Do you wish your sales people spent more time with your more important accounts? Most sales leaders are realizing that time invested in certain accounts yields far better returns than time invested in others. Moreover, when all accounts are treated with the same level of effort, the organization is spread too thin and there aren’t enough resources to properly service high potential accounts.
The Big Mistake
One of the biggest mistakes sales leaders make when implementing a strategic account program is assuming that their largest accounts are their strategic accounts. The assumption is: if these accounts generate the most revenue for us, they must be strategic. This is not necessarily true. In fact, more often than not, your largest accounts are the most transactional accounts. They also tend to be set up to formalize their purchasing process to prevent vendors from differentiating themselves on anything other than price. Finally, it is often difficult to have frequent access to the C-suite in these accounts.
Definition of a Strategic Account
Amount of revenue doesn’t make an account strategic. What makes an account strategic is the synergy between the vendor and the client, i.e. the outcome of the work they do together is strategically significant to both organizations. While most sales teams are clear about the value of the outcomes they deliver to their clients, they are less clear about the value of the client outcomes to their own organization.
It’s best to have a formal scorecard when considering if an account should be treated strategically. First, be clear about your own organizations strategic plan and objectives. Then choose five to ten attributes that clients can be assessed against. Half the attributes should relate to the current performance of the organization (e.g., current sales, share of wallet, profitability) and half the attributes should relate to the future growth potential and strategic fit (e.g., cultural fit, access to executives, access to decision-making). By using a scorecard, your team can objectively decide which clients merit the attention of your best resources.
Taking the time to think through what makes an account strategic for your organization and then developing an approach to effectively engage these accounts will pay huge dividends. You can expect to see greater revenue, greater profitability and more opportunities to create innovative solutions.
If you want to talk about how you can set this up for your organization, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.