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As businesses grow and take on bigger customers and bigger accounts, there is often internal tension and frustration in delivering everything you promised, once the sale is made. A business cannot grow unless it can both sell and deliver increasingly valuable accounts. The Whale Hunters Process™ approaches Key Account Management from four perspectives:
About two years ago I was a guest on Diane Helbig’s Talk Radio Network show Accelerate Your Business Growth on this topic. Today’s newsletter is an outline of the questions and brief answers, followed by a link to the audio file of the broadcast. If you do a lot of large account selling, if you manage key accounts, and if you’d like to sell more large accounts and manage them well, I think you’ll find the recording useful and detailed.
This problem occurs whenever there isn’t clarity between what is standard and what is “customized.” If your company has just released a new software product, the sales team may be touting all its flashy features that can be part of a custom installation, while the project management team may be struggling just to implement the standard version because the bells and whistles aren’t even functional yet! Another example is a professional service team that makes a good margin with standard modules of delivery, but once they’ve been promised a “custom version” your costs increase and margin drops dramatically.
As the leader, how can you improve your team’s cooperation on selling and delivering?
What kind of methods do you advocate to improve the hand-off from sales to operations?
What are some of the pitfalls if this handoff is uneven or poorly explained to the customer?
In your book, [Whale Hunting: How to Land Big Sales and Transform Your Company] you write about making and keeping promises as one of the earliest ways to establish a relationship of trust with a new customer. Can you tell us more about that?
What are some examples that you’ve encountered of companies that were inadvertently damaging the trust relationship with their customers?
Of course if you can’t properly deliver what you’ve sold, that’s worse than never selling it in the first place. How can a company strike that right balance between selling and delivering?
When is the right time to begin proposing that your customer renew the contract or purchase additional products or services?
In a small company, who should be responsible for selling new business to current key accounts?
Are there some pitfalls in trying to sell more business to key accounts that our audience should avoid?