Is account management tougher than it was a year, 5, 10 or 20 years ago? Well the jury's still out on that one but I'd like to raise some points I think is helpful for us all to evaluate to really understand this better.
There is no denying that there have been some major selling distinctions that have changed the way we engage with our customers. Yes your customers may not pick up the phone as much, it may be more challenging to get their attention they may even have 67% of their decisions made ahead of your next conversation.
What does that actually mean for you and me? It simply means the way we sell and how we engage with our customers is different not necessarily harder. But the skills we need to learn in the changing economy aren't as easy to master.
Here is the reality. There are more resources available to account managers and sales professionals than ever before. We're now in a place where we can access more information on one individual in a few clicks than they can probably recall about themselves. That's a lot of power if you know the correct way to use it. There is no one person out there that has completely grasped and leveraged the possibilities of this (not even me). We have a great opportunity to begin to re-imagine how we create buying environments for our customers.
The key distinction today is not to dwell on the challenge of getting to our customer or retaining and keeping their attention and business. The question is what are the new skills you need to learn or fundamental skills you need to master today to help navigate and find greater success in this new selling era.
I've outlined 5 must have skills to work on to thrive in todays adapting selling environment as an account manager.
- You have to learn how to understand and create customer led value that is current and future focused. Value that turns your customer information it into insight and results for your customer.
- You have to learn how to engage effectively with and in the multi channels of communication where your customer lives most often. Is that Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn or other.
- You have to be able to adapt your communication to articulate clear and succinct value messages through multiple mediums effectively telling your customer story. There are a number of great companies offering great advice on the persuasion of story to market and sell to your customers like Storybrand, Corporate Visions and Nancy Duarte.
- You have to learn what fundamental business principles (Business Acumen) to really get to understand what things impact business decisions. Speak the language of the executive and you'll better understand how to position yourself as someone who can truly make your customers metrics matter.
- Critically you have to learn how to build great and deep relationships with your customers. Your ability to amplify trust and connect with your customers today is directly related to the level of influence you'll have tomorrow.
Your ability to become a master relationship builder is critical. Although you know its important you may not know how to make that a reality with all your customers. Good intentions don't help you to produce great results. This is not just about adapting to behavioural styles its about understanding people.
If you're interested in knowing how to increase your influence and begin the process to transform your own customer relationships get connected to my customer growth email series HERE. You can start the process of learning a new framework of thinking to growth. www.jermaineedwards.com
Founder of the Key Account Hack System - New Key Account thinking that transforms customer relationships and creates predictable sales growth.