Strategic Account Management (SAM) is one of the most important changes in selling that has emerged in the past twenty years. Unfortunately, many SAM implementations fail and are abandoned. The good news is that many of these failures are unnecessary. SAM is a major change, but the chances of success can be dramatically increased by following the even steps described here…
#1: Set the SAM Vision from the Top
An organizational change of this magnitude requires high-level sponsorship, preferably C-suite. Outside the pharmaceutical industry, companies, such as Rolls-Royce and Siemens have high-level sponsors for each of their strategic accounts. As an example, members of the main board of Siemens, including the CEO, each sponsor a number of strategic accounts and visit them regularly.
#2: Appoint SAM Champions
Once the organization has accepted that it is embarking on a major change, and senior managers understand what SAM is and have bought in to it, the next step is to find those who are going to champion the SAM program and drive the implementation.
#3: Identify your Key Accounts — Carefully
To get the SAM program started, you need to identify some key accounts, and you need to develop an offer that differentiates them from the rest of the customer base.As an example Xerox keeps the number of true key accounts below 100, and they have far greater resources than most and have been practicing SAM for years.
#4: Appoint and Train your Strategic Account Managers
Many organizations make the mistake of simply moving their best sales people into strategic account manager roles. SAM is about changing the way people work — it is not just a sales technique. Converting your best sales people into strategic account managers might mean you’ve put a bunch of people into a role they are not really comfortable with, and you have just lost your best sales people as a result.
#5 : Set the Right Metrics
What gets measured gets managed. If you have tasked your strategic account managers to build long-term relationships with their customers, don’t carry on rewarding them as though they were doing a standard sales job.
Watch the video to learn more about how Clarity Engagement Solutions can help your organization to make the shift to Strategic Account Management today.
Credits: Harvard Business Review