The Datamax Thinking Blog

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The Strategic Partnership Review — Ensuring Hyperfocus on Key Account Management


Account reviews only occur when I scream for a persistent problem to be resolved." - Bennett F., IT Director

Account Review, Quarterly Business Review (QBR), Business Review Meeting, Executive Business Review, or the periodic “Let’s Do Lunch” Corporate Schmooze; the practice of ongoing customer relationship management takes on many names, many meanings, and many forms — provided it happens at all. 

When you are a major account managing an entire fleet of copiers and printers, it must happen. And it must happen regularly to proactively review current service performance, and maintain hyperfocus on the landscape of our joint venture ahead. 

Why Does Post-Sale Account Management Lose Focus?

The fact is, the practice of account management is in a constant tug-of-war with the pressures (and pleasures) of sales quota attainment.

In sales, the phrase "hero to zero" is used at the end of every sales cycle. For many sales organizations, the phrase defines the nature of success and creates the pressure that determines where salespeople are going (or not going) to spend their time. Additionally, the insatiable pursuit of more and more income (sales generated) also influences whether customers receive the important follow-up account management they deserve. Unfortunately, “one and done” characterizes a common feeling among customers about their vendor relationship beyond the transaction.

Don’t get me wrong, any company  must grow through a focused effort on increasing sales and income performance. It’s essential to remain healthy. It's also the basis for providing ongoing value and innovative solutions to customers. However, that focus needs to be in balance with relationship management and an ongoing review of performance and direction. 

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The following stats from Bain & Company make it clear why:

It costs 6–7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one.

A customer is 4 times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related than price or product-related.

80% of companies surveyed said that they offer superior customer service, but only 8% of their customers agreed with them.

Here's the reality of ongoing customer support with many business technology providers: delivering meaningful, responsive, and predictable account management support was never the focus.

What’s Different About a Partnership Review?

Fundamentally, a Partnership Review is not just tactical; it's strategic. It’s not about selling, but about listening. It’s not about shortcuts or a low-effort business lunch, but about an insightful and a well-prepared business review — as YOU prefer it. Most importantly, it's not about a "one and done" post-sale follow-up effort, but an ongoing lather/rinse/repeat process for the long haul.

The Partnership Review encompasses more than the traditional Major Account Review. It provides a recurring opportunity to:

  • Review service performance metrics and service level agreements
  • Share best practices, training tips, and strategies to enhance solution utilization
  • Promote the adaptation of unused technology features and capabilities
  • Build relationships with our customers, including briefing new internal stakeholders
  • Ensure our solutions are contributing to the achievement customer business goals
  • Validate the value our customers are receiving from our products and our partnership
  • Reinforce Return on Technology Investments through evaluation and cost analysis
  • Identify changes to facility, personnel, or device location
  • Think strategically about customer needs or requirements in the upcoming quarter and beyond.

5 Partnership Review Questions That Must Be Asked:

For a business technology provider, the responsibility for “results” better be taken seriously. Here are five key questions that must be asked of us or any other company that provides business technology solutions and support for your organization.

Are they...

  1. Continuing to demonstrate how to increase your operational efficiencies — helping make every budget dollar count?
  2. Ensuring that the solutions originally built and implemented are producing measurable business value for your organization?
  3. Demonstrating a commitment to accountability for solution recommendations and performance — providing meaningful, quantitative evaluation throughout our engagement?
  4. Listening to lessons that have been learned and open to discussing how processes, contract administration, and partner communications can be made better?
  5. Making you a Raving Fan? ... Enough that you would enthusiastically recommend to a colleague or friend?

Empowering customers with the freedom to focus on their forte — managing their business, not their technology, is an essential partnership outcome. Helping you better manage your documents, your print output and costs, and your networks through the relevant and responsive application of business technology, consulting, and support: That's true partnership. 

The Datamax Partnership Review is a part of how we do it — on time and over time. Never part time. As part of our Datamax Key Account Program (DKAP), we provide regularly scheduled partnership business reviews based on client needs. These reviews are not just tactical. They're proactive. They're strategic. 

Want to learn more about the value of a true technology partnership, and how the Datamax Key Account Program aligns technology with your challenges and your business vision? Schedule a meeting with one of our Datamax Key Account Program Consultants today!


Robert H. Caldwell is the Vice President of Marketing for Datamax Inc. He can be reached at (800) 633-1526.

Topics: Office Equipment Technology Support Creating Raving Fans Key Acccounts Net Promoter Score