As a true SaaS company, our focus is as much on account management as on sales. In my experience, if every account manager of a SaaS company follows these 5 rules, they will grow accounts really fast.
1. Understand customer business
This is to do with your listening skills. Listen to the customer, visit their locations, markets, talk to enough people to understand their business, the matrix they follow and reasons behind it. This helps you a lot to see how your solution fits their business or which parts of your solution they can derive real value from.
2. Be available
Sounds simple but you would be surprised how many times this just doesn’t happen in practice. I follow a simple rule which you should too. Answer customer calls. No matter what the situation is. Even if you/ your team has caused some big goof up, answer the call. Explain the problem, assure you will get it fixed. Most of the problems get escalated only if the contact person is not available.
If you are unable to answer the call for whatever reason, just send a polite sms promising a call back and do call back.
Same with emails. If you customer sends you an email with a question, reply immediately / as soon as possible. If you have the answer, send it. If you don’t, just let her know that you are working on getting the answer.
You can’t imagine the level of comfort it generates in customer mind with your responsiveness.
3. Build relationships
This part one must do for oneself more than for the company/ the product. After 7 years of entrepreneurship, the biggest learning for me is the value of relationships. That’s the only asset you carry along. So focus on building relationships, they will be life long. If you follow rules 1 and 2 then it will be much easier. Additionally, be friendly and approachable. Taking customer out for a dinner or involving him/her on your weekend game (of tennis/cricket/badminton/table tennnis/golf/whatever) are good ideas.
4. Monitor value delivery
This is not as tough as it sounds. If you do part 1 correctly, then half of the job is done. At every stage of your product deployment/usage you must keep track of the value customer is able to derive from your product. Do not be afraid to introduce customers to new features you are building if they add value to their business(even if they are in alpha). Lot of times I have seen account managers complacent with the fact that customer is not complaining. They are also afraid to introduce new features due to worry that it may have bugs or customer may complain.That’s absolutely wrong. Customers should always be ‘delighted’. They will be if they are deriving more and more value. Remember, your alpha features will stabilize only
if customers use them or derive value from them.
5. Feel customers pain
If for whatever reason you/ your team ends up botching a delivery, remember to be on customer’s side. Feel their pain. This is the only way to move ahead. Only if you feel the pain, you will work harder towards avoiding the same in future.
Bonus 6. Push your R&D
As a effect of #4 & #5 you will always be at the loggerheads with your R&D. Push your R&D really hard. Escalate to increase priority of your customer over other other customers, use every trick of the trade get your job done keep your customer happy, you will do well in life!
[About the Author: Lalit Bhise is the founder of Bizom, an enterprise mobile cloud solution which helps organisations increase their field force productivity. The company has more than over 75 customers & 12,000 users. This post was first published here.]