By Ron Snyder of Plan2Win Software and Jim Naro of The Naro Group According to Gartner Group, “65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers and it costs 5 times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one satisfied.” This indicates the importance of not only doing a good job of managing opportunities during customer acquisition, but also following up with purposeful customer engagement to grow relationships and drive revenue growth on an ongoing basis. When do you actually cross the finish line? Is it when you win the first deal? The gap between opportunity management and account planning is not new and it’s typically driven by several misconceptions, such as:
- Opportunity management is a “won and done” achievement
- Account planning is just a once-a-year effort
- Account planning and opportunity management are independent efforts that require mutually exclusive skills, processes and vernacular
- Building your relationships and sphere of influence is part of account planning only; it’s not part of opportunity management
- It’s OK to implement these processes in silos within the organization
We have identified how to use relationships to implement 7 key account strategies that will maximize your results.
- Defend and Grow
- Land and Expand
- Direct Attack
- Change the Game
- Maintain and Support
- Develop Over Time
John Reighard, who has been a very successful sales leader, says that territory and account management is central to success. He has earned $90,000 per month and has led sales teams to greatly out-perform expectations and their peers. See the short video. https://youtu.be/43TcozQlYaY
The point is to take a quick action- a desired behavior- at an appropriate time- a cue- to move you toward an important goal. For example, if you want to do more exercise to get in better shape, decide to do 10 push ups every time you leave your house or watch TV. Over a short period of time, you will have done more exercise and it will have been easy to do. See Tiny Habits.
The same idea applies to account and territory management. Select desired behaviors and a cue in the sales world to have your team members do that behavior. It must be something they can do quickly. Here are some examples.
CSO Insights Sales Performance Optimization Study indicated that:
- The top 20% of customers produce 64% of revenue.
- 80% of sales leaders rated key account planning mission-critical or very important.
- Having account plans in the CRM are most effective.
Ed Bronder, Business Development Manager of a Medical Technology company said that having an account planning tool in Salesforce.com “makes Salesforce a usable tool for salespeople… that I can build and manage my plan in.”
Sales teams that are involved in complex selling, in a competitive environment (versus a hyper-growth environment) and that sell a significant dollar value are most likely to benefit from good account planning.
How account planning helps you make your numbers- a Sales Management perspective:
If you want to make more money, you need to look at how you are harvesting the opportunities within your key accounts and across your sales territories! Research shows that World Class Sales Organizations performed 25% better on key sales metrics by using sales planning methods like these:
- Using specific criteria to define a strategic account
- Having a method for deciding on opportunities to pursue
- Allocating the right resources to pursue large deals
- Being highly effective at advancing opportunities
- Leveraging the best practices of top performers
Think back on an important change effort that you were involved in; implementing a new direction, system or process. Though some changes go smoothly, most change efforts experience resistance. Why is it an uphill battle? One reason is that we’re biologically wired to resist change. The human body is designed to be homeostatic – stable and balanced. When change occurs, our body makes every effort to restore its original state. The human brain forms neurological patterns that inform our behaviors. The path of least resistance (both neurologically and psychologically) is to continue our current behavior. Another reason is that old habits die hard. Most people prefer to do things “the way we’ve always done them.” With a reasonable effort, however, you can forge a new path… and with it, achieve new results. People react differently to change. Some are open to it; even thrive on it. Others are more risk-averse and resist change. Typically, the people who drive change are more visionary. They can see the benefit of taking a new course. Visionaries need to realize that, even though they see the potential positive impact of a change, it may not be so obvious to others. To be effective, visionaries must sell their vision and the need for change… and have to work harder at maintaining the momentum than they expect! When considering change, our thought process is very similar to how we make a buying decision. We work through a similar set of questions:
- Are we motivated to solve this problem?
- Is this the right solution?
- Is it worth the effort or cost?
- How do we succeed?