12 min

20. Strategic account management is far more than sales planning or opportunity planning The Thoughts on Selling™ Podcast

    • Management

Senior sales leadership (and Wall Street analysts) talk a lot about strategic accounts. Of course, that’s where the money is, and more importantly that’s where the profit is. While your top tier of customers may generate 60 or 80% of your revenue, they will generate all of your company’s profits.

Strategic accounts spend more, they are customers longer, and make specific long-lasting platform, technology and relationship commitments.

But it takes work. You need expertise, process excellence and good platform support. For expertise, the Strategic Account Management Association is the source of truth. And ⁠ARPEDIO⁠ provides a great tech platform that fully supports these efforts, and account-based selling more broadly.

But…most strategic account initiatives are set up to fail. “Lone wolves” are promoted to SAM or KADs and they have no ability to manage teams or complex processes and workflows.

Another failing is that the planning process typically focuses on sales planning or opportunity planning rather than relationship planning and management.

Account based selling counts on the latter. And the ARPEDIO platform, for instance, has a specific set of resources to support relationship development and management.

Here are a few lessons learned along the way. Success requires the following:


Hiring SAMs with strong team management skills and providing an effective coaching environment
Building a comp plan that supports the multi year and perhaps global nature of the SAM activities, while also properly motivating pillar reps.
Developing programmatic analysis of customer financials, industry growth trends, key stakeholder profiles, installed base, competitive SOW and more…
Enrolling management of each portfolio sales organization in the process and creating a consistent set of rules of engagement
Developing a process for thoughtfully identifying the strategic opportunities and challenges within the customer organization
Implementing a technology platform like ARPEDIO to support the process, both for the team and to provide ongoing management visibility
Installing a team governance process to ensure success on an ongoing basis

To follow up, you can reach me on ⁠⁠⁠LinkedIn ⁠⁠or via the Acelera Group ⁠⁠website⁠⁠.

To provide feedback on this podcast or to suggest additional topics or guests, please visit The Thoughts On Selling™ podcast ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠website⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠.

I would appreciate your sharing this podcast with one or two coworkers or peers. And I would very much appreciate positive reviews on the Apple podcast site or wherever you get your podcasts. Positive reviews help others to find this podcast!

Thank you!

Lee Levitt

Senior sales leadership (and Wall Street analysts) talk a lot about strategic accounts. Of course, that’s where the money is, and more importantly that’s where the profit is. While your top tier of customers may generate 60 or 80% of your revenue, they will generate all of your company’s profits.

Strategic accounts spend more, they are customers longer, and make specific long-lasting platform, technology and relationship commitments.

But it takes work. You need expertise, process excellence and good platform support. For expertise, the Strategic Account Management Association is the source of truth. And ⁠ARPEDIO⁠ provides a great tech platform that fully supports these efforts, and account-based selling more broadly.

But…most strategic account initiatives are set up to fail. “Lone wolves” are promoted to SAM or KADs and they have no ability to manage teams or complex processes and workflows.

Another failing is that the planning process typically focuses on sales planning or opportunity planning rather than relationship planning and management.

Account based selling counts on the latter. And the ARPEDIO platform, for instance, has a specific set of resources to support relationship development and management.

Here are a few lessons learned along the way. Success requires the following:


Hiring SAMs with strong team management skills and providing an effective coaching environment
Building a comp plan that supports the multi year and perhaps global nature of the SAM activities, while also properly motivating pillar reps.
Developing programmatic analysis of customer financials, industry growth trends, key stakeholder profiles, installed base, competitive SOW and more…
Enrolling management of each portfolio sales organization in the process and creating a consistent set of rules of engagement
Developing a process for thoughtfully identifying the strategic opportunities and challenges within the customer organization
Implementing a technology platform like ARPEDIO to support the process, both for the team and to provide ongoing management visibility
Installing a team governance process to ensure success on an ongoing basis

To follow up, you can reach me on ⁠⁠⁠LinkedIn ⁠⁠or via the Acelera Group ⁠⁠website⁠⁠.

To provide feedback on this podcast or to suggest additional topics or guests, please visit The Thoughts On Selling™ podcast ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠website⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠.

I would appreciate your sharing this podcast with one or two coworkers or peers. And I would very much appreciate positive reviews on the Apple podcast site or wherever you get your podcasts. Positive reviews help others to find this podcast!

Thank you!

Lee Levitt

12 min