We’ve grown up in B2B sales living with two disciplines; account management and opportunity management. We know the former to be establishing new accounts and developing them. And so, we have varying approaches to doing this. But, what is account management, really?
I would suggest to you that account management is really opportunity management with the subtext of developing future business with a particular client. Think about it. How do you align with client corporate executives? Why will they take the time to meet with you? Building executive presence and support hinges on providing business value that is recognized at the CXO level. Value that is dispositive to the advancement of corporate executive priorities. That’s not promising value, it’s delivering it and getting recognition for it with the right people. And that means winning the right opportunities that are key to advancing the right client corporate executive priorities.
This means that from the standpoint of building momentum in an account and setting the stage for future business, not all opportunities are created equal. Some are more important than others. Subtext is knowing which ones will advance account development and which one won’t. Sure, all deals are important if they are qualified for pursuit, but the ones that can be linked to future business should be considered Must Wins. Recognizing them and winning them is, for all intents and purposes, account management. Take for example securing the renewal of an important license. You don’t begin just before the license expires and depend on a discount to get it renewed, right? You start the sales campaign much earlier to protect and defend the account. It’s then that a focus on the client value of the license, at multiple levels, both operational and in advancing client corporate priorities, either directly or indirectly, either qualitatively or quantified, launches your renewal campaign.
In short, we:
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