By their nature, whale-sized accounts are complex. Invariably, delivering your products and services requires the coordination of many people in your company with many more people in the whale company. You have an opportunity to greatly improve your internal processes and controls each time you serve a new whale.
The most important thing for members of your team to remember is that their counterparts on the whale side are accustomed to a very high level of formal communication, which is the norm in a large, most likely bureaucratic, organization. In contrast, communication at your company is likely to be much more informal and delivered in meetings or emails rather than formal memos or documents.
Even if you do a good job of managing the account, failing to manage the formal communication of your control processes can do you in. Here’s how to plan:
- Determine the key people on the whale team who need to be informed of progress on the account
- Establish a regular reporting schedule, weekly or bi-weekly, with an internal “owner” on your team.
- Ensure that each team leader on your side reports key progress, issues, or hold-ups to the internal owner on a clear deadline.
- Develop a simple template for the “controls” report or project update.
- Distribute to your team and to the whale team on a predictable, regular basis.
This discipline will accomplish two very important things. First, it will keep your team on track with the deliverables and on the same page regarding the entire deal. Second, it will communicate to everyone on the whale team that you are a professionally managed company that understands and accommodates their need for information.
When problems are called out in a regular, routine report, they become routine—not cause for alarm but simply for action. It’s one more example of how the sale will not result in business development unless you deliver at the highest level. Your business growth requires a balance between the sales cycle and the delivery.