Prospecting, getting the appointment, preparing your sales presentation/pitch, possibly a proposal or demonstration and you may even have to take part in a test or free trial, and then pull out the big guns and close.
Keeping a customer is easy compared to acquiring one.
The effort and cost to get a client is significantly greater than the cost and effort to keep one.
Understanding this you should vow that you will never ever loose a client.
To do this you must rise above just being seen as a supplier of a commodity and establish a relationship with the account that positions you as a partner, a helpful, trusted and attentive partner.
Most of the skills that you will need to bring to bear you learned as a child playing in the sand box, however just being on time ,on commitment, with excellent communications and service is the norm, everyone can do this so look for the extras that will offer value.
Try to be ahead of time ,deliver more than your commitment and make sure that everyone on your team has the complete picture and is committed to excellence.
So answer this question as it relates to your important accounts.
Are you an order taker or a trusted advisor and consultant - someone who knows their business and what they are trying to do? At this point you should have three objectives.
Keep the account Grow and develop the account.
Get references for new business opportunities from the account.
To do this you will need an account plan.
There are many different types and styles of templates available on the web that will give you a good start as well some of you may have this feature built into your CRM program.
Here is the information you will need to start your plan off right.
All of the company info, check out all sections of their web site A complete list of all the key players Titles and power A list of the decision makers Their decision making process Buying cycles Competitors Secret tip: Develop an inside sales person.
Getting close to someone inside the company will save you a great deal of time and effort.
Ensure that this person is knowledgeable, develop a relation ship a trust level with this person and then when you and he or she are comfortable ask them for help.
Caution the more senior this person is the better.
My experience with this strategy has backfired a few times when this person assumed the power in the account and became a blocker instead of an enabler.
The team: many companies have internal support staff that can break or make your efforts with this account.
Since it is your account you are responsible for its success.
You will probably have to direct them and manage them and have no authority but all of the responsibility.
It is up to you to assign tasks, deadlines and manage and motivate them to give your account special attention.
Remember you competition here will be other sales people and accounts that are also looking for special attention.
Getting started Gather information Get a template Assemble the support team Develop a plan Follow up on every detail You get what you inspect, not what you expect The account manager that brings insight and value to the customer relationship is the one that builds client loyalty and achieves greater account penetration.
A final thought that may keep you up at night.
Every one of your competitors is trying to replace you in this account.
Stay a step ahead, do more than expected, do it faster than expected and better than expected and then find out the value that you can bring that no one else can.