April 04, 2016


Client Love ›

Your client: who's really pulling the strings?

Have you ever worked with a client who seems unable to make a decision on the spot? Frustrating, right? It's highly likely that 'indecision' is not an issue with them personally, but rather that they are required to defer to a someone else within their organisation.

Your job (should you choose to make your life easier) is to identify who the decision-makers are in your client's organisation and how their decision/approval process works.

The easiest way to do this is to ask your contact for an organisation chart. If you are very lucky, they may be willing to hand over a pre-existing chart, but it's more likely that they will verbally tell you who all the relevant players are.

As well as helping to clarify the decision-making process, a thorough understanding of how your client's business is structured should help to illuminate:

  • Other points of contact who may open up new opportunities.
  • Where your contact sits in the pecking order, and how much authority they have.
  • Whether your current contact will be the best person to work with going forward.
  • Whether any decisions need to be made by people located off-shore, or by external suppliers/sponsors, which will add time to a project.
  • Whether your client has a procurement division, and whether you need to go through a "preferred supplier" approval process.

Without an understanding of how your client's business is structured, you may only ever work for this client in a one-dimensional capacity - one type of work with one person.

Gaining a big-picture understanding of your client's business will enable you to have a powerful sales-based conversation (which may include multiple people across multiple departments). From this knowledge you can maximise your up-selling, cross-selling and other business opportunities. Happy chart-making!



Sarah Ritchie
Sarah Ritchie


Sarah Ritchie is the founder of AM-Insider - a website bursting with tips, tricks and resources to create account management superstars in the advertising, design, PR, experiential and print industries. Sarah has been involved in account management for 25 years and has a passion for encouraging, mentoring and helping others succeed.

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