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Excellent Account Management

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Building long-term mutually beneficial customer relationships should be a primary goal of any successful sales professional. Identifying key accounts and their importance as profitable main revenue streams is essential to long term success.

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Below are some extracts from our Excellent Account Management manual.

Role of the Account Manager

For your organisation and your Customer

Purpose

Clarify your role to get clear on your purpose and how to measure success as an Account Manager.

How it works

There are at least two perspectives here – one from the viewpoint of the Customer. The other from the point of view of our organisation as a whole (and our team in particular).

How to use it

Explore and agree with your manager the simplest and clearest description of your purpose within your organisation. For example: Brian Tracy proposes that the purpose of anyone in sales is the same as the purpose of any business:

 “The job description of a salesperson is the same as the purpose of a business. It is to create and keep customers.” To this we can add the Account Management directive to Grow business.

 

SWOT Analysis

Understanding your Customer

Purpose

Use this model to understand the vulnerabilities and opportunities with a particular Customer relationship

How it works

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

By reviewing a Customer relationship through each of these four perspectives you can work out priorities and opportunities for growth and development.

How to use it

SWOT is often carried out using a simple 2x2 grid with each box representing one of the four perspectives. This can be completed by one person or by a team. The grid can be printed or drawn on a whiteboard for larger discussions.

 

Decision Makers and Decision Making Units

It’s not what you know it’s who you know

Purpose

Decisions are more frequently made by multiple people within the Account. This places an emphasis on building connections within the Customer organisation. We need to be aware of how decisions are made through questioning and also be ready to help the decision be made at each stage.

Focusing on non decision-makers risks wasting time and energy as well as leaving room for competition to gain advantage.

How it works

Use appropriate questioning and research to understand the decision-making process and the decision-makers involved. Use this understanding to build further relationships and support your Customer contacts through the decision making process

The collection of participants involved a decision are referred to as the Decision Making Unit. Participants fulfil different roles within the unit.


Understand Customer's ROI expectations

Why are they interested in what you have got to say?

Purpose

Customers are generally inundated with approaches from suppliers. Why should they give any of their attention to you? By considering what is happening for the Customer, in particular identifying drivers for change an Account Manager is more likely to get their message heard.

How it works

It is usually when a major event happens that a Customer is open to speaking with their Account Manager. These events usually fall under one or more of the following headings:

Things went wrong: end-user dissatisfaction, regulatory non-compliance…

Changes: re-location, change in management team…

Insight: legislation, new competitor…

The Account Manager’s job is to look for these events and spot the opportunity as quickly as possible.

How to use it

  • Think about the headaches and problems your Customer might run into
  • Consider what the symptoms are for this problem and search / track them
  • Decide where you will find this information
    • Using sales intelligence systems
    • Reviewing business won and lost and the drivers for the outcome

 

Once you have identified the issue reach out to the Customer or Prospect with your tailored approach.

Present focusing on:

·         Their measurement of Value

·         The numbers to support your proposal

·         Case studies and references and social proof

 

 Understanding Customer Behaviours

It’s all about them and how we adapt to them

Purpose

Account Managers must factor in a wide range of variables when it comes to effectively managing Customer relationships. One of the more complex areas is the behaviour of the Customer – or more accurately the Customer’s representatives.

How it works

The Dimensional Model is based on the intersection of two scales of observable behaviour. They are the degree to which the Customer displays behaviour that is mainly:

Relationship: Hostile or Warm

Tasks: Dominant or Submissive

Based on the combination of behaviours the model proposes the most effective approach we can take to build the most effective working relationship with the Customer.

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