Many professional service firms use a sales platform that centers around what is called a Senior Client Officer. The concept of Senior Client Officer is based on principles of professional excellence in service firms like yours. First, client work and selling is everybody’s responsibility. This means that senior executives should be involved in client sales and service as well as their other duties.
Secondly, continuity is important. Clients expect the same senior person from your firm to be involved over time. As consultants and sales people leave one client and move on to another, the client would like to work with the same senior executive in your firm for as long as the relationship exists. In your business, clients do not like being “passed off” to someone else.
Senior Client Officer Roles and Responsibilities
Senior Client Officers are assigned to projects and major sales engagements whenever the complexity or business potential requires their leadership and supervision. The responsibility of the Senior Client Officer include:
- Intellectual leadership of work, including the selling proposition and proposal. Participation in key sales presentations is common.
- Building relationships with senior people in client organizations.
- Responsibility for developing the skills of sales people and project leaders on key engagements.
Senior Client Officers focus on growth accounts and therefore, over time, they will be involved in multiple projects as the relationships grow. However, Senior Client Officers can be assigned to any key account that requires their skill and experience and justifies the investment of senior people.
It is expected that Senior Client Officers will develop an explicit strategy to build multiple senior level relationships with key clients. Clients like this kind of attention and multiple business opportunities will be the result.
If you use this approach you can retain your current sales platform and solve the problem. As you sell the concept to your senior management team, remind them that this is a best practice of the world’s top performing consulting firms.
- Who should we include as Senior Client Officers and what criteria will we use to select and legitimize the role?
- What is the role of the Senior Client Officer in creating account plans for targeted growth accounts?
- What is the on-going process for assigning Senior Client Officers?
- How do we review these assignments?
- How can the relationship between the Senior Client Officer, the salesperson and the project manager be structured to ensure everyone’s satisfaction and benefit?
- What are the staff development responsibilities of the Senior Client Officer?