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Key-elements in strategic account management

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For companies that sell services and solutions to other companies (B2B), the successful management of strategic account is essential. These companies face many challenges in this respect, but also in terms of improving the performance of strategic accounts.

One of the most important challenges is putting together efficient sales teams that build business relationships and sell integrated solutions. Then, it is important to manage these strategic accounts, which involves creating a list of priorities that include the results achieved and the expectations of the strategic customers. Delivering results that respond to specific, well-identified needs can help strengthen the relationship, earnings and profit margins of a strategic account.

Building strong business relationships

The business relationship with a strategic account can cover a wide spectrum, from services supplier to the strategic consultant. During this time, a service and solutions provider may be a preferred supplier, solution provider, or trusted partner. In other words, the quality of the relationship is desirable to evolve from a purely tactical role to a strategic one.

An account becomes strategic when the business relationship that builds the value chain escalates from the provision of a single, isolated service to a range of complementary services / solutions. In the case of a strategic customer, the sale process is simpler because the trust relationship is solid.

Increase of strategic accounts

The experience of PKF Finconta tells us that there is a need and an opportunity to increase the quality of strategic accounts management.

  • On the external side, the building the business relationship with top executives, but also a successful track record, are important qualifying factors as an integrated solution provider.
  • Inside the company, increasing motivation by setting goals, metrics, and rewards, as well as regular team meetings, are opportunities for increasing the team cohesion.

Consolidation of strategic account management

Recommendations for initiatives to strengthen the strategic account management team:

  • Defining clear goals for the team, setting quantifiable indicators, and a reward system for outstanding performance
  • Implementing a quarterly agenda for account team activities, correlated with the weekly agenda, as well as an agenda for holding client sessions with the account team
  • Continuous updating of the team with industry trends and customer point of view
  • Involving as many account team members as possible in the meetings with the account representatives
  • Securing the permanent participation of the client in the working sessions, by increasing the support of the account manager coordinator
  • Quarterly verification of the performance of the team managing the strategic account and identifying solutions that minimize / eliminate the deviation from the set objectives.

In conclusion

In a strategic business relationship with a company, the provider covers a wide range of services delivered to a spefic account. The top management of the client company consults with the account team before important initiatives. Therefore, strategic client leaders regularly join the service team in working sessions to discuss their challenges and plans for the future.

Because there is potential for expanding the range of services offered, it is a good idea for the entire account team to be present at each meeting. Increasing the revenues generated from a strategic client is more accelerated than in the case of a regular client and above the average customer profits in the pot. Thus, a strong business relationship with a strategic client means lower costs with the sales process, a significant increase in profitability, and a three-times faster revenue growth. 

Author: Alina Făniță, CEO, PKF Finconta

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