I have said it often enough recently, but it does no harm whatsoever to discuss it again. Today, more than at anytime in the recent past, we should be staying focused on our most important accounts.
So what do I mean when I say: "Major Account Management Involves Relationships Not Just a Mechanical Approach?"
Under this heading we should discuss three main aspects of major account management.
• The importance of relationships in Major Account Management.
• The complexity of relationships in Major Account Management.
• Mapping relationships in Major Account Management.
In Major Account Management it is essential that we manage people as well as processes. Of course we must get the product pricing right. We need to be excellent at administration. Our customer service and product range need to be strong. But "people buy from people" and "we are in a people business". To manage the complex range of relationships within a major account is difficult and demanding but our ability to manage relationships will define whether or not we sustain success.
In a reactive sale there is only one relationship - that between the seller and the buyer. In major accounts the situation is much more complex. There are often contacts going on at many levels and many locations. In one major account, we have identified 1000 relationships between the account team of ten people and individuals representing the client. But it is not just a problem of numbers, it is often a problem of politics. Some contacts do not want us to talk to people in other departments or at different levels. It can also be that the complexity is caused by product range. The users of one product rarely speak to the specifies for another product. In any complex relationship some people will like us more than others. This is to say nothing of inter-departmental tensions. All these things make major account relationships complex and we need to recognise their complexity.
If relationships are important and if relationships are complex then it is essential that we find a way of mapping, analysing, planning and monitoring those relationships. Over recent years we have found that an approach based on the game of chess allows a very practical way of identifying the key issues.
If we can answer these questions confidently and communicate our thinking across the account team simply and clearly then we will be half-way to success. This approach has given people across a broad spectrum of organisations a common language and way of working.
Today's News: My JF Uncut posts this w/e, certainly caused a stir - if you missed them, do scroll down and be sure to read the comments!
If you haven't registered for the Landslide gig I am co-presenting with Jill Konrath and Kendra Lee on Wednesday, there is still time to do so - just click on the banner below - it is FREE!
Tomorrow: I'll be announcing several really exciting upcoming events, so do stay tuned.
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