The 4 Biggest Reasons Why Key Account Management Is Critical
Bigger isn’t always better; but in sales, it usually is.
Every sales team wants bigger, more lucrative deals that help them retire quota faster and generate larger commission checks. But the larger the deal size, and the more lucrative the account, the more complex the selling process becomes.
Key account management (also known as account-based selling, or ABS) is a sales discipline that helps you strategically and systematically attack larger, high-value accounts with more revenue and selling potential.
With the right multi-touch approach, making use of every channel at your disposal – and including not just your entire sales team, but your marketing team and executive team as well – you can improve your average deal size and hit your numbers more efficiently.
Here, we’ll give you the four main reasons why account-based sales is the only proven sales process that can pursue and win opportunities from target accounts with the highest ACV.
1. Key Account Management Reaches Hard-to-Reach Decision Makers
The bigger the account, the harder it is to find key stakeholders and decision makers.
These important people are insulated behind several layers of personnel and bureaucracy, even in a “flat” organization. Their time is more limited so they typically have to delegate to more people in their org structure. That means you, as the seller, have more potential blockers and gatekeepers to work through.
Account-based sales can help, because by bringing more resources to bear (and using them more effectively), you have more options to find that crucial path of access to decision-makers.
These options include:
- Touchpoints generated through account-based marketing (i.e. the collateral tailored to that specific organization)
- Outside connections you can leverage for referrals and insight
- Powerful customer relationship management tools to coordinate your strategy
Getting to the decision maker is what everyone wants to do. An ABS strategy is really the only way to do it for the more lucrative accounts.
2. You Can Deliver Customized Content and Touchpoints
Another benefit of pooling together your collective sales and marketing resources is that you can customize your content and collateral for your target accounts. You can even personalize it for specific decision-makers and key stakeholders.
It doesn’t always make economical sense to tailor everything to one account. In fact, for potential customers under a certain size and/or potential ACV, it’s downright inefficient to do so.
But when you pursue larger deals, you not only can customize your approach – you must.
A customized approach is incredibly powerful. In one study, 80% of respondents said personalized content is either more effective or much more effective. When you can connect your messages to the specific pain points your potential customers face, you can open doors that would otherwise be closed. Because let’s face it: no one wants to be sold with a generic approach.
A CRM tool featuring digital content management can be invaluable to facilitate this kind of sales strategy. One downside of account-based marketing, after all, is that you’re spending more time on fewer target accounts. This means you have to be more efficient. Digital content management provides that efficiency.
3. Account-Based Selling Reduces the Bane of Every Sales Team: Friction
If there’s one thing B2B buyers hate, it’s friction.
In sales, friction is anything that slows or halts the selling process. It can be anything that requires too much time or effort from the customer or that involves more steps than necessary.
It turns out (surprise surprise), people don’t like friction. They don’t like being handed off from one rep to another throughout the process. They don’t like having to do the sales rep’s job for them. And they really don’t enjoy having to wait on answers, or content, or proposals.
In short, friction leads to terrible customer service, which will kill a sale faster than anything else.
Fortunately, a strategic account management approach can eliminate a lot of the friction that ordinary sales processes have.
For starters, since everything is integrated into a (hopefully) smooth process, there shouldn’t be any hand-offs. Key account managers can coordinate personnel and resources to ensure a prospect is communicating with the same team at all times.
Additionally, through account-based selling, sales managers can provide info and content faster and more responsively to the buyer. This way they have what they need when they need it (and ideally, before they need it).
Account-based selling can do this because you’re consolidating your resources into a structured, integrated process that is laser-focused on that one account. Nothing should fall through the cracks. Nothing should cause a snag in the sales cycle.
Without this kind of approach, friction will happen more frequently and lead to poorer results.
4. Key Account Management Is the Best Way to Farm Large Accounts
Finally, the biggest accounts have the biggest account plans and opportunity – not just because they have the biggest average deal sizes.
They also have more potential deals, period.
To really get the most value from an account, the sales team has to go after deals beyond the first one. Tapping into all of that potential – what we call white space – is key if you want to retire your quota more successfully.
The problem is, only a key account management approach can do that. Why? Because future opportunities may not flow from the business unit or buying team that you worked with for your first deal. You may need to turn to other stakeholders within the same organization.
You also may need to leverage your contacts within the account to find more prospects. In fact, you should. Nothing moves things along faster in a big company than a personalized introduction or referral.
With account-based selling, you can find these potential deals across all of your product/service lines. A key account management app in your CRM – especially one with a white space function to facilitate cross-selling – can automate much of the work to identify and go after these opportunities.
At the end of the day, the biggest deals require an account-based sales approach that leverages the full firepower of a sales organization and focuses it on high-value accounts.
Turn to account-based sales to unlock the potential in your key accounts and accelerate growth beyond what you thought was possible.