COO & Co-Founder, DemandFarm
It’s that time again! When you watch the future unfold right in front of you!
Yes, Dreamforce’16 is right around the corner, due next month!
Did you get a chance to check out the keynote speakers this year?
I was super curious, and I’m sure so are you, but Salesforce has only confirmed a handful of speakers so far. The good news is that among those is already the who’s who of leaders, thinkers, and innovators, plus one of my all-time favorites – the “Michael Jordan” of thought leaders – Tony Robbins. A recognized authority on the psychology of leadership, negotiations, and business turnaround, Tony Robbins, is the nation’s #1 Life and Business Strategist. When it comes to making a positive difference in people’s professional life, there is nobody in the game with stronger credentials than Tony Robbins. And like on millions of others, he’s made a significant impact on me too. Inspired by what’s to come in his session, I scoured the web to remind myself of some of his best nuggets that I found Evergreen for all professionals, including Key Account Management practitioners like us:
1. Know who to know: In his own words, Tony Robbins said one of the most amazing pieces of advice he ever received was “proximity is power.” His journey to becoming a great leader included positioning himself in proximity to the people who possessed the expertise, skills, knowledge, and connections that he could access directly. Such an approach opened various opportunities that helped achieve his goals. As KAM Leaders, one of the biggest challenges is to first identify the key stakeholders internally and externally. Large organizations have a web of complex and dynamic networks. The trick is really to identify, nurture and leverage – at the opportune time – the right relationship mapping, make the right connections and join the dots to spot the not-so-obvious opportunities. Building trust internally and client-side requires proximity, understanding, and acumen all at once. It’s also critical to make oneself accessible to the stakeholders and win their trust. I’ve found the possibilities to be endless when I’ve made relationship management central to my approach.
2. Shift focus from creating products to creating value: According to one of the “7 Forces of Business Mastery” defined by Robbins, it is imperative to understand, anticipate and realize the deepest needs of our customers consistently. The more value we create for our customers, the more we can dominate the marketplace. Sounds simple but practitioners will obviously know the myriad complexities hidden under this seemingly simple statement. It takes a lot to keep tabs on the dynamic landscape – be it customer industry and business goals, competitor offerings, regulatory needs or our own capacity. It takes a lot to build a watertight internal business case to invest in new capabilities because that’s where we believe the customer needs us to go. The idea is not to fall in love with our product or service, but to fall in love with the client and their needs, fears, goals. This way we have the right knowledge to create more value for clients than anybody else.
3. Embrace the magic of ‘strategic innovation’: When Robbins said that, as a leader, you have to strategically innovate; he meant being better than what currently exists. Not just in product, but in processes, service, delivery – every facet. Strategic Account Planning innovation is another pillar for creating unbeatable value for customers. Now here is the thing about innovation that struck me. It doesn’t have to be fancy; it doesn’t have to be the responsibility of unseen wizards sitting in the ‘innovation department.’ You get my drift. In fact, my favorite Tony Robbins phrase is ‘innovation is a daily habit.’ So how do we constantly identify new opportunities to serve customers better through fresh and inventive approaches that also help meet their goals? In my experience, the key is real-time knowledge available to all team members. If all internal stakeholders know what is going on now, that gives us multiple perspectives and multiple ideas and therefore multiple possibilities to innovate. Less time spent on admin and housekeeping tasks, more on collaboration and connection.
4. Keep your eye on the goal: Today’s Key Account Manager skills include a sharp track of the business results even before the client notices a declining goal metric. Robbins points out that opportunities for maximization are plenty such as lead generation, conversions, sales, etc. The key is to document the results in each area and anticipate the challenges that hinder efforts to achieve goals. Because you can’t manage what you don’t, measure. Measuring an outcome further mobilizes the team to work on key areas of improvement and further cement positions of strength. In my years as a Key Account professional, I’ve found that quantifying the qualitative and qualifying the quantitative is a real art, and can hold the key to success. It is easier said than done, of course. Managing Key Accounts is both – art and science. Finding a balance between the two is something I take both as a personal challenge and a key focus area for innovation with my company, DemandFarm.
Needless to say, Account Managers are the cornerstone of the organization, responsible for a bulk of the revenue from just a few strategic customers. Following Tony’s advice can certainly help up the chances of success. What are your favorite Tony Robbins insights? We’d love to hear them and how you used them in the Account Management Context! Write in and share the secrets!