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Top 10 Strategic Account Management Challenges [Research]

When it comes to growing accounts, challenges abound. In our Benchmark Report on High Performance in Strategic Account Management, we asked:

Consider the challenges your company faces in strategic account management. For each factor indicate how challenging it is to your company's SAM efforts.

Here are the results:



Looking at the challenges in aggregate, however, does not tell the whole story. We wanted to know if high-performing firms—those with greater revenue growth, profit growth, and year-over-year client satisfaction in their named strategic accounts—experience different challenges than the rest.

Across the board, high-performers run into fewer challenges. Plus, the challenges they face are different from those of average and below-average performers.

Top 5 SAM Challenges that Are Challenging or Very Challenging for Average / Below Average Performers


Average and below-average performers are more challenged by fundamental components:

  • Having appropriate planning tools
  • Having people who can handle enterprise discussions
Top 5 SAM Challenges that are Challenging or Very Challenging for High Performers


The two challenges that appear in the top 5 for high performers—but not for average / below-average performers—are "having the knowledge to build and communicate value" and "having appropriate compensation structures for strategic account managers."

While some of the challenges overlap, by and large high performers struggle less with fundamental challenges such as having an effective account planning tool and the right team to even lead executive-level discussions, and are tackling more structural and enterprise issues like compensation and maximizing value across the organization's capability set.

Additional Reading
Infographic: 5 Sales Skills to Differentiate Your Team

In our recent Top-Performing Sales Organization study, we were particularly interested in the sales skills that stood out when sellers not only met their goals, but also believed their goals were challenging.

[New Research] Benchmark Report on Top Performance in Strategic Account Management

When we studied strategic account management in 2012, 59% of sales leaders believed there was greater than 25% revenue growth potential in their existing accounts.

In a separate, more recent research initiative, we found that the #1 priority for sales leaders in the year ahead is to increase business with existing accounts. We also discovered that Top Performers are nearly 2x more likely to be effective at maximizing sales to their existing accounts.

5 Essentials for Managing Your Sales Organization’s Talent

Attracting and retaining top sales talent is a huge challenge for many companies.

If you want to take your sales results to the next level, your organization must have the right people in the right roles, performing at a high level day in and day out. You also need the right management team with an effective process in place to ensure this all happens.