Today, development teams use agile development techniques so they can develop products, get them out into the user world and iterate based on feedback. Likewise, account teams need to be able to develop effective strategic account plans, implement them and adjust as the situation in the account unfolds; adjusting in real time to changes in their accounts. It is a brave new world out there! Technology has changed the way we sell and interact with customers and prospects. Many sales teams are struggling to achieve their goals. According to Miller Heiman Group’s “Future 4” Webinar, Nov 2017:
- The percentage of reps making quota is down 10% (from 63% in 2012 to 53% in 2017).
- The percentage of companies achieving their revenue plan is down 4% (from 89% in 2012 to 85% in 2017).
- There are more people involved in the buying process.
- More buyers have formal processes that sellers must adhere to.
- It is harder to reach people.
- More buyers are requiring financial justification of purchases.
- Missing opportunities in key account; a formal process will bring them to light.
- Not having a common plan and account data across the team, thus not leveraging cross-functional knowledge of the account to respond to changes in the sales situation, resolve issues quickly and maintain customer satisfaction.
- Not leveraging relationships with key decision influencers in the account, which a common plan across the team would enable.
- Poor resource management across important accounts and opportunities. There is a need for a better process to manage utilization of resources across the team.
- Steam: a much better way of propelling vehicles and harnessing energy.
- The automobile: mass production of the automobile, then trucks- with the creation of good roads- made transportation of people and goods generally available. (I added this one.)
- Electricity: a much better way of powering things and transmitting energy.
- Computing: harnessing machines to do tasks more consistently and faster. (I added this one.)
- The Internet: making information and computing available in a virtually ubiquitous manner. (They called this computing, but the date they gave, 1995, coincides with the advent of the first internet browser.)
- Mobile Devices: making it easy to access the internet and services virtually anywhere. (I added this one.)
- Intelligence: taking data and turning it into insights that enable jobs to be done more efficiently- or do jobs that couldn’t have been done before due to the complexity or response time needed.
- See how you can utilize Salesforce’s Einstein. It can help you do a better job of finding the best leads and opportunities to work on and help you identify deals that need to be worked on to make your forecast.
- Use some of the other tools in the AppExchange to improve your team’s effectiveness and efficiency. For example, there are offerings that enable you to record and serve up video for training and vetting of sales reps. One of these uses IBM’s Watson to review presentations that sales reps record and submit. The program grades how well a customer will receive a presentation from an emotional perspective and provides a translation of the script for the evaluator to read. The manager or assigned person then reviews the presentation- accessing it through the system- and provides feedback. You can also place the presentations on a leader board so that team members learn from each other.
If you want to get a great start in the new year, focus on how you can deliver unique value to your customers. There is a lot of talk about “adding value” for customers. Why is this so important and how can you do it?
Adding value enables you to set yourself apart when customers have a hard time distinguishing between alternatives. It can be the key to winning your first business deal with a new account or building a stronger relationship with an existing account.
Creating and implementing strong territory and account plans is an important part in this endeavor. Effective account management increases return from strategic accounts by 145%, according to Actify’s Account Planning Book of Evidence.
Here is how you can add value:
1. Be an indispensable resource.
In each communication, share creative resources and/or unique insight to help solve their issues. Provide links to white papers, expert opinions, case studies, user guides, set up guides and consulting services.
2. Be proactive.
Poor account management may be costing more than you realize. Some of the critical effects may go unnoticed until it is too late, costing you in many ways, including:
- Missing important opportunities in strategic accounts or, even worse
- Losing important accounts.
- When customers leave, 68% of them do so because they felt poorly treated.
- You’ll spend up to 5 times more to win a new customer than it will cost to retain an existing one.
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