Once again, we need to excel and outperform and the one and only way to make this happen is to reshuffle our cards, change, adapt, innovate, develop personally.
When it comes to managing Key Accounts, this need is twice as big due to the undergoing changes in this area.
We are talking about a new type of Key Account customers with a huge appetite for conflicting things.
They are desperate for quality and at the same time they empower procurement that cannot be but price sensitive.
They tell us “time is money” pushing us to submit our proposals and implement asap while they take way longer to make decisions.
They seem to see the business perspective and payoffs but when we deploy business minded people, they challenge them in the technical part, showing off their deep understanding of our products and services. No doubt, they are getting more and more educated.
They want us lean and flexible, having one single point of reference but they bring in more new key players in the match making the sales process more complex and less predictable.
They tell us “you all sell the same stuff guys” in an effort to commoditize us, while a couple months earlier, they were on stage with us in some conference, delivering speeches about our innovative products or the efficient delivery and implementation of ours.
Are they nuts?
No they are not. They only do their job and we have to do ours. We need to:
Understand thoroughly their thinking and buying process from first contact to contract.
Embrace their complexity and multiple levels of buyers, identifying all the key players involved in and addressing their different and often conflicting needs, buying criteria and concerns.
Identify who among our key players influences whom and take necessary actions to leverage on.
Do our competition analysis. Not an easy task due to the fact that different key players may have a different perception of us and our competitors. Again, take action.
Differentiate by selling expertise, customer service and value added services.
Team up and leverage all our organizational resources, making sure we orchestrate things in a way we still look flexible and lean.
Demonstrate value on every single Key Account customer touch point, having at the same time in the back of our head that we need to capture value for our organization as well. After all, we are not Boy Scouts.
2016 will be a great year!