Category Archives: Strategic Sales Account Planning and Management

September 19th, 2016

It’s Time to Execute Your Account Management Strategy

Account Management Strategy

If you win accounts only to lose them at contract renewal, you are not managing your accounts well, if at all. There are three components of an effective account management strategy:

The creation of a plan The tools to support the plan Execution

In my previous posts, I addressed the  creation of a sales account management plan and the account management tools to support it; now I’ll focus on execution.

Let’s say you have written account management plans for accounts that warrant them and you have the tools to make those plans happen. What’s left? As Nike would say, “Just do it.”

But going out and doing it is where many sales professionals fall short. They’re too busy doing other important things: chasing after new business, prospecting, doing internal reports, or going to meetings.

Executing and Account Management Strategy

I tell sales professionals, “You are the CEO of your own territory.” It is your responsibility to hold your own feet to the fire to make sure you’re doing the right things to maintain and grow your accounts.

It’s more than relationship building; although, that’s a large piece of it. Stepping back, you have to diligently work your plan month by month and year by year. You also have to look at the competition as part of your overall plan. You want to find out how often competitors visit » Continue Reading.

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September 16th, 2016

Are You Tapping the Right Tools to Support Account Management?

Sales Account Management Tools

Sales account management tools like relationship maps, CRM solutions, and social networking sites are a great way to support your account management strategy. Selecting and using the right tools is an important part of successfully implementing an account management plan in your organization.

The three major components of account management are:

The creation of a plan The tools to support the plan Execution

In my previous post, I addressed developing a sales account management plan; now I’ll focus on sales account management tools.

Sales Account Management Tools Relationship Maps

A major element of account management is focusing on relationships — building them, maintaining them, and growing them.

Are you contacting the right people?

Do you know all the stakeholders in the buying process?

How would you know?

This is where relationship maps become useful tools.

Much like an organizational chart, a relationship map provides a visual reference of the people within the customer organization and who reports to whom. The more detail you add, the more helpful the map. Some people color-code names on their maps, identifying decision makers, influencers, and gatekeepers. Others also identify allies, coaches, detractors, supporters of competitors, and even neutral stakeholders.

The value of a relationship map is that it shows you where you are potentially vulnerable in a customer’s organization. Consider this point of view: “My contacts are mostly at the director level, and maybe I get to see a vice president » Continue Reading.

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September 12th, 2014

How to Transition Your People from Taking Orders to Developing Key Accounts Strategically


How to Transition Your People from Taking Orders to Developing Key Accounts Strategically

Without process and metrics, it is difficult to determine if your account managers are taking orders or managing key accounts strategically. It is tempting for salespeople to enjoy the easy money of fulfilling orders and avoid “rocking the boat” to push the customer to do more with you. However, that complacent behavior can backfire quickly if a key contact in an account leaves or changes positions. Forget about growth — your business in the account could evaporate instantly. You can’t take that risk. You need better insight into the account and activity.

Protecting and growing key accounts is essential to the well-being of any organization and is too important to be managed reactively. Account managers are part of a business and need to have both short-term and long-term plans for that business. An account development process provides this type of short-term and long-term planning for your large accounts. Good account plans provide checkpoints; measurable objectives that allow you to see if progress is being made. Equally important are checkpoints that let you spot and correct small problems before they become major issues. Plans often change, but they can provide a place to start.

Some organizations have specialized account managers, and others expect their salespeople to play the role of both hunter and farmer. However, planning is not typically » Continue Reading.

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September 3rd, 2014

Value Strategy: The Foundation of Collaborative Account Development


Value Strategy: The Foundation of Collaborative Account Development

Sales people must fully understand a client’s industry and business in order to bring real value to the client. This brings something into play called the value strategy, the way to gain this understanding. Value strategy is a plan of action designed to identify, generate, communicate and deliver the value that your company brings to the client.

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April 15th, 2013

Communicating Value to Protect & Grow Strategic Accounts – Part 2


In the first part of this article, we introduced the notion that value not communicated is value not perceived and three basic steps to ensure that the right people in your account understand your contribution:

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