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.
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.
1. Establish a process.
Determine how you will establish and monitor the progress of territory plans each quarter. A clear set of action steps helps each member of the team understand what’s expected as the quarter unfolds. This includes having territory managers:
create and update territory plans
and review the plans at the regional and then national levels.
Support, marketing, and other functions should be included in review sessions as appropriate. In addition, you need to include steps to maintain continuity from quarter to quarter, such as working on territory, account, and opportunity plans that take longer than one quarter to implement.
For more details on the implementation of the process across the quarter, see our Manager's Checklist for Territory Planning.
- See the article on Selling Power Blog.
Tim Henning is a Senior Sales Leader with 25+ years of experience in the medical capital equipment space, leading sales efforts for Philips Medical, ADAC Laboratories, DFINE and Alliance Imaging. He helped ADAC earn the prestigious Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award and he has transformed many poor sales performers into winning teams, leading them to peak levels of sales excellence. Here are the highlights of an interview in which Tim gives his take on the pay-offs and the challenges that come with sales territory management.
You should always know what you’re gonna get! Unlike Forest Gump, who never knew what he was going to get from life, best-in-class territory managers have a plan for achieving the results they want. They set clearly defined goals for their territory. More importantly, they create a plan and engage in focused activities to accomplish their territory objectives. Success for them is not by chance or based on random activities. These sales people are most likely to meet their goals because of their preparation and the execution of defined territory plans. They win because they have made good choices about what to focus on, they know what must be accomplished, and they make deliberate decisions on how to invest their time to develop and win business. Sales territories are like a box of chocolate. With twenty-four varieties to choose from, which ones do you select and in which order? Do you consume thousands of calories quickly or do you manage your consumption? It all looks so good! What do you do when someone else takes one of your favorites? Know your territory, have a plan, execute by making considered, deliberate choices!
“Are your territories managing you… or are you managing your territories?” This is a question that has helped improve the results of many sales organizations. We have worked with many senior sales executives who have set up, ramped up and turned around a number of sales organizations; enabling them to achieve dramatic growth even in tough selling environments. One of the common elements of their systems for sales success is installing a good territory management process and template to ensure the sales team is making the most of the opportunities in their areas of responsibility; including territories, vertical markets and channel partners. Further, it is important to always look for ways to “connect the dots”… to understand what was happening in a territory, who the power brokers are, how they affect opportunities across the territory and how to leverage our contacts to make progress in target accounts and sales opportunities.