It's one thing to have a solid sales strategy, but what happens after that?
Retaining your clients is key to making money.
My analysis of landscape and snow contractor profitability—based on 23 years as a consultant—demonstrates that retention of profitable customers is the primary driver of net profits. This is absolutely true. Nothing is more important than managing what you already have and keeping it year after year. This means the way you manage the people who manage your customers makes all the difference in terms of financial results.
Since you cannot manage what you cannot see, you need data to analyze, compare, and direct the work of these key people. That is where landscape business management software provides the tool to accomplish this—using data to drive actions that produce results.
Let’s return to the idea of cascading business reporting that we discussed in Do the Math, Part 3 to define how you should manage the people who manage your customers. We start with a customer management KPI, drill down to two functional reports, and finally review four dashboards that monitor the activities essential to good client management.
Here's what that reporting cascade looks like:
Client management KPI
This client management key performance indicator (KPI) provides a summary at a high enough level to gauge the metrics that define client performance. It provides information on recurring contractual revenues or revenue under management (RUM) by company, by branch or by account manager, at the beginning of time period and at the end of that time period. RUM is a metric that can be compared to industry best performers and is essential for leveraging overhead expenses—the key to increasing net profit.
Account managers are expensive and increasing their RUM matters. Yes, increasing RUM may mean taking on a few more accounts. But you can accomplish this with mobile business management software that has all the account information your managers need to work more efficiently.
The Client Management KPI provides business intelligence on your:
- Retention performance – revenue lost (if 5% lost, 95% retention)
- New account performance – revenue gained
- Extra sales performance – revenue upsells
This is essential for benchmarking and comparing with your budget, retention, and upsell goals. To render all of this more actionable, you will want to drill down into two function reports: renewals and upsells. These are the first two reports you employ in managing your account manager meetings to answer the eternal question: “How are we doing?”
Client management function reports
The upsell report is a scorecard very similar to the business development/sales scorecard in the prior blog post. It provides information on account manager sales activity relative to proposed and closing goals and proposed and closed actuals for each account manager.
The renewal report provides a snapshot of RUM to be renewed as well as all details regarding the contract renewal process (for example, a job report with hours and margins actual to budgeted), the renewal status and dates (such as statuses including available to renew, renewal proposed, remaining to be renewed, and sold and already renewed).
These reports provide actionable information, but if you are like me and trying to create a client services culture as well as manage your bottom line—no small feat—you will want more drill down reports to truly understand the best tactics to drive these results and shape behavior. It is, in fact, true that you get what you inspect.
These added drill down reports are the dashboards. Dashboards provide real-time insight into critical account management activities. There are four required dashboards necessary to manage the account manager’s actions: open issues, at-risk properties, open opportunities, and service delivery.
- Issues: This dashboard indicates how you are managing quality control in your services. Numerous property issues can indicate great service, but can also indicate great trouble. Account managers should be addressing issues every day as a source of satisfaction and renewal probability—as well as a source of upsell opportunities.
- At-Risk: This dashboard indicates risk as a result of conditions changing on a property—things like ownership, management, and crew performance to name a few. Changes in these and other items you define can put that property renewal at-risk. You should monitor changing conditions frequently to be proactive in addressing them. But you must have a business management software that can capture and flag this info for easy detection.
- Opportunities: This dashboard indicates potential sales success. Just like the business development open pipeline from the last blog post, you must know the dollars and closing probabilities for upsells in the account manager pipeline.
- Services: This dashboard indicates services delivery plans and problems. For example, an account manager should know what services have been delivered, services to be scheduled, and services behind schedule to manage customer expectation. This dashboard provides a tool for proactive management of client expectations, which raises your service level and your probability or renewal—not to mention the likelihood of increasing upsells.
That’s it! These are the best practices for client management: using a cascading reporting structure for landscape and snow business management. The whole purpose of this is to build a better account manager and a customer service process that increases net profits. This is landscape business management in real time, as it should be.
To learn more how forecasting can help you foster a culture of ownership and hold your team to a high standard, watch for the next post in the Do the Math series, "Do the Math, Part 6: Forecast Management."
To check out the Do the Math series from the beginning, read "Do the Math, Part 1: Reporting for Accountability."