Typically an Account Manager (AM) has a hybrid role, interfacing between various departments with the company and acting as the Customers’ champion, ensuring service delivery and satisfaction. Consequently, the AM performs a range of commercial tasks including handling telephone enquiries, providing quotations and bid responses, as well as trouble-shooting issues and contract management. The AM needs to understand and follow company strategy, ensuring retention of existing business whilst developing and growing new opportunities, through establishing and maintaining strong relationships with key customer contacts. The AM is also often the main point of escalation for many issues, including operational service management, order processing, invoicing, payment (credit control), etc. Its necessary for the AM to generate reports and present status and progress at regular intervals to assist the company’s planning and performance monitoring.
YB can assist with the above activities by undertaking elements of this Account Management workload, either on a client-by-client basis or defined individual tasks. The advantage of the YB service delivery model is that activities can be supported when required, avoiding the need to increase permanent headcount to handle accounts which typically only need a limited amount of support during the year, particularly at times such as when an annual contract renewal is required, and servicing the customer relationship whilst an extensive ‘must win’ bid is occupying all available resources.
From time-to-time companies engage in bidding for new works or extensions to existing contracts; this ranges from simple quotations to extensive formal procurement processes. This often requires input from and co-ordination of various company departments, working to defined and often tight timescales, and a bid manager is needed to ensure the deadlines are met and the bid response is submitted on time. However, it is often the case that this is ‘no-one’s job’, and hence the role must be fulfilled by an account management or business development individual, acting as a distraction to other important responsibilities.
YB can assist with bids large and small by providing the necessary co-ordination activities, researching and completing the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ), responding to the initial Request for Information (RFI) and ensuring that the bid timescales are understood and the inputs provided in order to complete the Invitation to Tender (ITT) response and answer the Request for Quotation (RFQ).
Whilst current contracts may fully occupy existing resources, companies need to continue to seek new prospects to at least replace works that finish and ideally expand to grow turnover and revenue. The challenge is therefore to find the bandwidth to generate leads for new business opportunities whilst continuing to service existing accounts and fulfil obligations.
YB can therefore supplement existing prospecting capabilities, seeking new opportunities in targeted customers and desired areas of market expansion.
Companies procure equipment items in order to produce their own products, or purchase complete products and systems to resell to their customers. The relationships with these key vendor suppliers and manufacturers are therefore critical, particularly if a ‘channel sales’ partner agreement is in place for the company to be an exclusive or preferred distributer or Value Added Reseller (VAR). Often this requires regular interaction with the vendor, presenting feedback from customers and the market and receiving updates on product developments, which need to be further communicated within the company to relevant departments.
YB can provide assistance with maintaining these important relationships and facilitating the flow of communications, and even seeking out alternative and supplementary sources of product portfolios as necessary.
Although a new opportunity may be secured and agreed in principle, or renewal of existing business has been promised, companies need to formally document and sign a contract, for the protection of both parties and avoid misunderstandings of the exact scope of supply. This can involve extensive discussions and negotiations to reach an acceptable agreement, both internally as well as with the customer. This necessary work can seem a distraction to account management and business development resources, who have other pressing activities to attend to.
YB can ensure drafting, review, completion and acceptance of contracts, facilitating negotiations, liaising with all stakeholders and communicating changes. The advantage of YB’s flexible service model means that the resources are available when needed i.e. when contracts are required to put in place or amended.
YB is able to assist companies by providing consultation advice for a wide range of initiatives, such as:
- Sales Strategy formulation for the generation of prospects and reaching customers via direct and channel approaches
- Creation of Business Plans for identifying markets, customers and strategic propositions.
- Performance Measurement analysis to understand success ratios and identify corrective actions to improve utilisation of resources and optimise business efficiency
Without some form of promotional activities to highlight what a company has to offer, it is unlikely that new customers or even existing clients will be in touch to request a proposal and provide much needed orders.
There can never be too much sales and marketing effort but the trouble is advertising can be expensive and lack focus, websites often don’t get updated and existing account management and business development resources are already occupied on immediate tasks.
YB can therefore provide supplementary effort to companies in support of ad-hoc customer approaches, targeted campaigns, revisions to websites and the provision of resources to help staff exhibition spaces, etc.
It can be necessary to create proposals for bids to demonstrate to customers how the offered new or replacement products or service activities will deliver the benefits or savings sought. Customers often have their own requirements specification, but this then needs to be matched with the company’s product portfolio. Sometimes these activities take place once the business has already been secured, and even if the task is a ‘straight-forward’ one of identifying part numbers, it can cause delays the processing of the supplier orders and customer deliveries.
YB can assist by performing these essential activities on a case-by-case basis to ensure the completion of proposals, processing of orders and the timely generation of the resulting revenue.
When a business is growing and when staff change, requirements for ‘accelerated learning’ are generated. However, training from vendors may be too generic and excessive. What is usually needed is something a lot more focused on the day-to-day business activities.
YB can provide tailor-made hands-on instruction on a wide range of tasks that deliver exactly the knowledge transfer staff need to function at their best and ensure optimum business operations.
These can be contracted in a flexible way i.e. anything from day-rate to project based service delivery, case-by-case or by annual agreement.