Are you leveraging insight selling for strategic account management?
The strategic account management process is about building value-driven relationships with your key customers. It is a synonym of Key Account Management. The strategic account manager’s role is to identify those key customers that generate maximum revenue and profitability as compared to other regular accounts. These managers act as a bridge between the company and stakeholders at the customer side. The idea is to increase customer lifecycle value by starting small like with a free trial or test project, adding value and building trust.
Insight selling may come across as a complex term, but if broken down into digestible shots, it is a fairly simple term to absorb and practice. Insights that the seller offers the buyer during the entire buying journey, right from the first call he makes or email he writes, are important for the buyer in making the all-important decision.
What is the behavior the seller or the sales rep needs to acquire and display during this journey can be broken down into 3 stages?
Collaborate with the buyer in discussions about his current situation. See if you can spot a problem or an opportunity. See if your buyer is trying to mitigate ‘pain’ or increase ‘pleasure’. Once you identify this part, collaborate with him in discussions on ideas of how to solve his problem or get a solution to his situation. The buyer needs a partner, a friend who thinks out of the box, who is not part of his team, yet is ready and willing to partner with him in ideas without getting into bean crunching. The buyer needs to see that the sales rep is proactive and willing to take things further in the long term. Once he sees that the sales rep is willing, the buyer begins to develop a liking towards the sales rep, which is a key step in building trust.
The moment sellers start looking at buyers as human beings like everyone around us is, they stop thinking of them as devils, who are there to pick a thorn in everything sellers to say. In selling, it is called ‘stepping into the shoes of the buyer’ or ‘empathetic listening’. Whatever you label it, as sales reps we need to think from the buyer’s point of view. Some tips:
What is the buyer looking for? Maximizing his ROI.
Give him the numbers, the statistics and case studies he needs to be convinced about a good ROI. Help him calculate, even. No harm! Be an expert not just on the product you are selling, but the pros and cons of your product and also the competitors’. More than that, make sure you know the numbers game like the back of your hand. Because the buyer first wants to know whether going with you is a rationally and financially correct decision.
Convince the buyer that he is choosing a minimum risk, safe position, when he decides to go with you.
Buyers, like you and me, are, are a frightening lot. Inwardly. They don’t show it. But remember, it is always lonely at the top; and making the right decision about something, which costs huge money may be a frightful moment for your buyer. Help him by providing case studies to show that when he goes with you, he is choosing a minimum risk position. Do not hesitate to focus on the risks involved with other choices, in case, he chooses those. A buyer will want your insights into his decision. You have already won him over by collaborating on the journey so far; now he wants you to help him take the final call. You are in a position of power also a position of immense responsibility. You have to talk about the risks involved clearly with his choice, but you also need to help him mitigate the risks. This will help the buyer partner with you.
Co-create with the buyer. Make the buyer feel that you are helping him make the choice, the right choice. If you haven’t already learned your lesson the hard way, buyers dislike it when the seller tries to hard sell or tries to push his way down his throat. He is more inclined to consider buying from you if you make him feel that you are helping HIM make the right choice, and not pushing your choice on him. A key human emotion is that every person needs to reinforce the feeling to himself that he has taken the right decision. Help your buyer do that.
Insightful and intuitive selling helps in building long-lasting, trusted relationships between the seller and buyer and goes a long way in building your Strategic Accounts and also helps in better Key Account Management.
If you liked our blog, you can also read about 6 strategies of Cross- Selling.