Key Account Mistakes
As we arrive into the new year, it is important to understand the new needs of the business environment. It is no more a one-sided selling process in key accounts rather you have to proactively and strategically handle your key accounts to get the best out of them. This year everything you do will likely be measured by the quality of your interactions and communication while selling is the number one priority. So let's look into some mistakes we can avoid to have a better return on our efforts.
1. More The Communication, Better It Is
Do not fall for this trap. Consistently staying in the loop and holding lines of communication clear and to the point is crucial, but there is such a thing called too much communication. You don't want to hound the key account with asks and feedback. You’re there to make their life easier and facilitate a seamless relay. Reach out to them continuously and you risk appearing incompetent and not suited to manage their account. Use your best opinion and only reach out to the key account when it is critical in decision making.
2. You're Not Creating Value, You Are Selling
This is what people who want to earn a quick buck say. They’ve already opted in for your assistance so you should concentrate on building trust and value with the key account by producing quality work and making sure you are speaking to their particular business needs. While there are opportunities to upsell and cross-sell, you should not be too pushy about it. Try to up or cross-sell on how it would help their business, and show them that you care about their interests. Create genuine value.
Most key accounts have been in their respective industry and have had plenty of exposure to dealing with key account managers. They can see right into a pushy sales guy who has no substance. Wait for the right time in the meeting to start talking about upsells. Don’t try to include a selling opportunity into the conversation every chance you get.
3. Short-Term Thinking
You as the key account manager are being trusted with a key account business goals and that means you need to continually think ahead about what role you play in helping them achieve their objectives. Part of this is knowing the business that they're in and being cognizant of market trends. Do you have a key account in the hospitality industry? Then you should be equipped for their busiest season, for example, one which starts in the autumn right before the holidays. Your role is important in helping to develop an approach that speaks to them and helps them hit their goals during that time.
There are abundant resources that can help any key account manager stay on top of their key accounts industry trends. One way is to set up Google alerts for each of your key accounts leading you to know about what’s going on in their business. Other ways are to use resources as simple as doing competitor research or reading expert journals and industry magazines.
4. Overpromising And Under-Delivering
This is as straightforward as it gets, but not handling key accounts expectations properly can lose you business and critically tarnish your reputation. When a communication initially begins, some key account managers may want to look good in the eyes of the key account they are managing by promising more than what they can deliver. This practice is inefficient and can lead to trouble.
Effective account management process, unrestricted communication, level setting, and the right expectations will guarantee that you deliver what's promised in scope on time. If your key account is asking for too much, too soon, it is up to you to put your point forward and let them know that they need to adjust their expectations. If you aren't level setting, you run the risk of being a constant disappointment to your key account. Needless to say, that doesn't gel well with your long-term, key account relationships.
5. Conversation Gaps
Given key account management's numerous priorities, key account managers need to be proactive communicators. Regular follow-ups may seem unnecessary, but they are critical to the success of ongoing actions. Through regular communication, a key account manager may learn more about the strategic account needs and discover new ways to add value to existing services or upcoming products. Scheduling time to check in with each account allows you to stay on top of your game and promotes critical information sharing.
If you're interested in transforming your sales post the pandemic, explore our blog on Sales Acceleration in Account Management and how it can help you grow your business in 2021.