The goals of the business acquisition process during positioning and relationship
building are to focus
our resources on high-value customers (called strategic accounts), to systematically
relationships with key decision makers and influencers, and to position Company so
it’s more likely to
be awarded the prime contracts and to achieve a higher margin on them.
A strategic account is a targeted customer that has the potential to contribute to
the attainment of a
business unit strategy and is managed within the company’s guidelines for strategic
account management which involve:
- A conscious choice to be fundamentally proactive, not reactive.
- Evaluating which existing customers merit strategic planning.
- Locating new customers that merit strategic planning.
The implications of strategic account management include:
- It guides all activities during the process.
- It holds someone accountable for building long-term relationships.
- If forces selectivity.
Roles of an Account Manager
- Strategist for the Company; consultant to the customer.
- Project team leader, customer team player.
- Positioning champion for the company; customer liaison.
- Intelligence gatherer; capabilities expert.
- Overseer of proposal development; advocate for customer’s key issues.
- Facilitator of contract negotiations.
- Facilitator for future business opportunities; customer advocate.
- Monitor of customer satisfaction; investigator of customer’s changing needs.
Note! Account management is a role, not a position. Doer-sellers, as well as project
managers or other operations people can manage strategic accounts. However, they
should have the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed, and they should be responsible
for managing these key customer relationships.
Deliverables of an Account Manager
- They should accept responsibility and accountability for building the account,
for maximizing Company’s business potential with particular key customer.
- They should develop and maintain a “living” account plan that highlights their
strategy for the account and details how to achieve their account objectives.
- They should have exceptional knowledge of the customer and the competitors who
are active in the account - including ho the key people think. They should be well
versed with the customer’s problems, needs, issues, biases, and concerns.
- They should be coordinating with other business units that serve the customer and
creating synergy in intelligence gathering, needs analysis, competitive assessment,
and opportunity pursuits.
- They should have an urgency for profitable awards and understand the customer.