Building Trust with Skeptical Executives
By Mike Schultz & John Doerr

Conversation mistakes

Sometimes it’s just easy. You meet a person and connect. Conversation flows. You find common areas professionally and personally. Ideas bounce back and forth, and you start talking about how you can work on something together. Before you know it, work is under way, and the collaboration is the definition of one plus one equals three.

Sometimes it ain’t easy. You meet a person, and they’re all business. Getting them to engage with you in any sense is slow. Painful. You open up and share, provide great ideas, and work hard to get the other person to see the value in working with you. It should be plain to see, but it’s not. You’re met with aloofness and suspicion.

You try to engage on a personal level and ask, “How was your weekend?” His reply, “Fine.” Then dead air...

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7 Tips for Maximizing Time and Deepening Relationships with Executives
By Mike Schultz & Bob Croston

Conversation mistakes

“It’s impossible to get serious face time with senior executives.”

“Even getting 15 minutes with a senior executive can take 15 months.”

I hear things like this all the time from professionals, sellers, and other business leaders who want to get more time with decision makers, but haven’t yet cracked the code.

Let’s start by setting a few things straight:

1.    It’s not impossible to get serious face time with senior executives.
2.    Getting serious face time with senior executives doesn’t need to take forever.
3.    The code is crackable.

It’s a common misconception that senior executives don’t have time. Based on extensive research in the area, I’m prepared to reveal a startling fact...

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Sneak Peek at the Benchmark Report on High Performance in Strategic Account Management with Our SAM Infographic
By Mike Schultz

Infographic previewIn our white paper Why Strategic Account Management Fails, we noted that high performers in strategic account management were significantly less likely to face 16 of 19 common challenges in strategic account management. We didn’t, however, have space to go into much detail in this specific area. Since publishing the white paper, we’ve been asked quite a bit for more detail on the specific challenges faced by companies that engage in formal strategic account management, and the differences between high performers and average / below-average performers.

Though access to the full Benchmark Report on High Performance in Strategic Account Management is reserved for one-on-one interactions and for our work with clients, we are happy to share this more in-depth look at some of the challenges that stood out to us...

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Turning the Question "What do you do?" Into a Conversation About Value
By Mike Schultz

Conversation mistakesAvoid these six conversational mistakes in new business relationships.

You’re at an industry event mulling over which cheese will go best with which crackers at the buffet. The person next to you introduces himself. You introduce yourself. Then he says:

“So tell me, what do you do?”

The challenge is to communicate the key elements of your value. When we work with our clients to teach them how to sell, we tend to focus on helping them learn the right things to do, such as you’ll find in our article 6 Building Blocks for Communicating Your Value Proposition.

Knowing the right thing to do will help you get on the right track. However, even those on the right track can get derailed by common mistakes. It’s often just as helpful to know what not to do as it is to know what to do.

Here, then, are the most common mistakes we see people making when trying to answer the question, “What do you do?” and ideas for how to avoid them...

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5 Ways Strategic Account Management and Selling Are Different
By Mike Schultz

Spot the differencesWhat are the differences between Strategic Account Management and Selling?

Ask the question, “What needs to happen at your company to maximize your success with your strategic accounts?” and you’re likely to get answers like this:

  • The leaders at the account need to know about the value we can bring them besides what we’re doing for them right now.
  • We need to penetrate different divisions of the accounts.
  • Our relationships need to be deeper if we want to keep competitors out.
  • We need to work directly with decision makers at the enterprise level.

Nice list, but not unique to strategic account management.

Indeed, the answers tend to be the same as those to the question, “What would you like your salespeople to do more of?"

Company leaders often ask the question, look at this list, and decide, “Okay – looks like we need sales training. Let’s put something on the agenda.”

This is a mistake.

While on their face, many of the outcomes of strategic account management and sales are the same (e.g. higher revenue, higher margins, longer contracts, deeper penetration, more mindshare, stronger relationships) and some of the concepts are the same, the paths to get there can be quite different.

Here are 5 areas where these differences stand out...

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