Congratulations! You successfully sold one or more of your company's products or services to a business unit, department, or division of a large organization. Now your manager has tasked you with "account management".
If you are not already familiar with account management, you are probably asking yourself the following questions:
Providing answers to these questions is the focus of this article.
Account management is a synonym for account penetration. Just because you have sold one product or service to one business entity within an organization doesn't mean your job is done. Think of all the additional opportunities that may exist in the account! For example:
A critical talent for successful account management is the ability to build relationships, as relationship selling is a very effective way to increase account penetration. Another critical skill/talent is organization. If you are going to manage large accounts effectively, you need to be willing and able to keep meticulous records.
What kinds of records do you need to keep? Picture a three-dimensional spreadsheet in your mind. In the left-hand column is a list of every product and service that you could possibly sell to a customer. Across the top of the spreadsheet are all of the business units, departments, divisions, and other business entities that make up your account's entire organization. Behind each business entity is every contact you know within that business entity.
Armed with this mental picture, ask yourself the following questions:
Hopefully your organization has some type of CRM (Client Relationship Management) software application to help you keep track of your answers to these questions. If you don't have access to a corporate CRM system, here are some other options:
Next, plan your tactics for increasing account penetration by considering the following questions:
Because they forget! I can tell you from personal experience that there is nothing more annoying than finding out a customer has placed a large order with someone else for something you could have provided...and the only reason they didn't give you an opportunity to win the order was because they didn't know or remember that you could fill it!
There can be, but activities focused on increasing account penetration make up the critical core. Account management does become more complex if a team of people is managing a regional, national, or global account, but most of the complexity pertains to coordinating the activities of the team members.
Don't make account management more complex than it needs to be! The basic goal is to maximize account penetration. Look for opportunities to sell every product and service in your portfolio to every business entity (business unit, department, division, etc.) in the account. Make maximum use of referrals and testimonials to help you initiate new relationships. Regularly remind all of your contacts of the full breadth of your portfolio of products and services. Be organized and keep meticulous records.
If you do these things, you should be amply rewarded for your efforts!