Key account management development
In recent years the vocational education sector has seen significant challenges in meeting the needs of local enterprise. In parallel, government funding cuts and a more competitive environment has meant that the sector has had to become more commercially focussed to partner more closely with private enterprise.
The City of Bristol College is no exception and has undergone rapid change and a key initiative in addressing these issues was to introduce a new client and business development ethos, so as to meet its clients’ needs more closely and build stronger relationships with its key accounts. This was achieved by the formation of a Business Development Management (BDM) team, headed up by Will Cookson, Director of Partners in Business who needed a consistent, effective and robust approach to develop their key account relationships and to up-skill BDM team members to secure more apprenticeships with local employers, engage more closely with SMEs and to manage larger key client relationships.
Therefore, we designed a blended learning programme of workshops, facilitation and coaching to work with the team to embed a new business framework, tools and skills to bring out sustainable team business development performance and results. The first objective was to align everyone behind common operational principles and to bring greater team cohesion, with a shared vision and plans to align everyone’s efforts, to clarify roles and responsibilities and to begin to outline a new approach to increased apprenticeship volumes and stronger client relationship management practices.
A new business development framework was introduced to align the team behind a common approach through a series of workshops. The team worked through a structured process to develop and tailor a set of business development tools and approaches to support ‘pitching’ and deepening client relationships. They also developed new strategies, consistent sales and key account management skills. The programme included one to one client meeting observation and coaching to evaluate and embed the new approaches, with the final stage assisting the team in creating a key account management planning methodology for developing their top tier client portfolios, along with effective marketing collateral and approaches. Will said, “the programme brought together a more cohesive and focussed team with a common purpose and approach and a suite of business development practices that has driven up apprenticeship volumes and instituted stronger client engagement. We’ve also developed a number of new initiatives which are improving business development and client relationships, including sector-specific marketing seminars, more commercial courses that are being developed in response to employer demand, pre-sales cross-functional client engagement with curriculum specialists, new marketing collateral, a new CRM system and new sector-specific enterprise forums.