Should You Focus on Account Management or Business Development?
Most sales teams do great at servicing existing business and reacting to new opportunities that come their way. They smother their clients with attention, and hand hold their projects through production. The clients love it, and often reward them with continued business. When we talk with owners and sales managers, they appreciate what their team is doing but they still want and need more sales to fill their capacity. Talk to the sales reps and they’ll say their time is consumed with existing client work. Ok, so what to do?
If this is your situation and you’re continually meeting or exceeding your goals, congratulations. If this is your situation and while you are “busy,” but not reaching your personal or company targets, maybe there needs to be a different strategy.
As written in, Why You Need To Re-Think Your Sales Approach:
What I see in too many cases is that the sales team spends so much time in keeping the customers, sometimes referred to as account management, that they have little time, or interest in getting customers. Maybe it’s different in your company, but that’s what I see a lot. So what happens is that new business, or the job of getting customers, is not very effective, is not done on purpose, and companies don’t grow as they should and sales reps turn into desk jockeys or “CSR’s with cars.”
As I mentioned earlier, sales success can be accomplished by doing three things. Who’s playing the “getting new customers” role at your company and is it as effective as it should or could be?
The root cause of this situation can be varied. On a spectrum, it can range from sales and/or company complacency to having too many internal production hurdles. Sometimes these issues are real, and sometimes perceived. Either way, there isn’t a proactive effort to “get new customers” into the fold.
The sales model most companies have has been in existence forever. The sales rep is charged with finding business and managing the business throughout the relationship. Even with help from capable CSR’s, most reps reach a saturation point. For some, their peak is defined by the amount of jobs going on at any one time. For others, it’s defined by making just enough money. Once that peak is reached, most of the proactive business development effort hits a pause. I know, this doesn’t happen in your company, but it does happen.
If a company wants to have a pipeline full of new opportunities, as well as take good care of their existing work, here are a few options to consider:
- Find and hire more sales reps and continue your existing cycle;
- Identify an existing rep(s) who are wired to develop new opportunities and let them focus on finding new customers. Support them with a great CSR team who can nurture and support the customers. The reps can still be involved in account strategy and higher level communications, but are purposely left out of the day-to-day transactions;
- Build a business development team to find new opportunities for your sales reps. Let this team do the leg work and focus on “teeing-up” conversations with willing prospects for the sales reps. This can be done with your own internal team or outsourced. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
I’ll repeat, if what you are currently doing is making you happy, keep it going. If you are not where you need to be, try something different. Not reaching your goals and doing nothing about it is not a good long-term option.
Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEO’s in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic direction, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at [email protected].