If you have only one contact in a client or partner organisation you are carrying far too much risk.
If your contact leaves and the person replacing them does not share the same enthusiasm for your organisation, service or cause, you may have a problem in retaining that client or partner.
This problem presents an increasing challenge with the high turnover of employees in companies.
Multiplied across your entire client or partner portfolio, this would have serious impact on your overall retention rate and revenue.
So what can you do to address this challenge?
The aim should be not just to have multiple contacts, but multiple champions or advocates at each of your client or partner organisations.
Look at your list of clients and partners to identify how many contacts you have at each and ask yourself how many are champions or advocates for your organisation, service or cause?
At a minimum you should have two contacts who are champions and ideally one at a senior level.
This review should be undertaken quarterly.
Then put in place an action plan to engage people at different levels of the organisations where you see a risk.
Examples of my clients that have done this well include:
1. An arts company inviting their partner contacts (those responsible for managing their partnership on a day to day basis) to a workshop (which I facilitated) to explore how the partners can maximise their investment. In the evening the CEO and Chair of the partner organisations attended a dinner with my client’s CEO and Chair. In one day my client was able to reinvigorate their existing contacts and cultivate new champions at multiple levels of their partners’ organisations and reduce risk.
2. A recruitment company inviting the heads of different functional areas within their clients’ businesses to breakfast seminars on topics relevant to each area. I undertake the talks on strategic planning and business development. This allows them to engage and build relationships with the CEO, Finance Manager, Business Development Manager and HR Manager.
3. Many of my clients use hospitality opportunities at concerts, sporting events and conferences to strategically invite contacts throughout the year.
Too many organisations have too few contacts and champions and no plan to address the problem. In doing so they are putting their retention rates and revenue at risk.
I highly recommend you undertake a review of your client and partner contacts ASAP and where required implement a plan to reduce your risk.