key accounts

Do you have only 10 accounts? Does your entire sales division focus on only 100 global accounts? Digital sales is not a “prospecting” motion in your mind, as you’re looking for an account management motion. While these accounts may or may not be existing customers, the 500,000,000 user database in LinkedIn is of little consequence to you.

How does digital positively affect your account-based sales motion?

Digital provides you data to War Room your key accounts:

War Room accounts are critical to the planning process. In fact, I’m a firm believer that taking time to build your conversational storyboards in advance will dramatically affect your outcomes. Miller Heiman has a similar concept with their “Blue Sheets” – which I’ve heard a statistic that sellers who complete a “Blue Sheet” for a key account are +33% more likely to win the account.

The concept is simple. Digital platforms provide you with Triggers, Referral opportunities, Competitive Intelligence and Insights that can really intrigue customers if used in the right way. I think that if you’re using this and your competition isn’t, you have an asymmetrical competitive advantage.

Account planning and war room key accounts

War Room account planning is broken down into these 4 simple steps:

Triggers – what are the compelling reasons to reach out? Are there new hires that came from your customer base? Did they just raise capital? Open a new office? What are the conversation starters?

Referrals – how can any customer, advocate, network contact introduce you to someone at this organization? Can your key contact in one department help you go deeper/wider into the account by introducing you to another department?

Insights – what intellectual property do you know, or have collected about this company that will rock that buyer to think differently and act? Do you have insights that can’t be found on the 1st page of Google that really are intriguing?

Competitive Intelligence – could you be at risk with this account? Are their employees in that company who were once employees of your main competitor? Do key stakeholders in that company work on projects, have skills, become certified, by your competitors?

Now that you have planned out your account with the above 4 steps, next you need to select the 1-2 sales plays you can run against this account. What stories can you tell this customer that frankly your competition is just not able to deliver?

The bottom line is, if you are responsible for selecting a number of accounts, you need to understand how to use Triggers, Referrals, Insights and Competitive Intelligence to open up doors and start sales conversations. By understanding all these steps that impact your key accounts, you will be able to build specific sales plays to win more often. 

Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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