Steve Andersen, President & Founder, Performance Methods Inc.
In sales organizations, it?s all too common to lose sight of the customers we already have and the importance of growing our existing accounts. How can we make room to expand our relationships with existing customers? First, it requires a mindset shift and a willingness to allocate a bit of mindshare and focus to calculated growth. Deliberate, planned growth with the customer at the center is what it?s all about in terms of driving business in your account base. And getting started is really as simple as thinking about it in terms of a four-piece jigsaw puzzle.
Puzzle Piece #1: The Plan
The best approach to building effective customer-related plans is to engage in a team-based planning process. After all, shouldn?t the people who will ultimately execute on the plan and make the promises come true have input into the plan?s creation?
As you prepare to plan, keep in mind that there are three potential dimensions in planning:
- Am I planning to engage?
- Am I planning to win?
- Am I planning to grow?
By simply talking with top performers about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it, I?ve observed and modeled a set of interconnected behaviors. The first two questions ? planning to engage and win ? were capturing most of the focus, with little mindshare left over. Yet what we all know is that the actions that are taken after the last sale have everything to do with effectively positioning the salesperson before their next sale.
Puzzle Piece #2: Execution
Now that you have a plan in place, the question becomes ?What are you going to do with it?? For most salespeople, their largest and most strategic customers are irreplaceable assets, and failing to implement plans to grow these accounts is simply not an option.
If your plan represents your intention to co-create value with your internal team and with your customer, then it?s the execution of your plan that will determine whether this value ever becomes a reality. And since it must be important to your customer (or they wouldn?t have collaborated with you in the first place), there?s a high likelihood that if you don?t deliver against your promise of value, then someone else will.
No one builds a plan to grow an existing customer relationship with the intent to fall short on follow-through, but even the best-laid plans can fall victim to non-execution. While there are plenty of reasons for execution shortfalls, the two that we see most frequently in our work are the tyranny alluded to earlier, as well as internal misalignment. Both have to do with reaching agreement on what matters most, which can be difficult when it comes to agreeing on priorities that are focused on growing customer relationships.
To read the complete article, Putting Together the Puzzle Pieces to Grow Accounts, visit Quotable.com.