In today’s business world, strategic account management and account planning are key to using your marketing and sales resources wisely to increase sales. Unlike traditional sales performance tracking and reporting methodologies, digital tools, such as account management software and sales execution platforms, empower you to target the customers most likely to purchase your goods or services, identify the right decision-makers within those accounts, monitor progress daily, and pivot as necessary. With these cutting-edge tools and account planning, you can navigate the dynamic market landscape with precision and maximize your sales potential like never before.
In summary, these tools enable sales teams to build account management and account planning sales strategies powered by data, scaled by automation, and optimized by analytics. They also allow leaders to identify their top salespeople and their practices, as well as provide insight into the skills, motivations, and techniques (or “sales DNA”) that drive top performers so that leaders can replicate the DNA broadly across their salesforce.
With Strategic account management training, account planning, and these cutting-edge tools, your sales team can elevate their performance and drive remarkable results while ensuring a consistent and effective approach across the entire organization.
Why Traditional Account Management and Account Planning Strategies Don’t Cut It
In a traditional strategic account management model, account managers spend an inordinate amount of time on manual, complex, and occasionally arbitrary account management tasks. Relationships within accounts are siloed, and from coordinating internal resources to troubleshoot product and service issues to chasing account data from multiple sources to building reports and presentations from scratch, account managers are reacting to account activity and behaving as high-priced customer service reps rather than as strategic partners.
Furthermore, company executives may measure account success based on revenue production rather than revenue potential. And “Key accounts” may be designated based on customer size rather than strategic relevance or willingness to partner. Account planning can help in prioritizing accounts based on their potential.
Ultimately, this dynamic prevents account managers from understanding the overall health of their accounts and from building the right relationships within accounts to identify and manage cross-sell and upsell opportunities effectively.
However, the fault doesn’t lie with the account managers. They’re simply using the tools they’re given. It’s the sales leaders who are responsible for transforming their account managers into change agents who can build thorough account planning that increase wallet share and achieve growth goals. And sales leaders can easily make this happen with digital sales account planning tools like Revegy.
Even Goats Have a Strategy
No, we’re not talking about “goats” as in the acronym “Greatest of All Time.” Instead, we’re referring to actual goats! You see, most people assume goats are dim-witted. That was certainly the case for Charlie Jonesrebandt – Director, Process Alignment and Integration at Siemens. However, one day Charlie observed something unique about his farm’s five goats.
While working on his fence, Charlie noticed that when the wind started blowing from the south, all five goats immediately ran from the northeast side of the pasture to a position in front of some eucalyptus trees across the street. Why? Because the goats knew the southern wind would blow the leaves across the street and into the pasture where they could be eaten.
This simple example demonstrates the effectiveness of having a strategy and using leading indicators. The goats had a plan predicated on a leading indicator. But if new goats were introduced to Charlie’s farm, they wouldn’t react similarly. They would fail to recognize the wind as an indicator. In other words, they’d be the account manager, reacting after the fact and always one step behind. Account planning can help in anticipating such indicators.
Account Management Versus Strategic Account Management
Account management, like some goats, reacts to opportunities when presented. They wait for the wind to blow the leaves into their pasture rather than planning ahead. On the other hoof, strategic account management is like those clever goats who create and uncover opportunities. They take the initiative, like a goat marching boldly towards a patch of delicious greens!
Companies often need to recognize that the tools they force their account managers to use push them toward one approach. Companies may want account managers on offense, but they ask them to spend an inordinate amount of time using labor-intensive sales tools that turn them into defensive players.
So, what manual processes create reactive rather than proactive account managers?
While there is no denying that CRMs are essential sales tools, they don’t capture an account’s true growth potential, just like a goat that can only see the grass in front of its nose. They’re a repository for single-opportunity sales transactions and only reflect opportunities of which the account manager or salesperson is currently aware. The account manager uses the CRM to track progression sequentially through the sales funnel, summarizing customer discussions, scoping products, and services to quote, and then creating follow-up tasks to close the sale.
While most CRMs summarize opportunities in an easy-to-use dashboard, the dashboard only represents current opportunities. Once a sale is closed, the opportunity in the CRM is closed. The CRM provides no insight into the customer’s potential or the products and services that could be sold later. It does not provide guidance relative to decision-makers or influencers within the account nor identify cross-sell opportunities or potential to gain additional wallet share.
Outdated Manual Processes
Some account management and sales teams are stuck in a goat’s labyrinth of manual processes. They provide account and sales summaries by email, phone, and text, often answering the same questions repeatedly for different stakeholders – just like a goat going around in circles. They may also waste valuable time managing account data in multiple Excel spreadsheets and provide sales reports and self-evaluations in Word documents, munching on the same old information. None of these processes help accelerate sales. They inhibit them, like a goat trying to climb a slippery slope.
Some companies hold traditional account reviews quarterly, where account managers and sales reps use PowerPoint presentations to provide management and colleagues with account updates. This approach often puts account managers and sales reps on the defensive. Viewed as a report card, the account manager or sales rep is left alone to defend the results and assume responsibility, much like a lone goat defending its last piece of precious green.
Furthermore, these presentations typically take a singular view of the opportunity. There is no overview of the account’s decision-makers or long-term potential, and there is no shared learning within the group to help the account manager or sales rep plan.
This approach doesn’t promote proactive, strategic selling nor invite feedback on products, pricing, or positioning. It also avoids discussions regarding competitor and marketplace trends that may impact sales, leaving the sales team as oblivious as goats to the changes in their environment. To thrive in today’s dynamic business landscape, we must break free from this traditional approach and adopt a more collaborative, agile strategy, much like a group of goats working together to adapt and thrive in their ever-changing mountainous terrain.
Creating A Goat-Proof Sales Strategy: A Revegy Account Planning Session
While traditional account reviews like those described above focus on the past, a Revegy account planning session concentrates on the future, just like a forward-thinking goat that plans its route to the juiciest grazing spots. Like our goat example, Revegy’s sophisticated sales enablement and account planning tools turn account review sessions into vehicles for identifying the indicators that lead to sales, much like a goat following the signs to find the best food. They also provide blueprints for transforming account relationships from a simplistic buyer-seller model to a strategic partnership, like a goat forming a symbiotic relationship with its fellow grazers.
And unlike traditional account reviews, where the account manager or salesperson is left alone to present results, Revegy clearly defines each role in the sales cycle and tracks progress and performance by role, ensuring all stakeholders are accountable.
Revegy is the must-have technology that enables account management and sales teams to achieve quotas with customized sales operations tools that unify sales teams, uncover account insights, streamline selling processes, and drive long-term wallet share gains.
So, what are the Revegy features that make this happen? Let’s explore them and unleash the full potential of how Revegy can help your sales team, just like a goat unlocking the full potential of its natural instincts to thrive in its environment!
Revegy’s relationship maps provide account managers and sales reps with an account’s organizational chart, highlighting the customer’s key decision-makers, influencers, and purchasing stakeholders. This all-important map offers invaluable insight into the customer’s reporting structure, who influences whom, and who has the final authority over critical purchasing decisions. Sales professionals can then develop deeper relationships with the right people in their strategic accounts.
A relationship map is an ideal tool for networking. It provides critical insight into the strength of existing customer relationships, identifies relationship blind spots, and flags relationships that need improvement. Account managers and salespeople can set goals to improve these relationships, and management can provide support in attaining these objectives, like a goat herd working together to strengthen their bonds and thrive in their challenging environment.
White Space Identification
This tool provides a visual representation of wallet share, like a farmer counting the goats in their herd. It summarizes current bookings (sales) relative to the total account potential, allowing account managers, sales reps, and sales leadership to identify opportunities immediately. Teams gain greater insight into gaps within accounts, empowering them to make the right offers at the right time.
Strategic Account Planning
Revegy’s strategic account planning portal provides a complete overview of account plans. It includes a full picture of the customer’s goals. Account managers and sales reps align product and service offerings with customer objectives, ensuring they cater to their specific needs, just like a goat herder offering the right feed for each goat’s dietary requirements.
With this comprehensive portal, account managers and sales reps create proactive plans to shepherd the account through the sales cycle, guiding them like a farmer to a goat. By utilizing this tool, businesses can ensure their approach is strategic, customer-centric, and effective.
Sales Analytics and Metrics
One of the essential sales team tools for revenue growth, Revegy’s predictive analytics and data tracking act as the guiding force for the sales process, ensuring a precise and well-planned approach. It can be used to establish and measure key performance indicators (KPIs) and sales cycle milestones, providing a clear path forward and setting markers along the route for the team to follow.
Revegy tracks leading indicators, account plans, sales cycle milestones, and goals in real-time, keeping a watchful eye on the progress, just like a vigilant farmer monitoring the movement of their herd. This allows sales teams to adjust strategies as necessary quickly. With Revegy’s powerful tools, sales teams can confidently navigate the sales cycle and achieve their objectives quickly and efficiently.
Strategic Selling Best Practices
Everything up to this point has laid the foundation for Revegy’s transformative impact on account managers, molding them into strategic sales professionals. Now, let’s delve into the habits of these top-performing salespeople. What sets them apart and consistently leads to remarkable results? How can we learn from their approach and replicate their success within the rest of the team?
The answers lie in comprehending strategic selling best practices. Here, we present a concise summary of the daily habits of overachieving sales professionals and how they skillfully adopt sales opportunity planning best practices. By embracing these insights, the entire team can elevate their performance and unleash their full potential in driving sales success.
Strategic sales professionals understand the importance of networking. Like goats with greener pastures, they capitalize on every chance available to gain insight into how decisions are made within their accounts.
For large, strategic accounts with multiple locations, strategic sellers ensure their network is all-inclusive. They use existing relationships to open new ones at other locations and they continuously build, grow, and nurture their network to unlock new opportunities.
Many salespeople often fall into the trap of trying to impress customers by overwhelming them with their knowledge. They assume too much and tend to dominate the conversation, focusing solely on highlighting their product’s features and benefits.
However, strategic salespeople take a different approach. They understand the importance of active listening and aim for a balanced 75 to 25 percent split in the conversation. By using leading questions, they skillfully encourage customers to speak 75 percent of the time. This approach works wonders, even with the most reserved customers, as it allows them to open up and share valuable insights about their priorities and challenges. Armed with this valuable information, strategic salespeople can then tailor their value proposition to precisely meet the customer’s needs and drive successful outcomes.
Strategic salespeople are masters of planning, meticulously considering every step of their approach to customers. From initiating discussions to gathering information, networking, and positioning themselves and their company, they leave nothing to chance. Their forward-looking mindset ensures they are always prepared for any opportunity that arises.
Moreover, these professionals have an open and receptive attitude toward feedback. They view it as a clear sign of management’s buy-in and genuine interest. Rather than shying away, they gladly share their account plans and welcome accountability for their actions. Their confidence in their strategies and willingness to collaborate make them invaluable assets to any sales team.
Focus on Wallet Share
Growing sales revenue is ultimately about maximizing the opportunities within strategic accounts. The most proactive sales professionals always have an eye on wallet share. They constantly strive to sell more, expand their network, and position their company and its products and services as the only reasonable solution. Their dogged, personalized attention positions them as a valued partner and unlocks opportunities to expand their footprint within the account.
A strategic sales professional is not only highly meticulous and detail-oriented but also profoundly customer-centric. Diligently taking notes and being intensely focused on solving their customers’ problems is second nature to them. They understand the significance of capturing valuable intel and data about specific customer initiatives, needs, and challenges like a goat that remembers the best routes to find the yummiest leaves off the trees.
This invaluable information becomes the foundation of their approach as they expertly position products and services to meet the exact requirements of each customer. By tailoring their offerings with precision, they not only establish trust but also demonstrate a deep understanding of their customers’ unique situations. The result is a compelling and personalized sales experience that leaves a lasting impression and sets the stage for successful partnerships.
A Pulse on the Market
Strategic salespeople adeptly avoid engaging in discussions with customers about their competition. Instead, they harness the power of market and competitor intelligence to expertly position their company as the unrivaled choice, showcasing its distinct advantages. This keen awareness of the market landscape allows them to stay informed about their competitors’ activities, emerging trends, and critical insights, ensuring they remain one step ahead at all times.
By shrewdly using this wealth of information, strategic sellers possess a comprehensive understanding of where the market stands and precisely what actions they need to take to maintain a competitive edge. They effortlessly navigate the sales arena, equipped with the knowledge needed to demonstrate their company’s unique value proposition and secure their position as the optimal solution for their customers.
Adopting the GOAT Mindset
Just like agile goats that keenly sense changes in their environment, strategic sellers are always attuned to leading sales indicators. They possess an innate ability to spot opportunities when customers embark on new projects, enabling them to be ever-ready to provide valuable support and solutions. Moreover, when customers venture into uncharted territories, such as launching new products or entering new markets, the strategic seller has already nurtured relationships with the key players in these ventures.
Understanding the pivotal role of leading indicators as critical precursors to successful sales, Revegy’s platform proves to be the perfect ally for capturing, tracking, and effectively leveraging these valuable insights.
With Revegy’s advanced tools, strategic sellers can stay ahead of the game, anticipating customer needs and strategically positioning themselves to make significant impacts on sales outcomes. Just like goats navigating their way to the most abundant pastures, strategic sellers use Revegy’s platform to traverse the sales landscape with agility and precision.
Revegy: The Preferred Strategic Sales Platform by GOATs
Ready to reach GOAT status in sales and account planning? At Revegy, our team is fueled by a passion for empowering organizations like yours. Comprising tech-savvy sales professionals and enthusiasts, we understand precisely what your sales team needs to thrive. That’s why we’ve crafted a strategic sales planning solution that offers a comprehensive view of your strategic accounts, setting the stage for remarkable sales growth and enabling tailor-made customer-specific sales strategies.
Don’t miss the chance to unlock your sales potential and elevate your business to new levels of success. Get in touch with us now and discover how our innovative solution can revolutionize your sales approach and drive unprecedented results. Book a demo today and embark on the journey to unleash the full potential of your sales team!
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Now On Demand!
Watch our on-demand webinar, where we delve into the key elements of an agile sales approach from start to finish, featuring Luiz Martins, CMO of Revegy, along with esteemed guest speakers Donald C Kelly, Founder and The Sales Evangelist, and Doug Inda, SVP of Enterprise Client Development at Syndigo. Discover how to adapt to tighter budgets without compromising sales performance, leverage technology to streamline processes and close more deals, provide meaningful value to buyers amidst abundant data, succeed in a remote sales environment with effective communication and virtual presentations, and position yourself as a trusted advisor in today’s ever-changing sales landscape. This is your chance to increase your pipeline and propel your success forward. Watch on-demand here!