Successful selling to strategic accounts is difficult in the best of times.
The RAIN Group has categorized these challenges with input from both average and high performing strategic account teams.
There is continual pressure from company executives to focus on short-term results vs. longer-term strategic wins. Maintaining access to the knowledge and messaging skills required to deliver truly differentiated value propositions to multiple prospective customers is challenging. There are often disconnected messages promoted internally to the strategic accounts team through different groups within a business. The graph below depicts the challenges frequently experienced by high performance sales teams.
A strategic accounts portal for the account team
What if there could be a strategic accounts portal that could address these challenges for the SAM selling team? And what if this same portal could be configured to digitally engage key groups and personas within their accounts in highly relevant and personalized ways? The ROI would be significant in terms of selling efficiency and effectiveness. The ROE (return on engagement) with the customer would be enormous.
Let’s imagine the portal together.
Different members of the sales team would see what’s relevant to their particular needs:
- Strategic account initiatives
- Key contacts (drawn from the CRM or LinkedIn Sales Navigator)
- Management goals for strategic account initiatives
- Content and resources required to engage different account personas and contacts
- Progress updates to the account plan driven through bi-directional integration with the CRM
The overall account manager would see dashboards relating to performance against the account plan and strategic initiatives as well as the performance of the different members of the account team. The account manager would have access to virtual team work sessions through the portal providing the opportunity for one-on-one and group collaboration to deliver special coaching and/or deal winning content.
The account-based marketing team would be able to create, deliver and track campaigns to support the account team in the context of the customer’s initiatives.
Enabling the customer to engage is also critical
The strategic accounts portal would also provide unique personalized views for different customer personas within the account. Examples include:
- Business process owners for each of the initiatives would see only what’s relevant to their world. They would also likely be the prime connections for any campaigns run by the ABM team.
- If the customer’s IT team is involved, they could be granted access to see all of the initiatives and projects across the account. Access could also be constrained if certain team members only need to see one or two initiatives. Interfaces to the customer support system may also be provided so that team members could open cases through the same unified portal.
- The account Procurement group may wish to see the status of all the open purchase orders and the project progress against the PO’s.
One platform - many different stakeholders
Having a unifying solution that is easily modified for and by the account team is critical. Having a solution that can deliver a variety of personalized experiences for different groups and personas all from the same platform is essential. Collaboration and communication with account stakeholders is integral to the strategic accounts portal. The ability to track which account specific stakeholders have accessed the portal or which piece of content a specific stakeholder has consumed will enable an even more personalized follow-up for the sales team.
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