In this post I will share with you 3 free Account Management tools that will help you better manage your customers. Before we go into the tools, let’s look at what Account Management function needs.
Let me share from my experience. In the mid 90s, when I joined the Account Management team of a multinational company, our company had hundreds of thousands of customers. Although we picked the top 20% of our customer base to be managed by Account Managers, each manager was still handling about 60 customer accounts. Account Managers were out meeting customers most of the time. This means that when customers call our office, they can hardly reach the Account Managers. At that time, mobile phones were still very costly and not many of us had a mobile phone. Recognising this issue, our Director implemented something that increased customer satisfaction tremendously. To every 2 Account Managers, he employed 1 admin clerk to help us. When we were out meeting, our clerk became the “customer service” personnel helping us to answer customers’ enquiries. They also help us fix meetings with customers or internal departments if we need to arrange for coordination meetings for projects. Having a good admin clerk not only increased customer satisfaction, it helped to offload us from administrative tasks and allow us to concentrate on serving our customers, thus improving productivity. Above all, I must say, it motivates us a lot.
However, when the industry talks about reducing manpower to improve bottom line, the first thing company did was to cut staff, especially administrative staff. These days, most sales personnel no longer have the luxury of having admin clerks to help them. Even department heads do not have administrative staff (or secretaries) to assist them. However, the truth is, and I have experienced it in many (almost all) companies, that the department heads (Directors, VPs, CEOs), after removing the admin clerks, turn to their subordinate managers to do the administrative work. So you see, the staff are removed but the work remains. Instead of using a cheaper resource to do the work, we are using Managers who are paid 3 to 4 times higher to do the same administrative work. Of course, we expect the managers to work overtime if they cannot finish their work. Instead of feeling motivated, I think it is demoralising. This actually, is not solving the problem.
If you are a business owner reading this, my advise is that you should recognise the administrative tasks but know that it is unwise to assign your tasks to highly paid manpower. You should optimize your manpower. Each staff should be utilise for higher value jobs that tap on their brains. For the simpler tasks, the solution is to leverage on technologies. These days there are a lot of business tools that companies can use to help them manage their customers better. Unfortunately, many companies are still not implementing these tools eventhough some of these tools are free!
Free Account Management Tools
- Bitrix24 – Bitrix24 has intelligent call routing. Clients calling the company will get routed automatically to their dedicated account manager. With Bitrix24 you can send quotations and invoices, provide your clients with live chat support, video conferencing, document management, shared calendars, and 20+ other free account management tools. Bitrix24 is available in cloud, on premise with open source code assess (PHP), and as Android and iOS apps.
- Lucidchart: Lucidchart is a cloud-based diagramming solution that allow you to create:
- Dashboards to track account KPIs and keep key customers updated on progress
- Shared success plans to outline the account goals and map out strategic actions
- Account maps to keep sales reps on the same page and identify key players and the fastest path to sale
- Hubspot CRM – Hubspot CRM provides detailed reports on sales activity, productivity and individual performance. If you are a business owner or managing a sales/ account management team, using Hubspot CRM will help you get full visibility into your sales pipeline in real time. Enjoy unlimited users, data and up to 1,000,000 contacts with no time limit or expiration date whether you are a team of 1 or 1000.
Gone are the days when we can employ admin clerks to help us in our work. Nonetheless, with technologies and business tools, we can be more productive and yet gain insights into our customers with all the analytics provided by the software.