Most services organizations have a significant part of their revenues coming in from a few select strategic key accounts. These accounts are nurtured over the years by salesmen, account managers, delivery personnel and receive a good share of top management attention.
Over time, many of these accounts fail to realize their true potential. Companies usually face a number of challenges as they work to build stronger relationships with its largest accounts. Sales teams are confident of their current relationships, but still fail to up-sell the company’s value and brand to expand the business as per company expectations. Sales transactions tend to get opportunistic with little planning or strategy. Marketing is typically underused, or viewed simply as a source for collateral and sales tools.
Under constant pressure to sell, Sales and Account management teams often can’t afford to devote the time necessary to plan an account strategy based on researching the larger business issues that customers face. Instead, they develop plans in relative isolation, with too much of an inward focus—the plans are based on what has already been sold to customers and assumptions about what they are most likely to buy next.
In such circumstances, what helps is a focused Key Accounts Marketing plan. Here are some steps involved
1) Identify & validate your key accounts, with an integrated sales and marketing effort, based on metrics, budgets, past performance, and future guidance.
2) Lay out an account specific plan, that includes stakeholders, influencers to be mapped, business expansions in current engagements, adjacencies to the business, detailed contact, company and industry based research to get closer to the real business issues facing the business. This also involves exploring areas that your company is not currently into, but can easily get into to satisfy potential client requirements
3) Implement and execute to the plan with detailed reviews and metrics. Laying out the plan is just the start, execution is the real challenge
4) Assess & Evaluate - Define success metrics and track these intermittently, so that you know that you are on the right track
Well this sounds easy, but takes a lot of effort. One of the services we offer (Key Accounts Marketing) is focused on making sure that our customers can truly unlock the potential of their key accounts in a planned and systematic manner.
All the very best !
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