- Posted by Steve Gruber
- On April 18, 2017
- 0 Comments
- account management, B2B Sales
Most of the B2B sales related blogs I have written discuss the act of selling, ranging from best practices to improving your conversions and so on. I haven’t done many blogs in the past on the importance of Account Management in the B2B sales process.
So first, let’s start with what I mean by Account Management. For what I am going to discuss today, Account Management means you have identified and qualified a prospect and they have expressed some interest in whatever you are selling, or they are already customers and there is a definite opportunity to sell more to them.
Why is Account Management important you ask? Well, here is an interesting story. Years ago we had a client in the cleantech space and while selling that clients’ products we were introduced to a Fortune 100 company that has put sustainability as one of their key business drivers. We got pretty close at that time to closing a deal with the Fortune 100 company for our client but for a number of reasons we could not get it across the finish line. I had developed a good relationship with the contact at the Fortune 100 company and we have stayed in contact for years via Linkedin (messaging every once in a while) and more passively via our Monthly eNewsletter. It has now been at least 4 years since we first were introduced and my contact recently reached out to explore another sustainability option that he knew I was still keeping warm. If this deal does materialize in the future it will be north of $2,000,000.
In another example, we initially sold and now manage a quasi-government account for a client of ours. When we first sold the deal, the value was worth about $36,000 per year. Now, 2 years later, the revenue from this account is $70,000 per year and by 2019 if things continue as planned it will be $126,000 per year. That is some solid growth. How we managed this is by staying in direct contact with the customer on regular basis (every two months via phone or face to face meeting). In addition to that, we have placed the customer on the client’s Monthly Newsletter to keep them up to speed on what is happening at our client and new inventory they may have. Lastly, we have encouraged and fostered relationships with the customer at different levels and have our client’s staff communicating to a variety of people to ensure they are 100% satisfied.
Remember, you can employ a variety of tactics to manage accounts and grow them successfully. Some are more active than others. Regular calls or face to face meetings is a good way to build rapport and trust, particularly early on. Then continuing these to ensure the customer is happy and satisfied while you continue to explore for additional pain points is also very important. Follow your contact on Linkedin (or other social platforms where appropriate), share their posts, understand their likes/dislikes and passions. Get to know them as people in addition to them being your client.
From a passive standpoint, keeping contacts up to date on happenings at your company is a good way to stay in touch. Even if they don’t open the email, they will see it come in. You always need to have a mechanism to be politely present. This is one way to do that.
Good luck with your B2B sales and if we can be of assistance please don’t hesitate to contact me. Alternatively, if you are simply looking for a source of excellent sales and marketing information, please feel free to sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Twitter.