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So, you’ve decided to give Red Hat Technical Account Management a try. Pretty cool. You’ve gained access to a very valuable Red Hat resource. Still, we’ve found that many customers fail to take full advantage of the services of their Red Hat Technical Account Manager (TAM), which can lead to customer confusion or, worse, resentment and dissatisfaction.
Let’s take a look at a few best practices that will help you to get the most out of your Red Hat TAM subscription.
First things first: What is a Red Hat Technical Account Manager?
A Red Hat Technical Account Manager is a deeply technical person specialized in specific Red Hat products, such as Red Hat OpenShift, Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, and others. It is a post-sales resource strictly focused on working with you on technical topics and helping you be successful with using Red Hat products.
The TAM is a shared resource, generally working with approximately four customers at a time, so they have enough time to get familiar with the customer environment and reflect it in their activities, suggestions and discussions with other teams within Red Hat. Apart from helping customers with fixing product related issues, one of the biggest values a TAM brings is as your voice inside Red Hat.
Now, let’s get into five basic things you can do to take full advantage of your Red Hat Technical Account Management subscription.
Tip #1: Talk to your TAM regularly
Every TAM will set up regular meetings with you as a customer. We call these "TAM sync-up" calls. Some customers prefer to do these weekly, some bi-weekly. It depends on the situation and workload the customer is generating.
What we have discovered, however, is that there are situations where TAM contacts from customer organizations do not attend these meetings. The reasoning behind this is generally, "our team is very skilled and we do not see the value in it," or "we are very busy and we do not have time to attend."
This is a significant drawback that can limit the TAM in their interactions with your company, and, more importantly, in their understanding of your environment and the overarching "big picture" at your organization. During the TAM sync-up calls, a TAM is able to ask open-ended questions that will allow them to get a deeper understanding of the situation. Talking about issues you have been facing during the previous two weeks (even if you fixed them yourself) is also very important, as it can show where possible weaknesses exist and where the TAM should focus their attention.
Tip #2: Identify your biggest challenges
Talk with your TAM about the biggest challenges you have with the Red Hat products you use, whether it’s functionality, setup or repeating issues that need to be remediated. Don’t be afraid to put a list together with your TAM and work with them to set some priorities. Your TAM will incorporate the biggest challenges into their "TAM Engagement Plan'' which structures their involvement and gives your collaboration a firm and solid framework. It’s very easy to break the plan down into actionable items and "to-do" tasks that can help you overcome these challenges so you can focus on further growth.
Tip #3: Take advantage of proactive work
A big part of a TAM’s job is proactive work. This can have multiple shapes and streams, but we can split it in two main parts:
Keeping you informed about what is recently happening at Red Hat with the products you’re using
Making sure the products you’re using are healthy and in a good shape while helping you achieve your business goals
For this, the TAM will deliver various presentations during the sync-up calls, involve various internal teams to create workshops and training, as well as help you with health checks and evaluation of your environment.
Tip #4: Share feedback via NPS
Every quarter, you’ll receive an invitation to respond to the Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey. We understand that this era of remote work is full of different lengthy questionnaires being sent from all over the place, including your employer, your customers, from mailing lists you’re subscribed to, etc.
Even so, we encourage you to invest a few minutes of your time into responding to these NPS surveys. These give us a way to discover customers' sentiment toward Red Hat, and give you a tool to express your satisfaction or dissatisfaction with us. Are you happy? Great. Please let us know. Is something suboptimal in your perception of Red Hat? Use this opportunity to express yourself. Let your voice be heard.
Tip #5: Engage in open communication
The key to all of the tips listed here is communicating openly with your TAM. Having precise and complete information about the current situation is crucial in making sure you are successful with using Red Hat technologies. Bring up topics in the regular sync-up calls, inform your TAM about what is happening inside your organization, and never be afraid to speak up if something goes wrong and you are not satisfied.
The sooner we start the discussion, the better we can work together to resolve the situation. The TAM is your voice in Red Hat — the better they understand your needs, the better they can influence software and services for you.
These simple best practices can tremendously improve the relationship with your TAM so you can get the most from the TAM subscription you have paid for.