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In this SlideShare, Richardson discusses how decreasing customer loyalty, higher expectations, and constant competitive threats are making forecasted business from your best customers anything but a certainty. Richardson analyzes how to Driving Key Account Growth by Planning and Execution to Access the White Space.

In this SlideShare, Richardson discusses how decreasing customer loyalty, higher expectations, and constant competitive threats are making forecasted business from your best customers anything but a certainty. Richardson analyzes how to Driving Key Account Growth by Planning and Execution to Access the White Space.


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Driving Key Account Growth

  3. 3. “Those who use an analytic approach achieve up to 10 percent sales growth, up to 5 percent higher return on sales, and a margin uplift of 1 to 2 percent.” - McKinsey & Company
  4. 4. Close faster Reduce acquisition costs Retain priority relationships Focus on the best accounts
  5. 5. A STRONG ACCOUNT PLANNING METHODOLOGY Helps you identify the appropriate information you need to make the best decisions to maximize the relationship1 Provides a format for capturing and using that information in an organized way to help you make decisions that have the greatest impact on achieving your revenue objectives2 Provides a way to analyze that information for the purposes of creating goals, objectives, strategies, and an Action Plan that, when executed, helps you achieve your overall goal with a relationship3
  9. 9. Select the Right Customers
  10. 10. IDENTIFYING STRATEGIC ACCOUNTS WHITE SPACE • Divisions, locations, and departments you are not serving now that need your product or service • Additional or new products or services • Opportunities to disrupt and displace your competitors • Understanding what’s happening with your customer • The key decision makers, influencers, and coaches • Trends and buying patterns of your best customers to use as a benchmark • IsYear-over-Year Revenue increasing or decreasing? • How is revenue from this customer compared to your target or plan? • How significant is this relationship (revenue, volume, prestige, etc.) to your organization? • What is the current product mix? What opportunity exists to offer additional or new products and services? • What additional divisions, locations, and departments are you not serving now? • What opportunities are there to disrupt and displace competitors? QUANTITATIVE FACTORS REVENUE WHITE SPACE
  11. 11. IDENTIFYING STRATEGIC ACCOUNTS • Vertical market or industry where your organization has had success • Significant relationship that provides credibility to your organization in an industry or vertical • Input from the customer acknowledging the value you provided • Your level of relationship and trust • Access to customer stakeholders • Customer culture/values • Alignment and fit QUALITATIVE FACTORS
  12. 12. ©2018 Richardson. All rights reserved. Status Quo Bias Status Quo Bias is our emotional preference to stay with solutions or choices that we have already made. Those affected by this bias may find it difficult to change the status or strategy for an account because they may be concerned about the implications of that decision and, as a result, may opt to just maintain the status quo. This can lead to them spending time where there are no, or no longer, development opportunities or customer alignment and not focusing their time and resources on the best opportunities.
  13. 13. Analyze, then act
  14. 14. EXTERNAL INDUSTRY ISSUES Take a broad look at the customer’s industry to better understand the external forces shaping that industry. Examples: • Change in supply and demand • Available capital • Suppliers • Research and Development • Labor Market RESOURCES Inputs necessary to run a business Examples: • Change in economic climate • Change in customers’ preferences • Global, national, or local events • Growing or declining market size • Negative press/public relations Examples: • New competitors entering the market • Established competitors upgrading their offerings • Mergers/consolidation • Competitor’s price cutting Examples: • Change in government, state, and local rules and regulations • Change in industry- specific regulations MARKET ISSUES Larger market trends COMPETITIVE ISSUES Actions that competitors take that can also impact the customer. REGULATORY ISSUES Government regulations that impact all businesses
  15. 15. Create Alignment andValue
  16. 16. Anchoring Bias The anchoring effect is a cognitive bias that causes people to rely too heavily on the first piece of information received as a point of reference. Once an anchor is set, decisions are often made unconsciously using the anchor as a reference point, rather than using rational or objective thinking. As we think about our customer relationships, objective thinking, testing assumptions, and understanding what’s new and what has changed are critical to developing a realistic plan.
  17. 17. CUSTOMER STRATEGY ELEMENTS Elements : CUSTOMER STRATEGY Values And Culture The values, attitudes, beliefs, and standards that are shared among the company’s stakeholders and employees. Goals What the organization wants to accomplish long term (two to five years) Objectives An organization’s short-term (three to 12 months), measurable achievements. Generally, there are a number of high-level objectives that, when accomplished, contribute to reaching an overall goal. Issues High-level challenges or opportunities that block or aid the customer in achieving their objectives and goals Initiatives High-level responses to address key business issues Values drive an organization’s culture and priorities and provide a framework within which decisions are made. Corporate culture is rooted in an organization's goals, strategies, structure, and approaches to labor, customers, investors, and the greater community. Goals tend to be financial and strategic in nature. Most organizations operate with three types of goals in mind: Make Money Save Money Manage Risk Issues Business issues fall into six categories: resources, market, competitive, regulatory, financial, and operational.
  18. 18. Collaborate with the Customer
  19. 19. BUSINESS REVIEW MEETING To prepare for the Business Review Meeting, conduct both external and internal planning activities: • External — Align with the customer team to: • Refine/validate purpose • Confirm objectives and agenda • Identify participants, roles, and responsibilities • Include relevant information in summary • Internal — Align with internal team to: • Confirm roles and responsibilities • Determine meeting signals and cautions; practice handoffs and presentation skills, as needed • Uncover and anticipate resistance, potential issues, or landmines • Develop Executive Summary and materials As you set up the Business Review Meetings, it is important to agree with the customer on each of the following protocols: • What the discussion should accomplish — especially what is in it for the stakeholders • Who should participate in the meeting, including roles and responsibilities • When these discussions should take place • Where these discussions will occur: face-to- face, online, or via conference call • How the presentation/materials should be formatted
  20. 20. EXAMPLE QUESTIONS • “How are we doing in our work for you?” • “What could we be doing better?” • “What have we done recently that you have found particularly valuable or useful?” • “If you could change or improve one thing about our relationship, what would it be?” • “What could we improve upon or change that would make doing business with us easier?” • “How do we compare to others who talk to you?” • “Who else in your organization should we build a better relationship with?” • “What, if anything, can we do to improve the amount, timing, or format of our communications to you and your organization?” • “Give me your assessment of our team. What have they done particularly well? How can they improve?” • “What’s happening right now in your business?” • “What growth areas do you see in your business?” • “What issues have you been experiencing that we ought to be aware of or thinking about for you?” • “What obstacles do you face?” • “What’s the organization’s direction?” • “Where do you see the organization going in the next few years?” • “Where do you see your career going here?” • “I’m aware X is happening. How can we be of help?” • “I’ve noticed that you’ve been doing a lot of X lately.We’ve got expertise in that area. How can we be of help?” • “I read X this week. How does that affect you?”
  22. 22. Potential Opportunities to Pursue1 Stakeholder Relationships 2 Service Needs and Opportunities3 Your objectives will fall into three different categories: What do I want to accomplish long term in this relationship (two to five years) ? What are the short-term objectives to reach the goals (three to 12 months)? PRIORITIZE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES Based on the assessment of how you are positioned in the relationship and your goals for the relationship, your next step is to set objectives that will help you reach the goals.
  24. 24. UPDATINGYOUR ACCOUNT PLANS Your account plan should be as dynamic as your customer – update and refresh your plan regularly. ENGAGEMENTAND FEEDBACK • After getting feedback on your plan, meeting with stakeholders, conducting business reviews, and engaging in other interactions with the customer and your internal team, integrate the information you gained into your account plan. • Refine and re-assess your account plan in order to better align with the stakeholders’ needs and achieve your goals. CADENCE • Implement a cadence to revisit your account plan, and leverage your CRM/calendar to ensure that it takes place. • Revisit your account plan quarterly at a minimum.
  25. 25. OTHER FACTORSTO CONSIDER IN UPDATINGYOUR PLAN TIME FRAMES PRIORITIES STAKEHOLDERS COMPETITION • The customer might have already taken steps toward addressing a challenging issue or might be planning to address a specific issue more or less quickly than you anticipated. • Your customer might have a different time frame in mind for their strategic initiatives. • Challenging issues are dynamic, and a new business issue may cause shifts in priorities. • The customer might acknowledge a need in an area you identified, but it might not be a high priority at this time. • A challenging issue or strategic initiative may be gaining visibility within the customer organization, and stakeholders may want to accelerate their decision making. • Decision criteria, resources, budgets, and business conditions all may change and affect the customer’s prioritization. • The stakeholders at the customer organization are likely to change over time. • As stakeholders change, the group dynamics and tone toward your organization may shift. • Stakeholders’ perceptions of your organization can change, and a stakeholder may become more or less of an Ally. • New competitors may be entering, and old competitors may be dropping out of the account. • Certain stakeholders might be interested in a potential opportunity but predisposed to pursuing that potential opportunity with a competitor. • Alternatively, one of your internal or external competitors in this account might have fallen short, and the stakeholders want to know if your organization could deliver similar products and/or services.
  27. 27. HOWCANWE HELPYOU GROW YOUR KEY ACCOUNTS? Richardson’s Prosperous Account Strategy program is a blended offering that includes: • Richardson’sAccelerate™ Digital Learning Platform for: • Online assessment • Pre-workshop learning • Post-workshop sustainment activities • Measurement tools and reporting • Mobile mastery tool, QuickCheck, to drive knowledge retention • One-day, facilitator-led workshop with a focus on live accounts • Train-the-trainer option 215-940-9255 LET’S GET INTOUCH

Notas del editor

  • When you think about strategic account planning – we aren’t just planning for planning sake – or to fulfill some management request. We plan because doing so will help us retain and grow accounts in the future – simply put, the reason we plan is so that we can proactively grow!

  • – The most successful sellers are effective planners and strategists as well as being skilled in execution. They are proactive. They think before they act and continually improve their areas of weakness. They use proven processes and methodologies to ensure they maximize their time most effectively. 
    – Highlight the research — that sellers that use an analytic approach achieve up to 10% sales growth, up to 5% higher return on sales, and a margin uplift of 1 to 2%. 
  • When you focus on existing accounts, you can:
    Close faster — Opportunities with existing customers often close faster, generating revenue quicker than developing a new customer opportunity.
    Reduce acquisition costs — Expanding existing relationships is cost effective. Attracting new customers may be rewarding, but it can be expensive and involve a lot of hard work.
    Retain priority relationships — Sales professionals have worked hard to win business, and they need to maintain the business and protect it from competitive threats.
    Focus on the best accounts — By assessing relationships against clear criteria, sales professionals can spend their time and effort on accounts that are most likely to generate results.
  • Strategic Account Planning in your organization should be a simple, yet powerful and repeatable process that facilitates three critical things: 
    – First, it helps you identify the appropriate information you need to make the best decisions to develop strategies that allow you to maximize the relationship. It enables you to organize what you know and understand and highlight what you don’t know so you can gain critical information and make the best decisions on actions to take. 
    – Second, it gives you a format for capturing and leveraging that information for your strategic customers. It provides an organized way to capture the critical information necessary to make good decisions in order to have the greatest impact on achieving your revenue objectives. If you don’t have a place to capture the information and then easily use it to make decisions, it’s not much different than not having the information at all. People who are disorganized often miss some simple and obvious steps that have a dramatic impact on their relationships and the achievement of their goals. 
    – Third, it gives you a way to analyze that information for the purposes of creating goals, objectives, strategies, and a tactical action plan that, when executed, helps you achieve your overall goal in a specified time frame. 
  • Over the years, we have found that customers typically view their relationships with sellers in four different categories that we call the Customer Relationship Pyramid. Think of each of these categories as approaches to the relationship and not titles. 
  • Here are the guiding principles that unpin our new Account Planning program and should be core tenets of any account planning methodology.
    Select the Right Customers Determine the criteria for a strategic account and continually re-assess fit to ensure that your efforts are focused on customers who will generate opportunities and grow share of wallet. 
    Analyze, Then Act Many people make the mistake of operating without a plan or setting unrealistic objectives when looking to expand existing accounts. Analyzing the situation and then developing realistic goals and strategies enables you to focus on the right actions to drive results. 
    Create Alignment and Value Investing in relationships and understanding and aligning with the customer’s strategy creates value over the long term and opportunities in the short term. 
    Collaborate with the Customer Consistent engagement with customers will help you stay up-to-date. Robust business reviews are an opportunity to discuss the past, present, and future and reinforce the value provided by the relationship. 
    Lets take a deeper look at each one
  • Your most valuable asset is your time. Clearly defining which of your accounts are strategic relationships allows you to prioritize and invest your limited time on customers who are most likely to have opportunities that are a strong fit for your organization. 

    In determining which accounts are your strategic accounts, look at both “hard factors,” such as revenue generated and product mix, and “soft factors,” such as level of access, level of relationship, and buying behavior. 

    Lets start with those qualtitative factors.

    READ WHITE SPACE (and define white space: White spaces are the gaps that exist in your relationship with a customer. These white spaces are potential opportunities you may want to pursue and, therefore, represent key criteria in determining whether an account plan is warranted.) 

    Then add:
    To understand the white spaces, consider:
    Divisions, locations, and departments you are not serving now that need your product or service 
    Additional or new products or services you can offer that meet customer needs 
    Opportunities to disrupt and displace your competitors 
    Understanding what’s happening with your customer in terms of goals and objectives, as well as the challenges they are experiencing in meeting them. The customer may have already identified a pain point or initiative that they are looking to solve/address. 
    The key decision makers, influencers, and coaches with whom you need to build relationships 
    Trends and buying patterns of your best customers to use as a benchmark for what a similar customer is likely sourcing from another supplier 

  • Recap qualitative factors

    Limitations If there are only limited opportunities for your organization to provide value to a customer, this means there are only limited ways to make your revenue goals and numbers. Also, if you see lots of opportunity to work together but few or none of those opportunities are aligned with the customer’s goals and objectives, there is probably little chance of growing this business. Seriously examine the accounts that fall into these two categories. They might not really be worthy of an account plan. 

  • Review slide, then say:

    The impact that each issue may have on the customer. For example, if a new, lower priced competitor entered the market, what might the impact be on the customer? Possible responses might include: increased price pressure, reduced sales, etc. 
    • Based on the issue and impact on the customer, think about the opportunities this creates for you to bring value. 
    There may also be an idea or insight that you want to float to the customer based on what you’ve learned. 
    As you analyze the industry, be sure to view what you learn or review through the lens of your customer and not through the lens of a seller or product provider. You also want to be sure that you are capturing issues and trends that you cannot help with. Even if you cannot help with a specific trend, it is still top-of-mind for our customer, and that is important business context for us to have when interacting with customer stakeholders. 


    Make it easy to buy!

    USING COGNITIVE LOAD THEORY — Cognitive load theory asserts that learning falters when it demands too much working memory capacity. The solution: avoid cognitive overload. The Journal of Instructional Science has provided some guidelines for preventing this overload. The key resides in the three concepts of intrinsic load, extraneous load, and germane load.

    INTRINSIC LOAD — Intrinsic load relates to the sophistication of the material. Intrinsic load is low when the concept can be learned in isolation. That is, when the idea doesn’t require additional understanding of surrounding elements that connect to the key concept. As some researchers have illustrated, learning a list of words exhibits low intrinsic load, whereas learning the syntax and grammatical rules that connect those words represents high intrinsic load. Sales professionals can put this to use by limiting the intrinsic load of information shared. Choose data points that don’t require a complex foundation of pre-existing knowledge. Simplicity is key.

    EXTRANEOUS LOAD — Extraneous load refers to the medium used to convey the idea. Some concepts are made clear with visuals. Using descriptive language to explain how a propeller works, for example, demands a greater extraneous cognitive load than simply showing a picture or short animation.

    GERMANE LOAD — Finally, germane load is the degree to which the learner must work to incorporate, interpret, classify, and organise the information. Some choose to manage germane load by breaking up material into pieces so that the learner can more effectively absorb the content and find its meaningful place among what they already know. Like a puzzle piece that completes a picture, germane load is the effort required to put it all together. The benefit of understanding these concepts is that they relate to all customers. Business challenges differ, but the precepts of cognition do not.

    Sales professionals should put these three tenets to use by:
    Presenting material that accounts for the customer’s existing knowledge base
    Avoiding non-essential information that complicates the solution
    Segmenting information to make absorption easier
  • Review elements of customer strategy.

    Then add:
    Opportunities exist whenever there is overlap between the customer’s strategic initiatives and your solutions. Identify insights, ideas, solutions, and services that you offer that will help the customer to meet their goals and address their business issues. 
  • The Business Review is a powerful tool to gain information about your competitive position and stakeholders’ perceptions of your organization and you and reinforce the value you’ve provided. 
    – It should not be a presentation, but rather a two-way dialogue about of the state of the relationship — what is working well and what could be even better. 
    – The emphasis should be on how you have successfully met the customer’s needs based on the customer’s goals, objectives, initiatives, and what you are currently doing and can do in the future to continue to provide value. 

  • Execute and Update Leverage available tools to track actions and progress on objectives. Your account plan is not static; update your plan to add new actions and information as the relationship evolves.
  • To be successful in executing your plan, you must be crystal clear about your goals and objectives – synthesizes you analysis and prep into outcomes you can clearly aim for and measure progress against.

    Strengthening relationships within the customer account 
    Establishing new relationships 
    Offering solutions to a division that doesn’t currently purchase your products 
    Offering additional solutions to an existing relationship 
    Replacing a competitors’ product offering 
    Complementing a competitor’s offering 
    Reducing competitive inroads 
  • Use a dynamic tool that not only allows you to capture critical information, but prompts you to think through critical questions and issues. And most importantly, have a place that allows you to capture your running questions. In the early phases of planning, you will have more questions than answers. That’s ok! It forces you to get smart and interact with your customer to fill in the blanks. Having a structured approach and set of support tools helps to ensure you don’t miss or forget anything.
  • Highlight the importance of regularly reviewing, updating and refreshing your account plan for strategic customers. 
    As you start to execute on your account plan, your knowledge about the customer and your relationships will change and evolve. Account plans are dynamic and they are not effective if they are static. You want to use your account plan as an ongoing tool and resource to drive your strategy as you review and revise based on new information. 
    As you share your plan with your internal sales leadership, your wider team or your customer, you should re-assess and potentially revise your strategy and action plan. 
    Its important to have a cadence and plan for revisiting the account plan that is quarterly at a minimum. Position that a misstep that many sellers make when developing account plans is that they don’t continue to leverage the planner as a tool to drive results. 

  • Here are some changes that might occur and trigger the need to review and update your account plans
    – Time Frames — The customer’s timing on initiatives may get pushed up or pushed back based on priorities or resources. 
    – Priorities — Shifts in their market, the economy, focus, importance, sponsors, etc. can impact business goals and priorities. 
    – Stakeholders — Key stakeholders may leave, new stakeholders may join the organization. Roles may change and perceptions about you, your organization or competitors may change. 
    – Competition — As you are executing strategies to develop and expand your relationship, you likely have competitors that are also taking similar steps. A competitor may have made a misstep that creates an unexpected opportunity and by having and working an active plan, you will be in a better position to proactively pursue it. 
    While you can’t anticipate exactly which changes will take place, you can be certain that changes will occur. You need to be prepared to be flexible and make adjustments in your strategy and approach and recognize the importance of making decisions based on the most current information from your customer and your ongoing analysis.