One of the most important tasks for a Relationship Manager when managing a portfolio of clients is Key Account Planning.
The Key Account Plan
The first task is to establish who your key accounts are and then a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) plan should be created to ensure that you know exactly what you are looking to achieve with each individual client. Any Key Account Plan should incorporate known static information about the business, information on the existing relationship and history, credit exposures, current revenue and future budgets, marketing plans and much more...... all of this is covered in detail in the Certificate in Relationship Management course, should you wish to learn more!
The Role of a Relationship Manager
As part of the planning process, the Relationship Manager should work closely with relevant specialist product areas and ensure that the Key Account Plan not just covers lending but also any ancillary business. This is particularly important since the credit crisis as banks need to earn sufficient revenues to justify any credit provided to customers.
Key Account Planning in Reality
During my career in Corporate Banking I saw the account planning process many times and where large pieces of business were won the account plan was always in place some time before and therefore the client needs were able to be met because the 'plan' came together. One of the best examples I can recall resulted in the award of cash management business for the whole of the Asia region for one corporate client.
The planning process was worked on by the Relationship Manager and the specialist Transaction Banker and started approximately two years before the award of the mandate. The Relationship Manager put in place a large credit facility as it was known that the client intended to issue an RFP (Request For Proposal) for its cash business and lending facilities would be a prerequisite to bid for the business. The Transaction Banker spent a large amount of time understanding the company's cash management arrangements and meeting as many of the key contacts in each geographical location ahead of the RFP as possible. The client relationship strengthened due to the focus from the bank team and when it came to responding to the RFP a solution was offered that met the client needs and the business was won.
The moral of the story is that Key Account Plans with contributions from all relevant specialists will place the bank in the best position for winning the clients business.
- Karen Lines is a technical adviser for the Certificate in Relationship Management.
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