At the 2017 Professional Marketing Conference http://www.pmforum.co.uk/conference.aspx , Anna Lind, Director of Client Relationship Management at JLL where she leads a team of seven, provided a fabulous property marketing case study. She talked through her six element client relationship management (CRM) and key account management (KAM) programmes which she has developed during her three and a half years with the firm (previously she worked in a similar role at a law firm).
The official title of her talk “Delivering the superlative client experience” was supplemented with the theme of her talk which was “To become a truly client-centric business focus on building a platform for long term sustainable change”. She started with a quote from Harvard Business Review (HBR) – “KAM is one of the most important changes in selling to have emerged during the past two decades”.
- Client management operating model
“Embed across the business the ‘organisational way’ of managing client relationships”
The central principal is that you need a structured approach to protecting, managing and developing those client relationships that are critical to your firm. The focus is on identifying those criteria for entering (and exiting) clients into the programme – JLL focus on a rolling three years revenue average and fee forecast. She urged others to start small and noted that HBR suggests that the optimum number of key accounts is between five and 25. The firm has job descriptions defining the roles and responsibilities of those managing key client relationships.
- Client intelligence
“Introduce a process to easily access any key information on clients”.
There are three main outputs from their information. There is an annual client report containing relationship maps and these are regularly updated. There are client bulletins outlining major changes to key client organisations. There is also a Fast Facts document which is used to brief JLL people before they embark on C-suite conversations. Client intelligence is also shared at P&L team meetings, within case studies and in the quarterly report to the Board.
- Skills development and training
JLL has introduced CRM skills training which provides easy to use tools for developing strong relationships and winning work. The training is linked to a career framework and promotion. Cross-selling is an important aspect. Working with L&D teams, there are training programmes for networking, negotiation, consulting skills and pitching. There are also best practice sessions, idea exchanges and CRM drop-in sessions. There are also presentations from other businesses (e.g. banks and advertising agencies) so see best practice in other industries.
- Career model and reward structure
“Align career model and salary/bonus structure so that progression, development and reward is more focused on building better long-term client relationships but recognises short-term client success”.
There are various rewards such as dinners, shopping vouchers and additional funds for client entertaining. All staff are evaluated on criteria spanning exceeding expectations, achieving expectations and not achieving expectations on a 1-10 scale and the Client Relationship team has an input into the approach and promotion processes.
- Client feedback
She mentioned the fact that “96% of unhappy clients don’t complain” and the importance of client listening programmes. JLL doesn’t bombard clients with requests for feedback with a general rule that each person in the decision making and user group is only asked once every 12-18 months. As well as annual reviews, feedback is collected from pitch and deal debriefs. She indicated that someone independent from the relationship was used to obtain feedback and that there was always a plan to address any issues raised.
- Accountability and governance
“Make person/s responsible for overseeing the delivery of the client programme”
Revenue is monitored on a rolling three year total and so is market share, pipeline, cross-selling, profile, strength of client satisfaction and team contribution. JLL also has an internal governance Client Board with diverse members to ensure client relationships are considered in all programmes and initiatives. They also share success stories.
I was impressed with the cool, calm confidence with which she described an enormous amount of work – it’s no easy feat getting surveyors to engage with structured programmes of client management. But what I thought was most telling about her talk was that a) the firm does not have a CRM database system and b) the Client Relationship Management is entirely separate from the firm’s marketing team and reports to the Board directly – in her words “It’s not joined up”.