One of the most important aspects of your 2010 planning should be a critical evaluation of your relationships and work for your major clients.
I grew up in Burson-Marsteller, where formal account reviews were part of the fabric of the culture that made Burson a great firm.
It doesn’t matter how small (or large) your firm is, account reviews must be an integral part of your business planning. And, what better time than now as many companies are beginning to plan and establish marketing communications and public relations budgets for 2010.
Besides, how can you create your agency’s revenue goals without having a good handle on the revenue you can expect from your current clients?
While new business is the lifeblood of all agencies, organic growth from your existing clients is the easiest new business you will ever get. Yet, too many firms are concerned more with “just doing the work” than with building the relationships and uncovering new opportunities that will add revenue to the firm.
That’s where the account review comes in.
When I work with agencies on account reviews, we go through a structured process that answers the following questions, among others:
• A critical assessment of the work you did this past year and whether you really achieved the objectives and if not, why not? Where is the agency vulnerable?
• A financial review. Did fees increase or decrease? Was the account profitable? Why?
• Key challenges the client faces now and in 2010.
• What new ideas if implemented would have the greatest impact on the client’s business?
• How do you rate your client relationships? With whom must you build relationships in 2010 and how will you go about it?
• How do the key client contacts perceive the agency? Do you need to change that perception?
• Do you have the right staffing mix?
The account review can be an important part of your success in 2010. It eliminates surprises, helps you develop new ideas for new budgets, and creates a plan to build or reinforce key relationships.