Before you encourage your employees to achieve higher sales performance, it is advisable to check whether the strategic conditions for this have actually been created. With strategic sales alignment, you have a powerful lever for your sales success.
Strategic sales management begins with the definition of target customer segments and the creation of target-customer-oriented product ranges, which are the result of a market-oriented product management and a consequent product development. However, professional sales management is also a relevant topic.
However, it also relates to developments in connection with specific customers and in the competitive environment. Depending on your business model, you may have a few selected customers who contribute significantly to sales, or a large number of customers with whom you generate lower sales in each case.
The high-revenue customers are the customers that are currently relevant and deserve attention. In addition to the high-turnover customers, however, there may also be high-potential companies with whom you have generated little or no sales to date. Identifying these high-potential customers and defining them as key accounts is an important strategic sales task that is often not recognized.
Key accounts can and should be managed differently than customers with lower demand in the field. The more you know about “your” key accounts, the more successful this will be. How are your key accounts strategically positioned in the market? What sales do your key accounts make with products that are relevant to you as a supplier? How large is the purchasing potential of your key accounts that is relevant to you? What share do you already supply? Who are the customers of your key accounts in these submarkets relevant to you? What special features do these customers of your key accounts expect? Who are the competitors of your key accounts? How do your key accounts differentiate themselves from their competitors? What changes are your key accounts facing? What topics do the managers of your key accounts talk about? What challenges do they perceive? What does this mean for your key accounts’ procurement? What do your key accounts place the most value on? Where are they buying from today? What can your competitors do better than you? What can you do better than your competitors? Which advantages relevant for your key accounts should you develop in comparison with your competitors?
Expect your account managers to be able to answer these questions for each of their key accounts and to bring action-oriented advice as well as suggestions into your organization.
From this strategic information, sales priorities and projects can be derived to develop appropriate products with a strategic fit to your key accounts. From a strategic sales perspective, it is irrelevant whether all products are produced in-house or bought in. What matters is that you have an attractive offering that meets the expectations of your key accounts. To this end, you should also make ?make-or-buy? decisions.