Personal relationships are a key part of B2B account management. As a team sport it is common to have multiple members of the account team connected to different customer contacts. As a top account manager you will identify the most influential people, and assess your ability to engage and influence each of them. In this section:

  • Map the customer contacts and identify the most influential
  • Connect people and relationships formally and informally
  • Map influence levels between your account team and each customer contact
  • Map the competitor relationship status for key contacts
  • Visualise the contact map in new ways

From this identify key STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES related to your account team relationships.

Contact List

 

In the contact list you can add further details to the customer contacts you added in the set up page. To do this edit each contact.

Specifically the following is shown in the contact list:

  • CONTACT NAME – the name of the customer contact in Salesforce
  • TITLE – the job title of the contact as stored in Salesforce contacts
  • BUSINESS UNIT – Select from the pick list of Business units you identified in set up
  • REPORTS TO – Search for the contact that is the line manager for this person. this information is used to build the org chart and should be the form reporting line.
  • INFLUENCE ON – some influential relationships fall outside of formal reporting lines. Capture informal influence lines here. If Mary in accounts knows the CEO as a family friend this could be useful so capture it.
  • SENIORITY – your company have selected a pick list of seniority levels. This can be used as a filter in AccountPlan contact map sections
  • INFLUENCE – on a scale of 0 (None) and 10 (high) capture your team’s assessment of how influential each person is inside the organisation (see below)
  • STATUS (read only) – How strong is the relationship between the account team and each customer contact?
  • STRENGTH or WEAKNESS – If a relationship has the potential to be a key strength or a key weakness you should check the corresponding box against each contact. This will add them to the SWOT summary.
  • CONTACT HEALTH (Calculated)  – this is not input field. It automatically calculates based on the influence and status scores.

 

Taken together the Contact health % KPI is calculated as an average of all relationships.

An example contact list is shown below.

Alignment

 

Use this page to capture the strength of relationships many-to-many across this customer relationship. With many members of the account team and a multiple customer contacts it is important to understand where the strong and weak relationships are. This will inform your contact strategy.

Also in this section you can capture the strength of relationship between your account team and each customer contact. You can also capture details about your competition.

Simply enter a score of 0 to 10 to reflect the strength of each relationship.

Once this page is completed the average status score will be written the Status score for the contact in the contact list and used in the Org chart and Develop sections of the contact map.

This is shown in the example below

 

Influence and status scores

 

To help you understand what a 10 means, a 5 and a 3 for both influence and status see the some guidance below.

 

Org chart

 

Visualise the reporting and influence lines between contacts in this account. This in not a section where you input information, rather you use what you have entered in the Contact list and alignment sections. Contacts that have no reporting relationship will not be displayed in the org chart.

You can use filters for seniority, business unit and free text to filter the display of information. Using a filter will show the contacts that meet the filter and also the reporting relationships with them.

Use the page zoom to fit the information onto the page.

The box colour on the org chart represents the strength of the relationship. In broad terms – red = weak relationship,  Amber = Ambivalent engagement and green = strong relationship.

The Hard lines represent the hierarchical reporting lines.

The Dashed lines show the information and influence lines.

The Number in the Box shows the level of influence for each contact.

An example org chart of shown below.

 

Develop contacts

 

Building an proactive contact strategy is important for the ongoing advancement of each account. Using the data collected for influence and relationship status we can visualise the relationship development approach in a new and unique way. This plots each person into the following grid.

In each quadrant you should consider modifying your behaviour:

Focus  – Highly influential contacts in the customer’s organisation. You should build on your good relationship and focus on developing these contacts.

Develop  – Individuals have high influence, although your relationship is poor. Develop these relationships to improve your ability to exert influence in the account.

Nurture – You have strong relationships with individuals who have low influence in the customer’s organisation. These individuals can be an important source of intelligence and support in the account, although they carry little influence on decision making. Nurture these relationships to access help and support.

Contain  – Low influence contacts in the customer’s organisation are unlikely to be important to your growth. They should not attract much effort, but your poor relationship means you need to neutralise their influence in the account. This will help to contain their negative perceptions and stop them working against you.

Consider each contact and where they sit in the matrix. Use this to plan next steps with each person.

An example is shown below.

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