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Commercial clients need a lot of attention. You need an account manager who can give it.

Jim Huston | March 28, 2014

An experienced commercial maintenance account manager is one of the most important roles at your company. Whether you can develop your existing sales team into this role, or you have to find someone new, it’s a position you can’t go without.

According to Lawn & Landscape research, after quality of work, commercial property managers cite high levels of customer service and their relationship with their account manager as the most important factor in hiring a landscaper.

Here are some qualifications and performance expectations I’ve found that can help you find the right person.
 

Qualifications

  • Minimum of five years of combined commercial landscape maintenance production and sales experience
  • An associate degree (preferably in the green industry) and a certified landscape professional certification
  • A valid driver’s license that is insurable on the company’s insurance policy
  • Possess excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Possesses excellent computer skills
  • Able to make effective presentations to clients and sell $750,000 to $1 million of commercial maintenance projects annually
  • Able to represent the company in a courteous and professional manner

     

Expectations and responsibilities

  • Oversees $500,000 to $1 million of commercial maintenance projects annually
  • Ensures vendor pricing is competitive and accurate
  • Sells approximately 10 percent to 25 percent of account contract amount in enhancements
  • Develops new business and prepares bids for supervisor to review
  • Prepares all bids/proposals for enhancement work
  • Reviews all bids/proposals with sales manager for accuracy and marketability
  • Presents all proposals/documents to client
  • Closes sale and coordinates job specifics with accounting personnel
  • Coordinates job specifics with production personnel
  • Meets with client and ensures that all client concerns are addressed in a timely and professional manner
  • Conducts monthly walkthrough with client and identifies and documents any discrepancies
  • Provides written monthly report and files in customer file
  • Ensures that jobs are kept on schedule, and at or under budget
  • Processes all change orders/enhancements and ensures that they are priced and processed correctly
  • Interfaces with subcontractors to ensure timely and accurate completion of their work
  • Interfaces with suppliers to ensure timely and accurate delivery of job materials
  • Interfaces with company production manager to ensure client’s expectations are met and that jobs are kept on schedule and on budget
  • Ensures that all safety procedures are followed and reports any unsafe conditions to supervisors
  • Continuing education requirement minimum of 20 hours per year

     

One more thing.

I’d highly recommend having all of your key staff sign a confidentiality agreement and/or a non-compete agreement. In addition, account managers should use a customer relations management (CRM) software package. It should be mandatory that the account manager schedule all meetings, to-do items, phone calls, proposal due dates, etc., using the CRM software. Brief notes from meetings and client conversations should be entered daily and always be kept current.

If the account manager gets run over by a truck (or quits), the company has a record of what he or she has been doing. I’ve seen a number of account managers depart a company and take all of the information that they’ve been collecting with them.
 

Where to look.

There’s no silver bullet or hidden secret as to where to find good account manager prospects. Landscape contractors are scouring every possible nook and cranny where they might find good help. You have to be in constant hiring mode.

Many of my clients have found Craigslist or Angie’s List a good resource. Others look for people in a service sector outside of the green industry, and who have great attitudes, communicate well, are trainable and are looking for an opportunity.

 


The author runs J.R. Huston Consulting, a green industry consulting firm, and is a columnist for Lawn & Landscape.

 

Go to our site to download full-length job descriptions for both commercial and residential landscape account managers.

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