Most account service departments aren’t set up to deliver what clients value most: a steady stream of value-based initiatives.

transforming ideas

Clients want ideas to transform their business.

Clients say a steady stream means one good idea per month, on average. Most marketing firms are not even getting close to delivering on this. The key is recognizing that you don’t need to  measure the value of any one idea on whether client accepts it or not! Clients don’t look at value-based initiatives that way. They just want to have them, streaming in, showing that you think about their business.

Organic Growth: Try Something Different

Most account service work is really project management, so why not organize your account service team that way. Clients object to paying for senior team talent from the agency doing project management.

Agencies should look at account management the way lawyers manage their accounts. They use the figure 8 principle: more lower-paid project managers and fewer high-paid account executives on staff. Agency leaders need to decide how to organize their agencies so they can provide a steady stream of business building ideas to their clients.

How to add value to what you offer to clients:

  1. Account Managers used to focus on getting clients to buy more services from their marketing firm, a value-added approach that was aggravating to many clients.
  2. Try a new agency vision, one based on the fact that clients require a customized set of agency resources aligned to their specific needs.
  3. Agencies have many opportunities to develop high-value solutions for existing clients called Value-Based Initiatives (VBI), which contribute to the success of the client’s business.
  4. These Value-Based Initiatives are built around learning how to explore client (internal or external) needs/problems/requirements.
  5. The primary skill that generates new ideas for Value-Based Initiatives consists of listening, questions to ask, questions not to ask (let your clients shortcomings be resolved with a product or service solution, not the question), what to look for, what to ignore, and learning to recognize what the client doesn’t see or know about their business that could lead to future products and services.
  6. Those account managers with a VBI take control of these new service or product solutions in a consultative arrangement.
  7. Account managers anticipate their client’s needs and are willing to become involved with clients on whatever terms they seek to have a relationship.
  8. Value-Based Initiatives are a way to offer more then just selling on price. They can add additional revenue to the firm and increase overall client satisfaction.

Value-Based Initiatives help create a cohesive environment by moving the agency toward a new role as a strategic partner, or what we call an Enterprise Agency™ – a place where clients stay longer and the agency has a chance to do better work.


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