Keys to Retain and Expand Your Top Accounts in 2023
Even though it’s probably the last thing any seller or sales leader wants to think about right now, the end of 2022 is rapidly approaching. The next few months will determine if quotas are hit and if enough pipeline is generated to ensure a strong beginning of the year. With a recession looming over the economy, many jobs and promotions will also be on the line, this season seems to bring high stakes. So how do you combat a slow start to the year? How do you hit quota when everyone begins their holiday vacations in November and December? You need a process in place that’s built for success. You need a comprehensive account management strategy.
With fewer large companies open to purchasing technology at this moment, it’s critical to understand these things when enterprise selling:
Who are your top strategic accounts?
Tier your top accounts and align with key account managers and sellers to decide if they’re who you should be pursuing as customers. Did recent economic news negatively impact that account? Has there been a leadership change along with shifting initiatives? Don’t know? It’s time to do some research, align with marketing, and build out that account in your CRM. This is the bare bones of a truly strategic account management process.
Another way to look into your top accounts can be based on:
- Product usage
- NPS Score (Net Promoter) – how happy they are
- Expansion potential – document this in the account object ideally
- Compliments to the team over time (qualitative)
Equally important is understanding your customer accounts that are higher risk to churn. Knowing who your champions internally are is key with getting in front of the detractors and making your product as sticky as possible. We outline how to identify who is generally involved in your deals next.
Who are the key stakeholders in these sales organizations?
Maybe different sellers or people on your sales team have contacted key players in these accounts. What is the status of each current standing relationship? What is the best move to internally align these stakeholders so they understand the value your product brings to their business? If you’re not tracking this information in a central location, it can be painstakingly difficult to navigate stakeholder relationships, especially in large accounts (and as we know, the average Saas sales cycle now involves an average of 5-8 stakeholders, according to Hubspot). It’s best if you actually visualize that relationship and how it correlates to the rest of the other stakeholders in that account. We recommend a relationship map built inside of your CRM, here’s a quick idea of how we do it.
If you’re not sure on the people typically involved – look at all of your demos, leads, or closed won deals over a 6-12 month period and start to drill down in your CRM or a spreadsheet. This will provide clarity into who needs to consistently be involved.
What is the customer’s current satisfaction level with your product?
How willing are they to increase their spending? Even if you don’t have direct access to this information, your account manager should. If not, it’s important to schedule a meeting with the client company to get a general idea. This will help determine what kind of message or ask you want to make when you reach out, as well as what kind of budget you should be requesting when considering an expansion.
Know where your data lives:
It should live in your CRM in one central location. Your strategic account managers should be updating this daily and sharing it with the sales team so everyone has complete transparency into every key account. No one likes surprises on calls, so keep everyone in the loop by storing this information where everyone can easily access it.
Tools of the trade:
In order for account managers to do their job well, they need to be equipped with the right tools. A good CRM is essential for organizing and tracking customer satisfaction, interaction, and data points. Additionally, account managers should have a way to easily see which opportunities they own in an account, what stage they’re in, and what their next steps are. We recommend using SalesLoft Cadence for this purpose because it allows account managers to quickly see all these things in one place, as well as provides an easy way for them to reach out and connect with customers.
Finally, account managers need to be accountable for their results. In order to hold them accountable, sales managers should establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that account managers are responsible for meeting. These KPIs might include things like the number of upsells per month or customer churn rate. By tracking these KPIs, a sales manager can ensure that their account managers are meeting their goals and objectives.
So there you have it – a few things to consider as we move into 2023 to ensure your sales team is set up for success. By taking a comprehensive approach to account management, you can avoid any surprises, better understand your customers, and keep your sales team accountable throughout the entire year.