Delivering Account Growth – A Self-Check for Delivery Managers

Delivery Managers in IT services organizations often manage large, multi-year customer engagements. In such cases, Delivery Managers may be held accountable for revenue growth in addition to assuring delivery for the current engagement. This is referred to as “farming or mining existing accounts” as opposed to “hunting for new accounts”). The rationale for this is time-tested:

· Delivery managers often have an “inside track” on events & trends in their customer organizations and can detect emerging opportunities. This enables an early preparation to respond beating other potential competitors new to the customer environment.

· If Delivery Managers have provided sustained high performance, they would have established an environment of trust with the customer, providing an edge over other competition

· Cost of new sale with existing customers is an order of magnitude less than making a sale with a new customer. Delivery Managers are in a vantage point to achieve it

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Having said that, to actually make account farming happen takes a fair bit of planning and focused team work on the part of the Delivery Manager and his organization. If you are such a Delivery Manager, you may find the list below useful to assess for yourself how well you are positioned to farm your current customer engagement for growth. You can score your responses on a scale of 1-5 (1-Strongly Disagree, 2-Disagree, 3-Neither agree nor disagree, 4-Agree, 5-Strongly Agree) or Not Applicable.

Strategic:

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1. I/A specific group in my organization understand(s) the customer’s business domain / operations and trends driving IT requirements (if the customer has presence in many businesses in many countries, this may need to be more specific)

2. My organization has/investing in solution offerings / technologies that are mapped to visible future requirements of the customer

3. I/My organization has/have a clear understanding of customer-side decision makers and the decision making process for pursuit of the above opportunities

4. I have a clear idea of the IT spend in the customer organization, its break-up and trends

Goal alignment:

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1. The stakeholders in my organization (leadership, sales, account management and delivery) are well-aligned to identify business opportunities in current engagements and pursue them to win’s

2. Our organization maintains healthy “thick” connections with customer stakeholders at multiple levels such as senior leadership, sales and account management teams – not just at the Project Manager level

3. Formal account growth goals are agreed upon for me as a Delivery Manager, tied to rewards & recognition

4. A formal account growth plan (revenue & margins) is agreed upon between me and my management and adequate resources (travel, product licenses, R&D effort etc.) are provided for

5. I have all the necessary competencies (say, in business domain or consultative selling)

Current performance:

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1. I am able to demonstrate performance of the current engagement, value-adds and continuous improvement to senior leadership in the customer organization

2. I engage with the customer organization at multiple levels to ensure that requirements & expectations are comprehensively addressed

3. My team works well with other providers in the customer organization and provides value in a seamless manner

Competition:

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1. I am able to continually demonstrate our organization’s superior performance / differentiators compared to other service providers in the current engagement

2. I have a very good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of competing organizations in the customer’s domain and in specific service lines

So, what is your score on the above? You may ask what does your score indicate – good, bad or ugly? The perfect score is, of course, 14 x 5 = 70. The items in the list are kind of essential – so, may be anything less than the perfect score needs improvement actions ASAP. Otherwise, the right enabling conditions are not in place for you to even to get started.

In summary, it is not enough just to set a growth target for the Delivery Manager and expect it to happen by itself. To achieve the goal, the Delivery Manager has to address many aspects such as:

· working with customer-facing teams (sales & account management) in a coordinated manner, driven by shared goals

· making a case to his management for investments in specific initiatives & other support needed

· developing his own and other competencies as required

Finally, the Delivery Manager needs the sustained support of his leadership in all aspects – from selecting target accounts for growth, setting reasonable targets, formal planning, reviews and resource provision.

If you have perspectives to share on this and/or seeking help on developing a blueprint for account growth, feel free to reach us at info@pm-powerconsulting.com.

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