2 Tactics to Prevent Strategic Accounts From Being Picked Off

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Los­ing an account is painful, and when that account is one of your biggest spenders…well it has a huge impact on your bot­tom line. While it is impor­tant to grow your small­er accounts into big­ger spenders, don’t for­get that there are plen­ty of com­peti­tors cir­cling like vul­tures; just wait­ing to dis­place you and add your strate­gic accounts to their own client ros­ter.

So how do you keep the vul­tures away?!

As with all things, you need to invest a lit­tle time and effort with these key accounts. David Stargel of Sales Per­for­mance Inter­na­tion­al shares 4 strate­gies used by top account man­agers. These strate­gies will help devel­op and ele­vate your rela­tion­ship with your accounts.

1. Know the client’s orga­ni­za­tion­al pow­er and pol­i­tics. Stargel warns that hav­ing a rela­tion­ship with a soli­tary per­son at the orga­ni­za­tion fos­ters a rela­tion­ship ripe for dis­place­ment. With high turnover rates, the per­son who replaces your con­tact might have very dif­fer­ent loy­al­ties and philoso­phies of oper­a­tion. So pro­tect against staffing changes at your client’s orga­ni­za­tions by dis­cov­er­ing ALL of the key stake­hold­ers in the account. Once known, then iden­ti­fy their indi­vid­ual pow­er and influ­ence in their orga­ni­za­tion and deter­mine a polit­i­cal stand­ing with each.

Stargel also points out that titles don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly cor­re­spond to pow­er. Infor­mal author­i­ty and pow­er to accom­plish things is vast­ly impor­tant too, so make sure you look for the movers and shak­ers inside your client’s orga­ni­za­tion.

2. Get cred­it for the val­ue you pro­vide. Your client’s main focus is their own suc­cess, but unfor­tu­nate­ly, they don’t always acknowl­edge or real­ize the root and sup­ple­men­tal caus­es of that suc­cess. If you can tie your prod­uct or ser­vice direct­ly to val­ue pro­vid­ed to the client, it will keep you at the fore­front of their mind as a ven­dor they WANT to and MUST con­tin­ue to work with. So make sure you are rou­tine­ly “mea­sur­ing and report­ing the busi­ness impact of solu­tions, but also bring­ing new insight and busi­ness savvy to every con­ver­sa­tion in the account.” Keep all your con­ver­sa­tions val­ue based and you’ll solid­i­fy your posi­tion with your clients.

Whether or not you believe your strate­gic accounts are at risk, you nev­er know when a com­peti­tor will approach your clients. It can hap­pen today, tomor­row or it may have already hap­pened. So stay proac­tive. Stay vig­i­lant and con­tin­ue to fos­ter and strength­en your rela­tion­ship with these accounts.

Amanda Levin

Amanda Levin

Aman­da is the Direc­tor of Oper­a­tions at Sales­Fu­el. She pre­vi­ous­ly spe­cial­ized in major accounts research and dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing trends for Sales­Fu­el Today. She holds a Bach­e­lors in Media Stud­ies from Ohio Uni­ver­si­ty.