An Executive Briefing by Ian Savage, Exclusively for RENetworks (http://renetworks.intronetworks.com/) Members
Organizations are increasingly deploying “Account Managers” at the customer/vendor boundary. Research studies have shown that, even with a huge increase in the number of account managers, a majority of companies are still reporting ineffectiveness in building relationships with their strategic customers.
The rise in focus in the account management discipline is being fueled, in part, by the growth of shared service functions within organizations. Information Technology departments are an excellent example. These functions are deploying account managers to increase levels of customer intimacy, to gain mindshare with their internal business clients and to stave off external competition. But are these professionals being adequately equipped to manage their business client “accounts”?
Traditional sales organizations are also discovering that the path to sustainable growth in their existing accounts cannot be realized easily, in spite of the almost maniacal transactional focus many have exhibited since the turn of the millennium. But are these professionals really behaving differently to any other sales professional the organization may have?
Regardless of which boundary is the focus, a good account manager must manage both internal and external stakeholders with the same level of professionalism. The time to look beyond the latest deal or project has arrived and Account Management initiatives are growing as a consequence.
Ian Savage is a Sales Effectiveness Consultant and Principal of The Nour Group, an Atlanta-based strategic advisory firm focused on developing the “art” and “science” of building long-term, value-based relationships.
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