As the calendar year draws to a close, many startups look forward to the New Year and how they will make their revenue numbers. A lot of time and energy is spent on acquiring new business, and sometimes existing customers get lost in the fray. Protecting existing revenue streams is ultimately more efficient than finding new customers, and there may also be new revenue sources to be realized from existing customers.

One of the strategies we use for Account Management is to have regular reviews with major customers (usually on a yearly or semi-annual basis). There are many benefits from scheduling these meetings, including connecting with higher level contacts, testing your assumptions, and finding new opportunities. My suggested agenda for this meeting would include taking the time to explore:

    • What Are The Customer’s Goals For The Next Year? It may not always be evident from the outside what the larger goals of the organization, functional area, or the individual may be. Understanding their goals can help ensure that your solution aligns with them as well.
    • What Projects Are They Working On For The New Year? They may not be aware that your current solution or another of your services may support their project.
    • Trends In The Industry This gives you the opportunity to reinforce your status as a thought leader. You can also understand whether or not the customer is seeing the impact on those trends on their business.
    • Review Performance Do you have goals or service levels with clients? How did you do? Focus on the successes, but don’t forget to talk about the challenges. If you don’t bring them up, the customer likely will. When bringing up the challenges, also focus on what you are doing to fix the problem. Everyone has problems - how you deal with them could ensure you keep an existing account.
    • Other Solutions Review some of your new or planned solutions that may be a good fit with your customer. It may get them thinking about what they could target as future products.
    • Next Steps Agree to some next steps with the customer that could include working on an issue, meeting new contacts within the organization, or working on a new project or application.

A yearly or semi-annual review is a great way to stay connected with your account to protect a revenue stream; it may also lead to new revenue. If you would like to meet with VA Partners to understand how we can help you achieve your revenue targets for 2013 please connect with me.