Strategic account management is a steady process of exertion to build value driven relationships with strategic accounts. It is a synonym of Key Account Management.
Strategic Accounts are companies that generate maximum revenue and profitability as compared to other regular accounts. They are the core of any B2B company and if managed properly, can lead to greater returns almost periodically throughout the process.
Strategic Account Managers vs Traditional Account Managers:
Most of the organizations have existing account managers who have skills and are either been trained or are naturally talented in the art of Strategic Account Management platform. However, there are some big differences between the principles of a Strategic Account Manager and traditional account manager in many organizations. Strategic Account Manager plays a key role in a company using SAM processes and techniques. They are the contact people for the Strategic Accounts and are responsible for developing and maintaining a long-term relationship with the key 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.
Strategic Account Management Program:
The Strategic Account Management Association (SAMA) exposes companies around the globe to tools, methods and processes that enable them to forge closer relationships with their most strategic customers and co-create new sources of sustainable, customer-driven growth. SAMA’s Certified Strategic Account Manager (CSAM) certification is the gold standard of strategic account management. It is recognized and demanded by organizations worldwide.
Case Study : 9 Companies that rock Strategic Account Management
Here we list down some Strategic Account Management best practices that an organization must adhere to while practicing Strategic Account Management:
1. Know your Strategic Accounts
Identify accounts that contribute a significant amount of revenue to your company, and analyze the loss it would have on your overall revenue if you ever happen to lose theassociation with the 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.
2. Choose a skilled Strategic Account Manager
Trying to get a farmer to hunt might be futile. Specific people are meant for a specific role. The right training plan is really important to get the most out of a Strategic Account Manager. 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 and plan. 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 and functions that not only enlighten the client but also develops a connection between the client’s needs and your organization’s ability to help. SAM should also be able to utilize the internal resources and templates effectively by reaching out to the right people at the right time. These qualities are the basic ingredients for a successful SAM.
To break it down.
Top managers in Strategic Account Management:
1. Drive Value: The excellent strategic account managers grow accounts because they encourage value for buyers— they don’t force a sell on their buyers.
2. They ask the right questions: They ask who, how and what that get to the core of growing and acquiring opportunities with
3. Plan: Top managers are higher than 3 times as likely to have an efficient method for growing and guarding strategic
accounts. It might be cliché, but planning is the foundation in strategic account management.
4. Cover the 6 Strategic Account Management Roles:
Technical Expert of the Strategic Account
Winning Project Manager
Business Relationship Lead
3. 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 and training.
4. Look for opportunities to create value and learning for your client.
One of the most important aspects of Strategic Account Management and leadership 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 up-sell with your skills, or develop a completely new product that caters to your client’s needs.
No doubt, it is difficult to stick to the Strategic Account Management best practices, 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.
No more missed opportunities.
DemandFarm goes beyond the win – to help keep, grow and optimize profitability from your most valued accounts.