The core purpose of Strategic Account Planning is to help the sales account management team effectively prepare and stay focused on the overall customer’s business objectives. Strategic account planning also creates a consistent experience for the customer. In order to achieve positive results from the strategic planning process, it is imperative that the following tips be taken into consideration:
Designate responsibility to the right individuals
Two critical client account roles are the ‘Chief Relationship Officer” and the ‘Business Driver.’ The former is usually the strategic account lead and is well versed in ‘connecting links and building bridges’ amongst the ‘Who’s who’ of the client organization. They are selected for their political astuteness and ability to create long term relationships. Similarly ‘Business Drivers’ on major accounts should be extremely motivated individuals with a single-mindedness towards achieving the client’s goals and ensuring client success.
Choose the right accounts
A sales force has little time to waste on unproductive leads or unqualified accounts that do not fit. This is why it is important to choose the right accounts on which to invest the limited sales and support resources. By the ‘right’ account, we mean the ones that have the most potential and that best fit your ideal target client criteria.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Don’t drown your strategic accounts by making them listen to repeated sales spiels and monologues. Rather, listen to them and listen well. Active listening is pivotal to ensure that they are able to voice any grievances and so you and your team know where you stand. Knowing where you stand at all times allows you to proactively manage expectations and respond to issues as they arise. This means understanding what matters most to your client personally and professionally and helping them to achieve success.
Be naturally optimistic
Optimism may be highly infectious and a veritable magnet for many other people. Without being Pollyanna, strive to be positive and up beat when talking to your strategic accounts and make them feel upbeat as well. In other words, they should look forward to your calls rather than dread them.
To learn more about strategic accounts, please download 3 Critical Red Flags to Watch Out for at Your Strategic Accounts