You would be surprised at how many companies have little or no understanding of the financial risk associated with not having a formal key account retention process as part of their operating plans.
Senior managers often assume that the goods and services are being delivered entirely to the satisfaction of clients, that no further revenue growth opportunities are to be found with that customer, and their focus invariably is on the next major client.
Teams that fall into this complacency-trap will very likely not be aware that they have key account clients who are unhappy with the lack of management attention, product or service quality, commercial issues, a lack of innovation, and a host of other things.
If left unattended this can easily lead to the non-renewal of the contract at its anniversary, not being invited to participate in new bids and tenders, or the early termination of the contract in extreme cases.
What would the impact be of losing one or more of your key accounts?
At a business level, years of momentum will be lost, profitability and cash flow will be greatly reduced, and market share lost to the benefit of competitors.
Possibly the sustainability of the whole business unit may be called into question if the root cause of the losses is because of an overall deterioration in the BUs competitiveness and/or product and service quality.
On a human level, many jobs would be lost, livelihoods put at risk, and careers years in the making destabilized.
Morale in the workforce would become undermined as employees worry about job security and the impact it has on their personal lives.
The best employees may leave the company in search of a winning team with better and safer career prospects.
So, when we talk about the importance of key account retention, it is because this dystopian scenario is one we all want to avoid.
Nobody wants to be at the helm of a company that consistently provides products and services of poor or variable quality and which leads to frequent customer complaints and defections to competitors.
To the contrary, it is human nature to want to do something better tomorrow than we did it today and, aside from the personal satisfaction derived from building a successful organization, we all enjoy approbation from customers and peers for a job well-done.