Tag: Strategic Sales management

Death of Account Management by Andy Preston

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

Failing to plan is planning to fail

Yes, I know it is a bit clichéd. But we have sound evidence that most small firms do not plan well enough to ensure that they grow in a way that is sustainable and profitable.

Personally I have no problem with a one page business plan that resembles an action list rather than the deep, structured formal plan. It reflects where they are and  most probably the variability in the environment in which they are seeking to operate.

Anyhow, back to the evidence. We asked 35 people to complete a Gap Analysis of what they need to strengthen the most. The response was a need to have a plan and have goals and objectives to make the plan happen.

If you want to add your insights to the research, do feel free. Business strategy assessment.

Brand loyalty – mistakes that are frequently made

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.

Jettison the ballast and soar!

“I haven’t got the time, Rob!”.

“In your dreams, Rob”.

“When am I supposed to do this? I am working 10 hour days”

What would your response be if you had to increase your workload by 20%. Would you tut and go back to the day job? Would you reflect longingly at what life would look like if you could increase the time at work? Or would you do the following?

The Ditch List – jettison the ballast

Business coaching Bristol Bath and South WestWrite down on a set of Post It notes everything you spend your time on. Get it all down first, we will work on it later. Then add in the non-work commitments.

Once you have emptied your brain, take a break and enjoy a hot beverage or glass of wine because now comes the hard bit. Put all the notes in a long vertical line, the most important things you spend your time on at the top and the lesser items at the bottom. You can do the next bit weekly or monthly, it is up to you. But what you need to do is to calculate how much time you spend on each activity.

Add up the time per task as you go down the list until you reach 80% of the time you want to work. Anything below that should be outsourced, discontinued or delegated. Be ruthless!.

Why do this exercise?

Because you need a minimum of 20% of your working time to run the business. That’s right at least 20% or one day per week of quality time to ensure the business vision, goals and objectives are being met. All too frequently we find as business coaches that senior business leaders spend too long on non essential tasks to the detriment of their business.

So what would you jettison if you had the time?

Strategic Sales Management

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