This is the first in a series of Mining Existing Accounts blogs that are written for sales and account managers aiming to regain access to or re-energise their key customer relationships. I will discuss in detail three indicators of key account health, and challenge the selling behaviours that lead to undue focus being placed on new relationships versus extracting value from existing ones.
Sales people love winning new customers; they like the thrill of the chase, love the buzz of beating the competition and the excitement they get from creating value in a new relationship. But whilst new relationships shine brightly, in their hearts they also know that when it comes to finding new business, the richest seams of opportunity can often be found when mining their existing customer accounts.
So whenever I work with a new organisation in a sales or account management capacity, one of the first things I do is rigorously analyse the existing customer account base looking for patterns in buyer behaviour, and for differences between the ‘best’, ‘worst’ and ‘average’ customers against three specific criteria:-
- Recency of purchases; when a customer last bought from the business
- Frequency of purchases; how often they buy
- Value of purchases made
For example, understanding why some customers have bought less frequently or no longer purchase from your business will almost certainly lead to the identification of untapped and new opportunities to access or re-energise a business relationship. Maximising the value secured from existing relationships is an objective the whole enterprise needs to get behind, and I have found time and again sales and account management organisations benefitting from going ‘into reverse gear’ in respect of some still high potential relationships.
And you can repeat this exercise periodically e.g. annually, quarterly or even more frequently depending on the length of your sales cycle.
In the blogs that follow I ask a series of simple questions relating to each of these three indicators of account health, all of which can help the selling organisation uncover fresh business opportunities and provide sales leaders with the confidence that mining their key customer relationships can still gererate a steady supply of golden nuggets.
By Robin Mar