Increasing complexity and the accelerating pace of changes in global and local markets urged companies to rapidly adapt their account management to new power and demands from their customers. Global trends and similar worldwide industry patterns have revolutionized the customer/supplier relationship overnight. Key account management seeks to align the best resources to the most profitable opportunities. This involves a thorough understanding of the customer and its competitive environment. And it requires a continuous engagement during every stage of the relationship.
Key account management, practiced effectively, can provide a structure to navigate through each of recent trends that have intensified in recent years, rather than being buffeted by them. But it does require a shift in mindset and behavior, and a commitment to build better capabilities, not just tweak a template or designate an account lead. Many organizations are geared to generate product sales volume, not to help a customer run its operations better. Acquiring insight about the customer takes hard work over a period of months, and fostering key accounts properly requires coordination, discipline, and scaling up to meet customers’ needs.
Indeed, many suppliers acknowledge that their key account management falls short. CSO Insight recently did a survey, of sales executives in large companies around the world. They found that 52 percent of respondents say their key account plans need improvements, and 60 percent say they lose deals because competitors establish a better relationship with the customer. In addition, 38 percent say they need to improve their understanding of the customer buying process, and 47 percent need to improve on the ability to sell based on value rather than on discounted price.
As per the study, the sales relationship/ process matrix have two components: what value your customer perceives you are bringing to the table, and the process by which you engage and work with your customers.
Bodhtree’s key account planning solution offers a single platform where sales managers can identify and segment their key accounts based on the organizational strategy, publish their key account plan and review progress at different milestones. With this solution, your sales organization has access to a common repository of information – the customer profile, relationship maps, sales data, won/loss analysis, internal organizational charts, etc., so that the sales teams have a better understanding of their clients.
The solution allows you to deploy a standard account plan for all sales reps across verticals, functions and geographies, so that best practices can be shared among all teams. Account plans are tied to specific accounts and contain the overall objectives for that account – including revenue targets, account targets, strategic challenges, top priorities, etc.
The key account planning solution empowers you to uncover new business opportunities, up sell / cross sell and align your best resources to the most profitable opportunities within your key accounts. Additionally, the solution offers KPI-based reports that enable sales leaders and top management to monitor sales results, and move the overall customer-satisfaction rating from average to an all-time high.
This gives me an opportunity to share recent implementation for a leading global engineering and networks company to improve their account management. They were highly dependent on IT for generating custom reports and obtaining a universal view of their customer data was difficult. We implemented the key account planning solution using Salesforce.com that enabled the customer to get a unified view of their key accounts, deploy a standard account management plan and track their sales teams’ progress against organizational KPIs. Our solution offered custom four-dimensional reports and dashboards (bubble charts) using Google API. Automated key account management enabled sales teams to gain a better understanding of their customer’s business and focus more on revenue generation activities.
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