Print Friendly, PDF & Email

                      For more B2B Account Planning Tips, Click Here to Subscribe to Two-Bullet-Tuesday

“It is not enough to do your best. You must know what to do, then do your best.”
– W. Edwards Deming

B2B Account Planning Tips:
Our experience shows that the majority of Account Manager relationships are limited to a single or a few individuals within the account.

Not surprisingly, most organizations that adopt a formal account planning process create strategies or initiatives to establish new relationships, particularly with the more senior contacts.

Identifying and cultivating new relationships within an account should be straight forward. Still, most account managers create a mental obstacle that leveraging existing relationships may cause injury to the relationship. Requesting access or an introduction to a person’s boss or colleague requires a bit of finesse, but executed correctly can yield significant results.

Understandably, people can be sensitive when it comes to their boss or colleagues, and the request could raise eyebrows.  

B2B Account Planning Tips:

Consider that your request to meet your contact’s boss or colleague might negatively imply:

• That you believe they lack authority, which might be interpreted as an insult.

• It raises the possibility that you might be trying to go around them to remove them from the decision-making process, thus reducing their authority.

• Such a request puts your contact in the position of recommending you to their boss or colleague and implicitly endorsing your company and agenda. If you don’t handle the new relationship well, it will reflect poorly on your contact. 

B2B Account Planning Tips:
Now that we are clear on what we don’t want to imply, we should craft and an approach that benefits the contact or lessens their risk of helping you. Your approach to engage new contacts starts with a bit of homework:

B2B Account Planning Tips:

Homework To Engage New Contacts Within An Account:


1. Build A Relationship Map

Either as part of an Account Plan or a stand-alone effort, build a map (org chart) of your existing contacts and others you desire to engage. Then apply attributes to these individuals to segment who is a friend or foe and how they might influence your growth and retention efforts.

2. Mine Your Internal Systems

In addition to your CRM, billing and order/contract management systems contain contact information that may help identify individuals to add to the relationship map.

3. Block Time For Desk Research

Manually search for contacts from sources such as LinkedIn, the company website, industry forums, and social media channels. Web searches using Boolean queries of company name and titles (e.g., VP, CXO) can provide articles that mention, or quote company contacts can be added to the relationship map.

4. Block Time For Deeper LinkedIn Research

Once you’ve identified additional potential contacts from previous steps to add to your relation map, you should then utilize LinkedIn’s capabilities to identify 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level connections of the contacts you wish to engage. In addition to individuals within your own network, regularly you’ll find individuals within your company that are connected to persons you need to engage. Prioritize connections to approach for support and add them to the relationship map as well.

5. Develop Contact Engagement Options

There is more than one way to cook an egg, and there are at least as many contact engagement options. The options that best apply to your account depend on factors such as your tenure with the account, the length of time they’ve been a customer, which contacts you need to engage with, and the overall relationship status between your firm and theirs, to name a few. My next post will be dedicated solely to this topic. 

6. Enlist others to help

Improving your chances of succeeding with new contact engagement depends on your ability to identify, prioritize, and mobilize other individuals (internal and external) to help you. Enlisting senior leaders from your company, suppliers, consultants, and personal relationships increases the number of options you can consider. Doing this well can reduce the risk of injury to your current contact relationships.


The”homework” outlined above is the essential element for preparing engagement options. My next post provides an in-depth approach on how to develop contact engagement options. 

Click Here to Read Part Two

 

                    For more B2B Account Planning Tips, Click Here to Subscribe to Two-Bullet-Tuesday

X

California

CONTACT US

X

Mexico

CONTACT US

X

Texas

CONTACT US

X

Florida

CONTACT US

X

Washington

CONTACT US

X

New York

CONTACT US

X

Brazil

CONTACT US

X

Spain

CONTACT US

X

United Kingdom

CONTACT US

X

Germany

CONTACT US

X

Singapore

CONTACT US

X

Japan

CONTACT US

X

New Zealand

CONTACT US