To continue where I left on in the last post, allow me to elaborate on steps you can take to multiply the force of your CEO(or other key resources.) Doing so makes the company more efficient and effective while at the same time raising your value and effectiveness both with the customer AND within your own company. And the best example I can think of to leverage your C-level resources is in the big meeting.
The big meeting probably needs no additional explanation, but the basic ingredients are: 1)senior execs from both companies, 2) a compelling event, and 3) you’re there. With that in mind, here’s the basic checklist and you should own it:
1. Handle the details – This means setting up the meeting, confirming attendees, drafting and vetting the agenda, coordinating lunch, whatever.
2. Manage the message – It’s your account…so you should be dictating the agenda. What needs to be accomplished? Who needs to say what? What might the customer bring up? Are there specific supporting documents?
3. Act as Master of Ceremonies – You’re not the senior person in the meeting, but you should nonetheless play a role. That means introductions, coverage of relationship history, current status, small talk that gets the conversation going. Most importantly, you need to deftly keep the meeting on track. Which means making sure you’re hitting the key meeting objectives you outlined in #2 above.
4. Follow up – The best part of a big meeting are the follow up items, and it’s your role to coordinate those. That doesn’t mean that you have to solve the big hairy IT problem or draft the legal language for an expanded partnership, but it does mean that you should be in charge of making sure it gets done, and in a timely fashion. And the corollary to that is…it’s NOT the responsibility of those senior to you. Take that off their plate(s) and act the leadership role you’re supposed to be playing.
5. Communicate – Work your follow up list and keep everyone apprised of the progress, accomplishments and resolutions, and sticking points and obstacles. Be judicious and practical about what warrants escalation, but remember also that it’s the post-meeting activity that allows you to keep momentum and dialogue going forward. Because if you’re not going forward, you’re sinking.
There are plenty of other opportunities to quarterback and lead your account strategy(basically, it’s your day-to-day role, but that’s a subject for another day), but this should get you thinking. The key isn’t to take over every function in the company. Who wants that anyway…you’ve got the best job already?! The key is simply to be focused on doing that job to the best of your ability. Executing flawlessly with your C-suite is one, admittedly of many, step towards that level of performance.