Partnership Workout

Turn your key accounts into genuine partnerships

  • Objectively quantify, track and manage the quality of the relationship
  • Engage client and staff at all levels of the account
  • Build a true partnership with the client based on shared problem solving and opportunity development
  • Improve account size, profitability and contract longevity

When to use it

Key accounts often represent a significant proportion of total revenue and profits. On the one hand a healthy productive relationship can underpin long term growth and profitability for the organisation. On the other, the loss of even one account can mean disaster.

Measuring the health of the relationship is therefore a critical part of key account management and most companies will do this. Yet how is it that accounts are lost, or at the very least new work goes to competitors, sometimes even taking the account team by surprise as it goes against all the satisfaction measures that are looking good?

The answer is in what is measured and the way the measurement is done.

  • Measuring the wrong things – satisfaction is no predictor of behaviour
  • Open to “bias” driven by KPI performance bonus culture
  • Not actionable – the measures give no indication as to what to do to improve the result or whether actions are having an impact on what matters most.

Key principles

  1. Together, the account and client teams must discover what matters most to both parties at each key level in the relationship. Performance against these elements is then measured in an objective way that makes it very easy to understand priorities for action.
  2. Engagement of both sides is critical for shared understanding and buyin.
  3. Joint problem solving, target setting and action planning builds mutual trust and leads to genuine partnership and commitment. You have to fix the irritants before a partnership can be built.
  4. Relationships are not built overnight. Once the basis of mutual trust and understanding has been initiated an ongoing program of regular measurement, review and action planning which continues the relationship building process.

Scaled to Fit

Whilst the principles remain the same, major strategic accounts are typically more complex, demand greater attention and have more resources to bring to bear. This approach is outlined here.

We have also developed an effective approach for smaller accounts which applies the same principles but recognises that resources are limited. For more details please contact us.
Overall Approach

POW overview 3

Phase 1 – Discovery & Focus  (..More)

  1. Preparation
  2. Tailored application of the CVD methodology (see CVD for more details)
  3. Partnership Opportunity Workshop

Phase 2 – Partnership Development Program (…More)

4. Quarterly measurement and review


  • A clear set of priorities to address the “backlog” of irritants and frustrations in the existing service experience. This provides the basis for a “go forward” in the development of the relationship.
  • Enhanced working relationships between the management teams
  • Raised levels of understanding and trust which leads to a sense of optimism and energy.
  • Clear set of measures to monitor the ongoing service delivery performance which reflect what really matters to the clients.
  • Clear, low resource requirement, program for the continued development of the relationship and identification of mutual opportunities.
  • Significantly improved account profitability.
  • Accounts secure from competitor challenge and nasty surprises.