In your business currently how do you treat your key accounts? Do you know who they are? Do you understand the value that they bring to you? They are interesting questions. In today’s business world your key accounts are the most important people to work with, followed closely behind by your staff.
What is the definition of a key account? In most cases they will be the small segment of your clients that make up 80% of your cash flow. Although small in number they are the clients that will do maximum damage if they move away or stop purchasing through your company.
Generally they will give you:
- Repeat business
- Growth of market share
- Referral opportunities
- Volume business and sales
Without key accounts your business would quite likely self implode? I am sure you would agree. Whilst the fact about customers is well known, so many businesses have no plan for their most important customers. They simply assign a salesperson or a team to a segment of the customer base. From that point the plan falls right away from the process.
So what do you need to do here? You must create a Key Account Plan. Here are some simple steps to get started in doing that:
- Review your current business to know exactly where the sales are coming from. From that point your database should be split up into clients of different categories and product ranges.
- Determine the levels of business coming in and in what categories. How are sales expected to change in those categories in coming years?
- Exactly what could be considered your core business? What products and services sit squarely in those categories?
- Are there any seasonal pressures on sales and service activities? How are the trends going now in those categories?
- Consider the level of sales for a client that would be considered above the ordinary level.
- Divide your clients into groups and zones. What zones and groups are the easiest to service?
- Review the financial data for each client and their sales activity over the last 2 years. How has that activity changed? What is expected to happen with that activity in the future?
- What are your competitors doing now and what pressures will they place on your market share and client base?
- What threats exist in your market currently and how will that flow through to your business base?
When you answer these questions you have the raw data to move ahead towards your Key Account Plan.
When you work in selling and customer service you must have the right mindset. This is even more so the case if your income depends on your sales.
Have you ever come across a salesperson that has an obvious problem of client commitment and attention? You know the type; they only help you if you ask and then they do so without a smile or willing gesture. You tend to remember these poor sales people and the bad experiences that they have given you. Do you go back to them? Do you refer others to them? Probably not. If you are like me, you will prefer to stay away; you may even be inclined to spread the word about the poor service and experience.
If you work in sales in any industry it is time to have a good look at the messages you send when you connect with and serve your clients. The right mindset and attitude are key parts of building your sales results and client database. Start the day with an ‘attitude boost’. Look in the bathroom mirror and smile. Tell yourself that today will be a great day and that you are committed to excellence in sales and service.
So I know we all have ‘bad days’ but don’t let that spread to your customers and clients. Take steps to improve your attitude and mindset to that of a professional salesperson. Treat people as you would like to be treated. Make the experience of doing business with you an absolute pleasure.
When it comes to sales team effectiveness and your results, your time is the most important resource that you have available. It sounds so simple and yet so many salespeople waste time. In an average group of 10 salespeople, only a few would have time optimised for the tasks at hand. It is common to see 50% of the working day being wasted.
If your salary or your commission is based on performance and outcomes, you simply cannot avoid the time management rules and controls. Everything that you do every day should be well considered.
Here are some rules to help you get your business and your activities under control:
- Set some goals for yourself. In this way you will know where you are headed and why. Make sure those goals are based on specific outcomes and time. Each week you can track your processes and adjust where necessary.
- Identify the 3 things that are critical to your business growth. Those things should be done every day to allow you to improve your market share and client outcomes.
- Control your telephone both in the office and on mobile. When people ring you they put other tasks and focus into your day. Preserve a period of 3 hours each day where you get key things done. During that time the message bank on your telephone can take messages.
- Tidy up your desk, car, and briefcase. Nothing is more off-putting than a desk area that is out of control. If you see the clutter you will feel that you are getting nowhere fast.
- Use a written diary to control your time in manageable chunks. Work in chunks of 2 hours. In this way you will get 4 or 5 things done each day.
- Use a system to get the basics and everyday things under control. This will normally be a computer and a database. Record the important things and get back to them later.
- Set priorities in your business and for you personally. Some things are more important than others and you are the best person to know what the priorities are.
- Audit your use of time so you can identify the weaknesses and remove them.
- Do the hard and difficult things done each day first up. In this way those issues are likely to be done. It is a known fact that most business people put the hard things off and wait until the very last minute to do the job.
- Exercise each day to give yourself some personal time. This will help you feel less stressed and remove some pressure from your life.
We tend to forget that we are the ones that are in control. Seek to get yourself under control and optimise your business outcomes. These rules will help you do that.