I wrote a guide to structured account growth a few years ago (note: ‘organic growth’ is a myth – you have to work at it).
And it’s one of the areas I work with my agency clients on, complementing how they approach new business.
So when I read a great article over on the The Ruler Analytics website it caught my eye. It covered how agencies should focus on Account Expansion as a revenue generator. As much (if not more) than wholly on new business.
How To Grow Your Business With Account Expansion features lots of insight from agency founders and / or senior agency practitioners. It’s a great read, have a look.
As an aside, Ruler Analytics have other articles that would interest you, the agency owner or senior practitioner. I have added them to my list of agency growth resources.
Why should you focus on account growth?
Because pitching comes with risk (which I know from observation isn’t always ‘calculated’).
And pitching often has a high cost involved (in time, agency resources and sometimes external costs).
That means that looking at new revenue streams and growing your profits with existing clients should be a focus for you.
Alongside my direct working with clients, I wrote an eBook about a structured approach to Account Growth to make the job easier for the agency account handler.
That account growth resource is focused on Account Growth / Client Development (Account Expansion by another name.).
It’s easier to use a structured plan than to focus thoughts than the blank paper, 1000-yard stare approach that I’ve seen over the years.
Of course, the business-as-usual, BAU account paid work takes priority. But having a template, a framework, to hand should give you focus on developing the account.
The aim is to elicit new campaign or project opportunities for you to take to the client.
And once completed, the template acts as an account ‘memory’ for new team members joining the account.
It helps them understand the client, the team you work with, the market situation and end customers. Also, what you have done to date (and plan to do) to support the client meet their business goals.
As well as the account growth template, I think there are some behaviours to adopt to ensure that you’ll have ‘the ear’ of your client when you talk to them.
Great account handler behaviours that elicit account growth
Unless you have already put the work in to build a warm relationship of value to them, they’re unlikely to want to talk about new initiatives.
The behaviours that you should manifest to build a great client relationship are summarised below.
They’ll come via your innate rapport and skills (sometimes), your agency culture (hopefully!) and/or through training or mentoring with the agency:
1. Taking personal responsibility for what the agency produces: a quality product and service for the client.
2. Demonstrating that you understand what your specific client’s interests, challenges and pain points. Helping them to solve problems if it is your gift to do so.
3. Working proactively with your client to develop a brief. They often won’t have created that fully or with enough detail to get the best work from the agency, for a range of reasons.
4.Working proactively with your client to set SMART objectives at the start of a new campaign or project. And monitoring those and keeping your client in the loop (proactively) as campaigns develop and run.
5. Being a person of integrity, never over-promising or making excuses if you missed a deadline.
6. Being seen as knowledgeable and engaged: sharing developments you have spotted in the client’s market / industry with them. And being aware of what’s new in the wider marketing / tech / the social web world, so you can impart useful updates to them.
7. Asking for feedback. And responding in good time if that feedback indicates some ‘course correction’ is needed from the agency. For example, look at net promoter scores, client satisfaction surveys and informal conversations at the end of a meeting. Be the radar for the account.
How do you approach Account Growth / Expansion / Client Development?
Do you want help in initiating this in your agency?
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