Is prospecting part of what Key Account Management should do? The answer is it depends. Whether or not it should be is another question. The game has changed and there are very few pure KAM roles out there. Even with dedicated KAM teams the growing expectation is that you should be also looking for new sales opportunities.
As well as focusing your efforts on growing those high value customers, like many KAM's I've spoken with you may still need to find and attract new opportunities from new clients as well as your current.
The great opportunity for key account managers is you have a rich land of opportunity depending on the size of client you manage to find and build relationships with other buyers within the same business. Better yet you can also uncover more people connected to your client who could benefit from your services. Such as suppliers and sister companies connected to your clients business.
Here are 6 immediate ways to get you focused on prospecting as a KAM or in any sales role. It's all about increasing your chances of getting in front of the right people and having the right conversations.
Get into the model of your clients world
Do you know where your clients go to find clients? What forums do they go too? What places do they like to go to meet people like them? Find this out and you’ll probably find other possible prospects while doing it.
Hone your own presence online and get engaged
It goes without saying that this is a critical piece to engagement with our customers. Whatever platform you use be it LinkedIn, Xing, Twitter, Facebook. Make it easy for more people to know about you, what you do and how you help others. Where you have permission share wins of your clients that you've contributed to. Share their posts and comment. There are many ways to get maximize use from these social tools. Pick one and become the expert on it to target, attract and engage your clients and potential prospects.
Position yourself as industry expert
Where possible this can be a great way to raise awareness of your expertise and get in front of new targeted people. You can ask to deliver a presentation for a client internal or supplier event. Those sales people who take those opportunities can position themselves as experts, command better business and attract more opportunities. Each call, every opportunity in front of a prospect or client is a chance to show that you are the expert of choice to trust for their needs.
Ask for referrals
I shared a Post yesterday. One of the best way to find new clients and is a mark of the relationship you have with your current clients is to ask for a referral. Test it and you may be surprised what clients give you referrals and which don’t. Note:A referral is to be earned and not expected. You need to know who your ideal customer is and set up conversations with clients you’re already giving a great service to.
Get to your clients events
You won’t know about every event or networking place your clients go to, so ask them. You’ll be surprised what you uncover. Their customers will be there and so will many buyers and senior people from their business. What better way to connect with those people than in an environment where they are the host.
It’s a mindset not just a skillset
There’s no magic bullet despite the hype out there. True qualified prospecting can take a little time but it’s worth doing right. It’s important to know that prospecting is a mindset even more than it is a skill set. There is a danger in account management of thinking you need to set aside time to prospect. While I see how that can be helpful it actually doesn’t help you do the one thing you want. Have more conversations. Why not shift your perspective from ‘how do I get more clients’ to ‘how do I find more people to help’. Then apply that thought to every conversation you have. This might sound salesy but it won’t when you change your perspective. Rather than prospects you will see more people you can help. Whenever you’re on a call with your client you can simply ask the questions.“Who else do you think we can help in your business that may be having similar challenges?”
Note: Remember to Keep improving – “success is something you attract by the person you become...” Ask yourself the question. What one thing could I do differently to help me get in front of more people to help? get creative.
Jermaine Edwards - Founder of Key Account Hack System - Helping you retain your Key Accounts and grow sales from your high value customers