client management

How to Reconnect with Influential Clients

September 12, 2020

 

David A. Fields offers timely advice on how to reconnect with decision makers after a long period of no contact. 

Every decision maker who’s regularly in conversation with your consulting firm is a high-potential source of projects and revenue. But if you’ve been out of touch with a prospect, restarting the relationship can feel awkward. The script below will help.

An “A1” in your contact list is a decision-maker who has a strong relationship with someone in your consulting firm.

Three hundred A1s can power a consulting firm as high as $50 million in annual revenue.

You could build your consulting firm into 9-figures (over $100 million) with a handful of service areas, each of which has three hundred A1 relationships.

A quick rule of thumb no matter what size your consulting firm is, even if you’re below $1 million:

Maintain at least a hundred A1 relationships to keep your practice healthy and thriving.

Groovybeans. But what if you need more A1s in your consulting firm’s network?

Remember Joyce Jamnuckles? She’s the Big Cheese at Solidoleo Corp whom you met at a conference a few years back. You struck up a great conversation over a handful of post-conference conversations, but no business materialized and you stopped following up.

Joyce is a B1—a decision maker who definitely knows you, but not well and doesn’t think of you as a go-to resource. You’ve let the relationship wither, with minimal (or no) contact for years.

Every B1 is an A1 in waiting. All you need to do is rekindle and nurture the relationship.

 

Key points covered include:

  • Staying right-side-up
  • Brevity
  • Stepping up to the plate

 

Read the full article, How To Rekindle Relationships With Your Consulting Firm’s Buyers, on David’s website. 

 

How to Identify a Stellar Customer Success Manager

 

Duygu Cibik shares an article that identifies the key factors that can help you find an efficient and effective customer success manager.

What is the right customer success manager (CSM) profile?

This is another question that CEOs and other executives raise often.

Clearly, desired CSM profile depends on your expectations from CSMs tied to CSM role definition. I’ve summarized my expectations in a previous post titled “What is Customer Success?” and I’ll cover the desired CSM skills and experience in line with those expectations.

  •     Consultative skills

To be able to provide advice to clients regarding the product, potential use cases that would benefit the clients and help clients optimize their business processes, CSM should act as a consultant partner to their clients. Because consultative skills is a broad term, I’ll try to divide it into specific components.

  •     Analytical skills and intellectual curiosity

For CSMs to be consultative, they need to possess strong analytical skills and be curious so they can quickly understand their client’s business model, the revenue and the industry dynamics. This would enable them to understand and position the most relevant use cases for those clients.

For example, consumer good clients use Sprinklr primarily for marketing, a retail bank may use it both for marketing and brand reputation management while an investment bank typically leverage Sprinklr to identify and manage potential risks to their brands.

Developing industry based playbooks help CSMs to gain this knowledge to a certain extend; that said if you have analytically skilled CSMs, you can put them in any client situation knowing that they’ll figure out how to deliver value to the client.

 

Additional points identified include:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Client management skills
  • Domain knowledge
  • Project management skills
  • Commercial acumen

 

Read the full article, What is the right Customer Success Manager (CSM) profile?, on LinkedIn.

 

Crisis Customer Management 

 

David A. Fields provides expert advice on how to manage customers during a crisis. 

What do you do when your well-intended outreach call crashes into a brick wall of negativity?

Like many consulting firm leaders, you may have been burning up the phone lines the past week or two, reaching out to your clients and other contacts. Your motives are pure—admirable even. You’re checking in, showing support during a difficult time and offering help.

By and large, your efforts engender successful conversations. More executives are picking up the phone these days.

 

Advice offered includes:

  • Staying right side up
  • Responding with empathy
  • Offering help

 

Read the full article, How To Gracefully Manage Your Consulting Firm’s Shell-shocked Clients, on David’s website. 

 

Ego Management and Storytelling

 

David A. Fields offers an encouraging post on how to manage your ego when clients don’t respond to your overtures.

With a sigh and subtle shake of your head, you send one more outreach email to Pippi Burntkernels, the co-founder and COO of Plumper Popcorn, Inc. A few months ago, you and Pip had a great conversation about their operations, and you gave some advice on effectively instituting a better butter beater process.

You know that if you and Pip keep talking, there’s a consulting project at Plumper for your consulting firm.

But she doesn’t return your phone calls, nor has she responded to any of your emails. What’s going on?

 

Read the full article, How To Overcome Your Consulting Prospects’ Fear (So They’ll Call You Back), on David’s consulting website.

 

What Makes You BEST for ME?

 

Pitching all the reasons why your company, service, or product is better is often received with a lack of response. David A. Fields explains where the miscommunication lies and provides a solution to the problem. 

 

You know a rain barrel full of reasons why your consulting firm is better than other firms that do what you do. Among the reasons, of course, is you. Your experience and ideas and unique perspective.

Hence, when Bethany Buttonwerk asked you why her company should work with your consulting firm instead of others she’s talking to, you quickly trotted out all your advantages.

Alas, that lessened your likelihood to win the project!

Oh no. Why’d that happen?

Let’s revisit Bethany’s query. Unfortunately, she unwittingly asked the wrong question. You then proudly tootled your answers to her mistaken question, which left her dissatisfied, disgruntled, and disinterested. (And you disappointed or dyspeptic.)

 

Read the full article, A Superior Response to “What Makes Your Consulting Firm Better” on David’s website.

Guidelines to Kick the Year into High Gear

David A. Fields’ first blog of the year provides a pathway forward for consulting firms in 2020.

It’s the first week of the year and one thing you’re probably wondering is what you and your consulting firm should do first. Right now.

Your consulting prospects are asking the same question. What should they do now? What should their priority be?  Unfortunately, their list could be topped with challenges that your consulting firm doesn’t solve—penetrating the blacklight market, designing an office layout that houses 200 employees in a 50-employee space, or inventing new uses for leftover holiday yams.

Where does that leave you?

Without a consulting engagement.

 

In this article, points covered include:

-What’s Important Now?

-What’s the VIP for your consulting project? For your consulting offering?

-Three Questions to Identify Your VIP

 

Read the full article, What Your Consulting Firm Should Do Right Now, on David’s company blog.

How to Handle Clients Who Cross Lines

David A. Fields offers actionable advice on how to respond to a client when consulting work veers off the rails.

 

When you, your consulting team and your client all stay on task and positive, consulting is a fun, challenging and rewarding profession. When consulting work veers off the rails, though, how should you respond?

Lines are confusing

Let’s say you want to engage in outreach to your prospects. Rupert, SVP of Everything is next in line. So, you drop him a line. He answers and asks you to hold the line. (Didn’t you just drop it?)

Ugh, you’re on hold, but business is on the line. Two minutes of elevator music. That’s where you draw the line. Is it the end of the line for Rupert? Hard to know—it’s a fine line.

 

Read the full article, How Your Consulting Firm Should Deal with Clients that Cross the Line, on David’s website.