Client Account Management

by Rus Slater

12-month objective

Now comes the time to set out your stall formally and in writing: what are you trying to achieve with this client over the next 12 months?

Again, this may seem like a no-brainer, but there are many differing potential objectives.

For example, you may want

  1. To consolidate your position as a multi-service provider (for example, you have recently moved from being purely a recruitment agency to providing service across the HR spectrum)
  2. To break into the client’s offshore divisions
  3. To change the poor perception you received as a result of the XXXXX issue last year
  4. To increase your income with this client by 30 per cent to £5.5m
  5. To provide a service-at-cost to this client this year in order to build goodwill that will allow you to broaden your service offering next year.

As you can imagine, your approach will be very different, and your success criteria almost opposites, if your objective is number 5 above as opposed to number 4.

You don’t necessarily need to set this down as a SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound – objective (since, for example, it is a 12-month objective, you don’t need the T!), but you should try to make it more specific than a ‘vision’.

12-month objective

It should be pithy, short and memorable. It should also be

  • Relevant to this client/contract – there is no ‘one size fits all’
  • Used to challenge, prioritise and support subsidiary objectives and action plans
  • Disseminated – the whole team must know it and buy in to it
  • Regularly reviewed to ensure continued relevance.

This 12-month objective is not necessarily for public consumption or even to be communicated to the client; it may well be ‘commercial-in-confidence’.