Strategic Accounts are the core of any B2B Company, as they generate the maximum revenue and profitability as compared to other regular accounts.
Strategic Account Management (SAM) is a process that goes beyond sales and focusses on building strategic, mutually beneficial relationships between the company and its Key Accounts. SAM builds trust between the two organizations by emphasising on value and enabling alignment across the company. It is a synonym to widely used Key Account Management.
Most of the organizations have existing account managers who have either been trained or are naturally talented in the art of Strategic Account Management.
However, there are some big differences between the role of a Strategic Account Manager and traditional account manager in many organizations. Strategic Account Manager plays a key role in a company using SAM. They are the contact people for the Strategic Accounts and are responsible for developing and maintaining a long-term relationship with the customer.
That is the reason, why managing Strategic Accounts is not every account manager’s cup of tea. An organization is supposed to have a clear cut understanding of how it wants to manage its strategic accounts, in order to yield the best results.
Here we list down some best practices that an organization must adhere to while practicing Strategic Account Management:
Know what your Strategic Accounts are
Identify accounts that contribute a significant amount of revenue to your company, and analyse the loss it would have on your overall revenue, if you ever happen to lose that account.
If it is really impacting your revenue number and profitability, that account is likely to qualify as a Key Account.
Mistakes that organizations usually do, is by focusing on big companies such as Fortune 500, or a cool new start-up. Working with these companies may boost your credibility and reputation, but unless these accounts are profitable enough, and you have a good relationship with the stakeholders, it would be wrong to classify them as Strategic Accounts.
Choose a skilled Strategic Account Manager
Trying to get a farmer to hunt might be futile. Specific people are meant for specific role.
You would not want a Strategic Account Manager who is so aggressive that he or she badgers the client or comes up with ideas that are not in the best interest of the client.
An ideal SAM should be a problem solver, who is tactful to the client’s needs. He or she must be willing to learn and understand the account’s business, and treat it as it’s own.
The Strategic Account Manager must be able to come up with new ideas that not only enlightens the client, but also develops a connection between client’s needs and your organization’s ability to help.
A SAM should also be able to utilize the internal resources effectively by reaching out to right people at the right time. These qualities are the basic ingredients for a successful SAM.
Know the stakeholders of your Strategic Accounts
Your Strategic Accounts are at a huge risk if your SAM is the single point of contact and owns all the relationships in the account. What if the SAM leaves, and you’ll be left with no choice.
That is why you need to have an account plan, in order to help you identify the right people and strengthen the relationship where it matters the most.
LinkedIn is a great tool to support this activity. If you are connected to your SAM and your SAM is connected to contacts in the account, you will have visibility into these contacts and the ability to link with them.
Or, you can opt for the most viable solution by investing in a Key Account Management software, that not only provides visibility into your account plan, but also helps to manage and grow your strategic accounts with minimum effort.
Look for opportunities to create value for your client.
One of the most important aspects of Strategic Account Management is to always look for new opportunities to help grow your client’s business. You can always make use of the relationship that you’ve built to get insights about the problems your client is facing.
You can then cross-sell or upsell, or develop a completely new product that caters to your client’s needs.
No doubt, it is difficult to stick to the fundamentals of Strategic Account Management, considering the complexities of these accounts. There are a number of initiatives in terms of processes, and technologies available to assist you, but not everything is as successful as having a Key Account Management software. Investing in a KAM software will help your Strategic Account Managers save time by reducing repetitive tasks, and focus on generating consistent, and stable revenue that will help in long-term growth and success for your company.