Strong client relationships are crucial for sustained success. One key role responsible for nurturing and maintaining these relationships is that of a delivery manager. A delivery manager acts as a bridge between the client and the organization, ensuring the smooth execution of projects and meeting client expectations.
“It’s so rare to find companies that have delivery managers. Mostly because they go by different names — mainly coordinators. This is the wrong term to use as delivery managers do more than just coordinate tasks. Coordination doesn’t need a person; a simple WhatsApp group can do that. I think to employ people with the right skill sets for such roles, companies first need to understand the value of delivery managers,” said a sales executive from India.
In this blog, we will explore the essential skills that delivery managers need to master for effective account management and illustrate their importance.
Understanding the Client’s Business, Conducting In-Depth Research
To excel in account management, delivery managers must have a deep understanding of their client’s business. This requires conducting thorough research on the client’s industry, competitors, target audience, and strategic goals.
For instance, if a delivery manager is handling a client in the e-commerce sector, they should familiarize themselves with the latest market trends, consumer behavior patterns, and emerging technologies.
Example: A delivery manager working with an online retailer realized that their client’s target audience had shifted towards mobile shopping. By proactively suggesting the development of a mobile app, the delivery manager showcased their understanding of the client’s business and contributed to its growth.
Successful account management relies on effective communication. Delivery managers must be skilled at active listening, allowing them to comprehend client needs, concerns, and expectations. By actively listening, delivery managers can identify opportunities for improvement and build stronger relationships with clients.
Example: During a client meeting, a delivery manager noticed that the client expressed concerns about the project’s timeline. By actively listening and asking follow-up questions, the delivery manager discovered the client’s underlying worries, enabling them to address the issues promptly and maintain a positive rapport.
Delivery managers need to communicate clearly and concisely with clients, team members, and stakeholders. They must convey complex information in a way that is easily understandable to non-technical individuals. Additionally, delivery managers should adapt their communication style to suit each client’s preferences and needs.
Example: When presenting a project update to a client, a delivery manager used visual aids and simplified language to convey complex technical details. They prioritized keeping things simple rather than showing off with flowy language. By tailoring their communication approach, the delivery manager fostered a better understanding of the project’s progress and increased client satisfaction.
Delivery managers should anticipate potential issues and devise proactive solutions to mitigate risks. By identifying challenges before they escalate, delivery managers can build trust with clients and demonstrate their commitment to successful project delivery.
Example: A senior delivery manager noticed a potential bottleneck in the development process. Instead of waiting for the issue to arise, they proactively suggested process improvements and resource reallocation. This prevented delays and impressed the client with the manager’s problem-solving abilities. It also showed the client that the company was invested in more than just money — it generated more trust.
Account managers often encounter conflicts between clients and internal teams. Delivery managers must mediate these conflicts, find common ground, and maintain healthy working relationships. Effective conflict resolution requires strong interpersonal skills and the ability to remain impartial while addressing concerns.
Example: When a disagreement emerged between a client’s marketing team and the development team, the delivery manager organized a meeting to facilitate open communication and understanding. By actively mediating the discussion, they helped the teams reach a mutually beneficial solution, preserving the client relationship and project progress.
Going Above and Beyond
Delivery managers should strive to exceed client expectations by delivering exceptional service and value. By consistently going above and beyond, they strengthen client relationships and position themselves as trusted advisors.
Example: A delivery manager noticed that their client was struggling with a manual process that affected their efficiency. Instead of solely focusing on the project deliverables, the delivery manager recommended and implemented an automated solution, demonstrating their commitment to the client’s overall success.
Regular Communication and Feedback
Maintaining regular communication with clients is vital for fostering strong relationships. Delivery managers should provide frequent updates, seek feedback, and address concerns promptly. This proactive approach helps build trust and ensures client satisfaction.
Example: A delivery manager scheduled regular check-in meetings with the client, providing updates on project milestones and seeking feedback on the team’s performance. By actively seeking input, they strengthened the client’s confidence in the project’s progress and reinforced the client-manager relationship.
Planning and Organizing
Delivery managers need strong project management skills to ensure the timely delivery of client projects. They must effectively plan and organize resources, set realistic timelines, and manage priorities. By maintaining project schedules and delivering within agreed-upon deadlines, delivery managers demonstrate their reliability and instill confidence in clients.
Example: A delivery manager meticulously created a detailed project plan, considering all dependencies and potential risks. By effectively allocating resources and closely monitoring the project’s progress, they successfully delivered the project ahead of schedule, exceeding the client’s expectations.
Managing Client Expectations
Successful account management involves managing client expectations throughout the project lifecycle. Delivery managers must set clear expectations regarding deliverables, milestones, and potential challenges. Regular communication and transparency help align client expectations with project realities, avoiding misunderstandings and dissatisfaction.
Example: A delivery manager proactively communicates with the client, providing regular updates on the project’s status, potential delays, and mitigating actions. By keeping the client well-informed and managing expectations, they maintained a high level of client satisfaction, even when unforeseen issues arose.
Staying Updated with Industry Trends
Delivery managers should stay abreast of industry trends, advancements, and emerging technologies relevant to their clients. By proactively seeking knowledge and understanding industry shifts, delivery managers can provide valuable insights and recommendations to clients, positioning themselves as trusted advisors.
Example: A delivery manager dedicated time to attending industry conferences and seminars to gain insights into emerging technologies. By sharing this knowledge with their clients, they demonstrated their commitment to providing innovative solutions and staying ahead of the curve.
Learning from Past Experiences
Reflecting on past projects and experiences is essential for growth and improvement. Delivery managers should analyze successes, challenges, and lessons learned to continuously refine their account management skills. By applying these insights to future projects, delivery managers can refine their strategies and deliver better results.
Example: After completing a challenging project, a delivery manager conducted a comprehensive project review with the team. By identifying areas for improvement and implementing corrective measures, they enhanced their project management approach, leading to smoother client engagements in subsequent projects.
Mastering account management is crucial for delivery managers to build and enhance successful client relationships. With continuous improvement and a client-centric mindset, delivery managers can become invaluable assets in fostering successful client relationships and driving business growth. To know more about developing skills as a delivery manager, feel free to speak to us.