, communication is key. Be sure you’re available to them, always answer your phone, return calls and respond to emails within a short timeframe. You don’t like to be kept waiting for a reply, well, neither do they!
8. Report on your performance
Reports and analytics on your performance will show you and your client if all the hard work you’ve been putting in is reaping any benefits. It will also point out what’s not working so you have the opportunity to rectify the situation before they pull the plug on your contract. If you have a CRM like HubSpot, you'll be able to see reports and gain deep insight into performance.
Hopefully, by following these helpful tips you’ll be able to build and maintain a healthy and rewarding relationship with your clients. If you have any other tips to add to this list, please include them in the comments section below!
To stay up to date on the latest lead generation tactics out there, so you can continue to bring in more clients and build lasting and rewarding relationships with them, subscribe to our blog.
Alternatively, if you'd like to generate more leads for your business, check out our B2B marketing health check tool and discover how 'healthy' your marketing really is.