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SPI Insight: The Art and Science of Unlocking the Full Potential of Strategic Accounts

This eBook focuses on the importance of strategic accounts and how to make sure that you’re unlocking their full potential.

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SPI Insight: The Art and Science of Unlocking the Full Potential of Strategic Accounts

  2. 2. 2 © Sales Performance International, Inc TABLE OF CONTENTS THE ART AND SCIENCE OF UNLOCKING THE FULL POTENTIAL OF STRATEGIC ACCOUNTS 01: HOW TO SELL MORE IN KEY ACCOUNTS The AnswerLies in the Whitespace (Pages 3-4) 02: HOW TO PROTECT STRATEGIC ACCOUNTS FROM COMPETITORS Getting Higherand Strongeris the Best Defense (Pages 5-6) 03: MODERN ACCOUNT PLANNING Introducing Spi’s Total Enterprise Account Management (TEAM) Program (Pages 7-8)
  3. 3. 3 © Sales Performance International, Inc HOW TO SELL MORE IN KEY ACCOUNTS THE ANSWER LIES IN THE WHITESPACE By David Stargel, VP and SeniorConsultant, Sales Performance International Are your salespeople putting enough time, effort and thought into developing and retaining business with your current customers, especially in large key accounts? And even if they are, how do you know if they are doing this effectively? Our clients tell us that the cost of sale for acquiring a new customer can be up to ten times more than for developing business in an existing account. Increased profitability of business over the life of a retained customer is why most organizations are allocating more resources to sharpen their customer retention and growth strategies. But not all are doing this in a disciplined and systematic way. Too many salespeople focus on chasing the next big deal. Many sellers depend too much on inbound demand generation driven by marketing. This has conditioned many salespeople to be reactive – whenever a “hot” lead surfaces, they drop everything to chase it down. Selling more to existing accounts means getting ahead of this reactionary curve. Your salespeople must dedicate enough time and thought to strategically analyze their customer, identify where the real growth opportunities exist, and determine how to add value. To maximize sales in current accounts, this discipline must be executed consistently by every seller with account management responsibilities. White Space Analysis is an approach to help account managers to systematically understand: • What’s happening in a customer organization • The drivers and issues that are impacting the customer • The initiatives that they are considering to execute their strategy • How they can create value in the account by enabling the customer to succeed These insights enable sellers to identify a customer’s performance gaps or problems, and where your solutions and capabilities align with those issues. Think of this as a two-axis matrix, with the vertical axis listing the problems that a customer is struggling to overcome, and the horizontal axis listing your solution set. Our clients report that the White Space Analysis exercise, while simple to execute, consistently increases the number of identified opportunities to create value and generate new business by two to seven times. Once an account manager identifies the highest-value solutions that match up to a customer’s most critical business issues, they can then prioritize the opportunities, assess their strength of relationship and access to decision makers, and develop a practical plan to gain access, build support, and secure the business. White Space Analysis is one element of SPI’s Total Enterprise Account Management (TEAM) program for improved account sales planning and relationship development. The discipline of White Space Analysis enables your sales team to identify where they can create new value, for both the customers and for your own organization, and thus, maximizes results in accounts. It changes the reactive behavior of most sellers and helps them to develop a higher level of relationship. This is especially important in large, key accounts, which represent the 1
  4. 4. 4 © Sales Performance International, Inc most profitable customers. If you sense that you should be getting more from your existing accounts, then start by downloading our White Space Analysis template.
  5. 5. 5 © Sales Performance International, Inc HOW TO PROTECT STRATEGIC ACCOUNTS FROM COMPETITORS GETTING HIGHER AND STRONGER IS THE BEST DEFENSE By David Stargel, VP and SeniorConsultant, Sales Performance International How much of your annual goal depends on growing revenue in strategic accounts? Almost all of our clients tell us that a relatively small number of large accounts generate a disproportionate amount of their revenue. Protecting and growing revenue in strategic accounts are critical success factors for nearly every sales leader. So, how awful would it be if a strategic account “went silent” and you found out later that a competitor displaced you? Strategic accounts are among your organization’s most valuable assets. Protecting them against competitors and growing business by creating and winning new opportunities, depend heavily on the breadth and quality of relationships in those accounts. Strategic accounts will always be at risk if your sales team is not aligned with the right people—the ones with the influence or authority to launch or sustain business initiatives. Effectiveaccountmanagersdevelopandelevatetheirrelationshiplevelsinaccounts by: 1. Assessing Organizational Power and Politics It is common for account managers to get comfortable with a solitary relationship in an account, and often with a contact at an operational level. This is risky because buyers in accounts can leave and get replaced by others with different loyalties. To guard against this eventuality, your account managers must: • Identify all of the key stakeholders in the account • Assess each stakeholder’s power and influence • Determine political standing with each Your account managers must look beyond formal titles and reporting relationshipsandalsoexamineeachcontact’sinformalauthorityandpower to get things done. Good account managers generally have an intuitive understanding of an organization’s political landscape, but it’s best to not leave this to intuition alone. By establishing objective criteria to evaluate stakeholders, account managers will have a more accurate understanding of the people with whom they must align. 2. Gaining Access to New Stakeholders Once an account manager identifies a stakeholder with whom they want to build a relationship, the easiest way to gain access is to suggest ways to solve a problem with significant organizational impact. Current contacts in an account are much more likely to introduce sellers to other stakeholders, if they believe that seller will bring value. By identifying the specific business issues or potential missed opportunities of different stakeholders, account managers can suggest potential solutions, leverage existing relationships, and gain access to new stakeholders more easily. 3. Nurturing Existing Relationships 2
  6. 6. 6 © Sales Performance International, Inc While approaching new stakeholders in an account, either directly or through an existing relationship, account managers must be sensitive to how that will be perceived – they must be careful not to risk alienating currentcontacts.Savvyaccountmanagersworktonurtureexistingcontact relationships by collaborating actively with them, keeping them informed, and showing how they can bring value to other parts of the organization – and thereby reflect well on existing contacts’ reputations. 4. Getting Credit for Value Nothing elevates an account relationship more than getting credit for value delivered. This means not only regularly measuring and reporting the business impact of solutions, but also in bringing new insight and business savvy to every conversation in the account. Account manager conversations must show understanding of stakeholder challenges – they need to demonstrate situational fluency. Good account managers also do their research and calculate the cost of the status quo and the value of potential benefits. Each conversation in an account needs to be value- based. In modern account management, the best defense is a good offense. By using these proactive methods to develop and elevate the level of relationships, account managers will be able to better protect strategic accounts against competitive encroachment. Download our Levels of Account Relationship guide. It will help you and your team to accurately assess the quality of relationships in accounts.
  7. 7. 7 © Sales Performance International, Inc MODERN ACCOUNT PLANNING INTRODUCING SPI’S TOTAL ENTERPRISE ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT (TEAM) PROGRAM By James Touchstone, Director, Sales Performance International Your company’s most valuable assets are your enterprise accounts. The impact of acquiring, growing, and retaining large enterprise accounts cannot be understated. For many of our clients, a relatively small number of enterprise accounts generate as much as 80 percent or more of total revenues. In recognition of the ever-growing importance of enterprise accounts, we are very pleased to introduce our new Total Enterprise Account Management (TEAM) program. WHAT IS TEAM? TEAM is the culmination of two points of view on managing large accounts: planning for both account sales maximization and for higher relationship development. When SPI acquired The Complex Sale (TCS) last year, we were able to bring together two different perspectives on successfully developing business in large enterprise accounts and integrate them together to form a uniquely holistic program – one that enables account managers to maximize sales while also elevating their relationships, and thus, protects those accounts from competitive encroachment. To manage enterprise accounts successfully, account managers must be adept at quantitative aspects of account planning to maximize revenue growth. They must also develop higher levels of trust and credibility with individuals in the account. The SPI and TCS teams recognized each of those essential abilities as two halves of the same coin that needed to be brought together into one, unified methodological approach. The new TEAM program is the unique synthesis of effective methods for maximizing sales and building relationships in an enterprise account. ACCOUNT SALES PLANNING First, TEAM helps account managers develop a solid, quantitative understanding of an account’s potential. The methodology includes tools for compiling an inventory of the recurring revenue and current opportunities, and then identifies additional opportunities for creating new value in a white space exercise. The white space exercise is very simple. It examines the key initiatives, account-level business issues, and potential missed opportunities. Using a specialized matrix, the exercise enables account managers to see all potential opportunities within that account that can help them achieve or surpass their revenueobjectives.Thissimpleexercisetypicallyincreasesthenumberofidentified new business opportunities in an account by2-7 times. Some tend to not know what to do with so many new opportunities, so TEAMprovidesasimplemechanismforprioritizingthemandallocatingresourcesfor execution. This helps account managers to identify and pursue those opportunities with the highest mutual value for both the buying selling organizations. ACCOUNT RELATIONSHIP PLANNING Next,TEAMhelpsaccountmanagersplaneffectivestrategiesforimproving their level of relationship with enterprise accounts. TEAM provides an assessment tool to accurately determine the current level of relationship. Account managers 3
  8. 8. 8 © Sales Performance International, Inc tend to overstate this, because they generally think of relationships in terms of interactions with only the individuals whom they know in an account. TEAM enables account managers to see if they are trusted advisors to an enterprise account, or merely vendors or credible sources. They can then apply the optimum strategies and tactics to navigate organizational politics and elevate their true status over time. IMPLEMENTATION: PRACTICAL & SEAMLESSLY EMBEDDED WITHIN CRM The TEAM methodology generates a practical plan captured and shared electronically, either stand-alone or integrated within a CRM system, such as The TEAM learning experience is entirely “hands on” by using planning tools and technology in a workshop. When your account managers leave the TEAM program, they do so with a live plan that they can use immediately. The TEAM methodology is an integrated system of technology, planning methods, and skills development that enables your account managers to secure major accounts, identify new opportunities, build better relationships with buyers, and ultimately, generate more business. Please click here to download an overview of TEAM, the modern account planning program.
  9. 9. 9 © Sales Performance International, Inc WHERE TO DOWNLOAD ASSETS? 01: FREE WHITE SPACE ANALYSIS TEMPLATE Download This Helpful Tool To Identify More Opportunites To Create Value,And Secure More Business In Accounts. 02: FREE LEVELS OF ACCOUNT RELATIONSHIP GUIDE Download This Useful Guide For Determining Your Team’s Level Of Account Relationship. 03: FREE MODERN ACCOUNT PLANNING OVERVIEW Download An Overview Of Our TEAM Account Planning Program. ABOUT SPI Sales Performance International (SPI) is a global sales performance improvement firm. We help the world’s leading companies drive predictable revenue and profitability growth by optimizing sales organization performance. Founded in 1988, SPI has been the leader in helping global companies apply process and methodologies to transition from selling products to marketing and selling high-value, customer-focused solutions. Our extensive sales performance expertise, deep industry knowledge, global resources, and verified results uniquely position SPI as the go-to firm for organizations seeking to gain a competitive edge by how they sell. SPI has assisted over 1,500,000 sales and management professionals in more than 55 countries and 15 languages to achieve higher levels of sales effectiveness. ABOUT THE AUTHORS Dave Stargel is a Vice President and Senior Consultant with SPI. He is involved in SPI’s product development of key programs for strategic planning solutions, and works with key client accounts to drivesustainablerevenuegrowthbyaligningtheirsalestalentwith their strategic business goals. JamesN.TouchstoneisSPI’sDirectorofLearning&Development, and is responsible for the creation and enhancement of advanced sales methodology and skill enhancement programs. He is also co-author of The Solution Selling Fieldbook.
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