Essentials of an Effective Account Planning Tool
By Mike Schultz

account planning tool

In The Benchmark Report on High Performance in Strategic Account Management, we analyzed data from over 370 companies that engage in formal strategic account management. We asked about the top challenges that limit account growth and found the number one difference between high performers and the rest is: having an effective strategic account planning tool.

Only 19% of high performers reported having an effective account planning tool as challenging compared to 53% of everyone else (see graph to the left).

The challenge of having an effective tool does not, however, exist in a vacuum.

Companies that don’t have an effective tool often don’t have one because they’re not committed to account growth as a systematic process, and they don’t commit to account planning as a necessary component of account growth success.

In any case, if you don’t have an effective tool you use across all accounts, it’s virtually impossible to make real progress in growing accounts systematically.
 

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Unique vs. Distinct: What Really Matters for Differentiation in B2B Sales
By Mike Schultz

differentiationWhen people talk about differentiation, the word they most associate with it is 'unique.'

Now, the word 'unique' is fraught with problems and danger.

The first reason is because what people say is unique often isn't actually unique. In fact, it comes across as pretty common.

For example, one company might say, "What makes us unique is our depth of experience. We only have people with 20 years of experience working on our projects."

Or another company might say, "Well, our technology is customized specifically for your industry."

Even another company might say, "Our level of customer service is truly the best in the industry."

Oftentimes, these things are valuable, but the definition of the word 'unique' is being without equal...

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Networking Skills: 3 Ways to Get to the Real Decision Maker
By Ago Cluytens

network

We've all been there.

Someone reaches out to you. They're enthusiastic. Ask for information. Want to talk to you on the phone. Ask for a proposal. Tell you they're "genuinely interested" in what you're offering. And "need something concrete to discuss in a meeting that's coming up."

And then...nothing.

The sale doesn't move forward. No decision is made. No further action from your side required. And "they'll be back in touch when they know more."

Here's the thing: sometimes the people we start talking to are not the people we should be talking to. Sellers I speak with often talk about the need to develop their networking skills to "go around someone and get to the real decision maker."

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What is Key Account Management?
By Mike Schultz

key account management definition

"You keep using that word. I do not think it
means what you think it means."

– Inigo Montoya

People at large companies bandy about the terms "key account management" and "strategic account management" in conversation every day.

Ask 10 people to define what these are, or to tell you what the criteria are for an account to be named a "key" account, and you’re likely to get 10 very different answers.

When companies lack an effective and universally understood definition of key account management, their success is hampered from the start. If you can’t define something, it’s difficult to develop a strategy around it...

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7 Steps to a Successful Sales Meeting When the Seller Drives the Demand
By Mike Schultz

sales meeting

You finally got the meeting!

Now what?

While getting a buyer to say "yes" to an initial sales meeting is a battle in and of itself, much success is determined by what happens in that first meeting. There are many mistakes to avoid, especially when you’re the one setting the meeting and driving the demand for your offerings.

At the very core, meetings set by you—the seller—flow differently than if the buyer contacted you and asked you to meet. After all, if you set the meeting, odds are the product, service, or solution you’re trying to sell isn’t on the buyer’s radar screen. You’re trying to persuade a buyer to put something on their agenda that they hadn’t otherwise been considering.

You need connect. You need to inspire. And you need to drive action...

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