// Blog

Generate More Leads with Existing Accounts Through Value and Collaboration

blog author
Written by Mike Schultz
President, RAIN Group

Most people think of prospecting as reaching out to people they don’t know, with an over-the-top approach, to interest them in buying something they’re not thinking about. This isn’t the only way to generate more leads.

Prospecting isn’t just a cold activity, and you don’t need a sledgehammer approach to make it work.

Key accounts are typically huge, untapped opportunities for more business. To generate more leads, sellers often use the same tactics they do when cold prospecting. It’s not called “key account sales” just to use fancy words. It’s different.

If you’re selling to a key account, you know them already. And they know you. You’re important to each other. You’ve built trust. That’s a very strong platform—one you should be careful to protect.

At the same time, most realize they can and should be doing more work with their key accounts. Since no one else is going to make sure the client receives maximum business value from their relationship with your company, you must be proactive to make it happen.

Yet many sellers—especially seller-doers such as at services firms—think, "I shouldn’t bother my clients," and "I don’t want to upset their trust. They can’t see me too as self-interested, and selling to them does that."

This thinking is misguided.

Let’s assume you’ve already led a solid internal value discovery session. You have a set of ideas for how you should expand account relationships by adding more value.

Now that you’ve carefully explored working with the client in more ways that will help them be more successful, the outreach doesn’t need be complicated or contrived. When it goes something like this—whether it be via phone or email—it tends to work just fine.

There are innumerable varieties of length, tone, and specifics you can communicate, but the ideas are to

  1. intrigue them with the possibility of creating value that’s really worthwhile to them,
  2. with a straightforward approach,
  3. that invites collaboration.

These three points are critical for your messaging if you want to generate more leads with key accounts.

If this were cold prospecting, you might see advice to include something like, “We’ve been able to help organizations like X and Y to increase the speed of their new location openings by 21%, saving an average of $400k per opening.”

This can be a good approach when there isn’t an existing relationship, but it tends to be overkill for someone you know. If you have a good relationship, they should say yes to a meeting, or at least ask to find out more, and you can take it from there.

If they ask questions, let them know the gist of what you’re thinking. You might say that you’ve been working with another client, and a few innovations you’re produced there are generating great results like you mentioned. In any case, keep the tone of the initial outreach conversational.

It’s a revelation and a relief for many sellers to know that they can (and should) reach out to existing clients with a conversational and straightforward approach that doesn’t make them feel too salesy. At the same time, the approach won’t upset the relationship, and will, indeed, generate more leads and fill the pipeline with new business opportunities.


Subscribe today to get the latest on virtual selling, insight selling, strategic account management, sales conversations, and more straight to your inbox.

Topics: Strategic Account Management