In this insightful article, Andy Preston from Manchester highlights the pitfalls of trying to run an account management strategy. He argues that they are now dead in the water. There is a new paradigm with new roles to generate sales and new business. He cites the three key roles within the new sales department, set out below.
The key point for me is the understanding that it takes different types of people to run these different roles. If you understand the role, then you will find the right people to fill them. Good luck…
1) The first one is ‘New Business’. This is where the individual brings in new, fresh business from prospects that don’t currently spend money with you. Using a variety of prospecting methods, the ‘warmest’ this role gets is trying to win back a lost (or lapsed) customer. Otherwise it’s all about bring it in from scratch!
2) The second role is ‘Account Development’. The main function of this role is about bringing in more business from existing accounts – i.e people who are ALREADY spending money with you. This role is about getting those clients to spend more – whether that’s increasing order value or order frequency, taking business off your competition that may be active in those accounts, or finding new ‘buying points’ in those accounts (and getting them to spend with you), that’s the focus of the Account Development role.
In other words, it’s like having a ‘New Business’ focus within your existing accounts, and therefore requires a different skillset to the ‘new business’ role, and most definitely a different skill-set to the old ‘Account Management’ role!
3) The third role is what he refers to as ‘Account Servicing’ or ‘Customer Service’ – in effect the focus of this role is to keep the customer spending with you, deal with any complains, problems or queries, and ‘service’ their account.
Here is the link to Andy Preston and Death of Account Management
Here below is a synopsis of an excellent blog post by Randy Bowden. He argues that most business owners miss the point when it comes to building brand loyalty
“Customers want a business they can come back to again and again for the things they need, that they feel comfortable purchasing those items, knowing they are getting the right items. It is, however, easy to make mistakes when building brand loyalty that may haunt a business the rest of its days.
1. Forgetting What The Customer Wants
It is important to keep what the customer wants in mind as a business owner builds loyalty. Business owners need the loyalty to go deeper below the surface.
2. All Hype, No Substance
It is easy to think about customers are object you are trying to attract them and forget they are people. So, avoid making claims about the business without the substance to back it up.
3. All Sell
One of the worst things a business can do when building brand loyalty is focusing on the next sale. It is like being bombarded by telemarketers. No customer likes that.
4. No Engagement
Engagement can simply mean a conversation or acknowledgement that the business heard their words and will take the appropriate action. The strong emotions, such as humour, connects them to your brand and encourages loyalty.
5. Poor Customer Service
No matter how well you do everything else, how those behind the counter treat the customer is still one of the best ways to build customer loyalty. So, never forget that your brand extends beyond the physical.”
As the saying goes, there is no second chance to make first impression. Working hard on ensuring that the client or customer has a smooth path through the purchase is probably the best way to build brand loyalty.
Strategic sales management is the management task of designing, implementing and measuring the organisations sales capability. It covers a myriad of aspects of business including customer acquisition, customer satisfaction, customer retention and managing the interlock with the marketing process.
What I have found is that many organisations, large or small,do well in many areas of sales such as developing a customer pathway, managing the clients expectations and doing what they think needs to be done to generate customer loyalty.
But where most seem to fall down is in not having the deep understanding of their clients needs and wants. They don’t have in place the relationships with their customers with their equivalent senior management team, their peers or subordinates that generates that deep understanding of what makes them tick. Perhaps it is understandable as it takes time and a level of skill to generate the information and an efficient CRM process to store it.
But if it is done well, then these deeper and stronger relationship bonds will add real value in developing increased sales opportunities and in times of need when things go pop.
Get to know your customers, record the information and use it and see the benefits flow over time. What do you think?
Strategic Sales Management = understand your audience