Leadership Series: In the upcoming series of blogs we will share what we have learned in our work with senior sales leaders. Our intent is to present ideas in brief Checklist fashion. We welcome feedback if you have thoughts or contribution, and hope you find this series to be useful and thought-provoking.
Account Management. Two interesting words that, I would venture to say, mean many things to different people. For some, it is just caring for the customer, for others it means much more. Salespeople tend to be pretty good in working with small customers. The ‘Whales’ or ‘Elephant’ accounts can be more challenging.
The principles that follow highlight a philosophy about ‘Account Management’ that has served us well over the years. If you or members of your team work with BIG customers, I encourage you to think through these ‘Principles’ and ask yourself to what extent is the principle applicable to the customers you work with, and if so, how do I influence my or my team’s behaviors in these areas.
1. Industry – It’s all about the customer’s business and industry.
How much do you REALLY know about the customer’s industry? Do you stay up to date with the trends, approaches, and strategies? Do your customers see you as student of the industry? How can you align your solution to the trends in play in order to position your solutions for maximum business impact?
2. Growth and Competitiveness – Too often we think on how we can grow OUR business. And yet your business primarily comes from customer growth and helping the customer WIN. How well do you know how the customer competes and how they differentiate themselves in the eyes of their customers? Seeking opportunities to help the customer compete must be a daily discipline.
3. Customer Engagement – True ‘Account Management’ requires involving the customer closely in the planning, execution, and periodic review of the business relationship. Without the Customer’s active engagement, many opportunities are not realized. Are you proactive in engaging the customer or do you wait until the customer approaches you?
4. Value Drivers – Everyone wants value. Have you and your team formally defined what Value is? To you? To the Customer? To each key player involved? The more you are able to clearly define what value is, financial and non-financial, the better you will be able to align your solutions to it and earn the customer’s long-term loyalty.
5. Goals – Nothing works without superior EXECUTION. A bias for realistic, quantifiable, results-oriented goals implementation is essential. Are your ‘Account Management’ goals realistic and achievable?
Think about it. Happy Selling!