Episode 21:

Strategic account management is far more than sales planning or opportunity planning

About this Short Bytes episode

Senior sales leadership (and Wall Street analysts) talk a lot about strategic accounts. Of course, that’s where the money is, and more importantly that’s where the profit is. While your top tier of customers may generate 60 or 80% of your revenue, they will generate all of your company’s profits.

Strategic accounts spend more, they are customers longer, and make specific long-lasting platform, technology and relationship commitments.

But it takes work. You need expertise, process excellence and good platform support. For expertise, the Strategic Account Management Association is the source of truth. And ⁠ARPEDIO⁠ provides a great tech platform that fully supports these efforts, and account-based selling more broadly.

But…most strategic account initiatives are set up to fail. “Lone wolves” are promoted to SAM or KADs and they have no ability to manage teams or complex processes and workflows.

Another failing is that the planning process typically focuses on sales planning or opportunity planning rather than relationship planning and management.

Account based selling counts on the latter. And the ARPEDIO platform, for instance, has a specific set of resources to support relationship development and management.

Here are a few lessons learned along the way. Success requires the following:
  • Hiring SAMs with strong team management skills and providing an effective coaching environment
  • Building a comp plan that supports the multi year and perhaps global nature of the SAM activities, while also properly motivating pillar reps.
  • Developing programmatic analysis of customer financials, industry growth trends, key stakeholder profiles, installed base, competitive SOW and more…
  • Enrolling management of each portfolio sales organization in the process and creating a consistent set of rules of engagement
  • Developing a process for thoughtfully identifying the strategic opportunities and challenges within the customer organization
  • Implementing a technology platform like ARPEDIO to support the process, both for the team and to provide ongoing management visibility
  • Installing a team governance process to ensure success on an ongoing basis

If you want help developing/supercharging your account planning or account-based selling activities, let me know. We can help you design an effective, comprehensive account planning framework and process that ensures higher revenues and customer satisfaction.

To follow up, you can reach me on ⁠⁠⁠LinkedIn ⁠⁠or via the Acelera Group ⁠⁠website⁠⁠.

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