Wednesday, March 28, 2012 | By: Matt Micou
We asked this question to presenters at our upcoming 2012 Annual Conference, and the answers were surprising. While many answers revolved around the importance of new technology, many talked about how that technology enables SAMs to develop a deeper understanding of their customers' needs, build trust and speed up communication.
What do you think?
Stephen D. Smith, Associate Director, Global OCEO Client Program, Global Clients & Industries, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited:
Internally, technology has had a significant impact on how global accounts are managed and run. This includes integrated CRM, as well as leveraging social media technologies to ensure consistent and efficient communications. Externally, our clients demand more customized insights and points of view related to their business – which ultimately alters the way our GAM program operates.
Dennis Raffa, National Account Sales Manager, Marketing, CHEP:
Technology has increased in the past couple of years which has led to great innovations. One tool that comes to mind is Google Docs or MS SharePoint. This allows not only managers to share data internally within their organization but it also allows the sharing of data between organizations. I have personally seen this as an advantage I can offer a customer over my competition. It also helps to improve on any trust issues a customer might have with your organization.
Rosemary Heneghan, Director, International Sales & Operations, Worldwide, IBM:
There is a focus on providing value, moving to make our clients more competitive and successful. Companies are moving up the value chain to survive, and you need SAM to do this and understand your clients’ priorities.
Cam Hyde, Senior Vice President and Corporate Officer, Global Account Operations, Xerox:
This may not be news to some but the leveraging of web/cloud based sales management automation tools is a very positive breakthrough in strategic account management. The ability to have everyone connected and leveraging the same strategy and information and the ability to share up-to-the-minute account feedback on a global basis makes this a highly productive tool for managing the account and being aware of critical activities. Some will say that this is not innovative, but the question I would ask is to what extent are you actually using the full capabilities of your system? What level of participation is each team member using it? Is everyone providing their post call data and call summary to contribute to the business intelligence for the team?
Jim Melillo, President, Executive Conversation:
For starters, less reliance on gut instinct to drive account planning! On a serious note, from my perspective as a CXO, it would be creating a business filter to validate customer drivers in order to position account plan outputs for successful implementation. Think about it, if your account doesn't see its business relevance, does it belong in your account plan? When account plans are built around the right ingredients, everyone stands to win: Your account, your company and your personal ROI.
Mario Rieth, Head of Global Account Office, Avaya:
Education and programs focused on global/strategic account management but also the utilization of unified communication tool (e.g. Video).
Sandra Paret, Senior Vice President, HOK Architects:
Interesting innovations occur around technology, enabling speed of delivery and increasing accuracy. An additional innovation is the emphasis on training those involved in a SAM program, starting to define a career path that is not necessarily traditional in that particular industry.
Steve Andersen, President and Founder, Performance Methods, Inc.:
Interesting question – Our clients are becoming more strategic through innovation with their customers, and this spans a number of different areas of practice. We see SAM innovation in how companies are developing and sustaining strategic relationships, in how they organize and deploy account teams and resources, in the approaches that they take to sharing knowledge, expertise and best practices with customers, in the ways in which they create and co-create value with strategic customers, and in the collaborative engagement of their customers in the account planning process.
Karen C. Teitelbaum, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, Sinai Health System:
Having the strategic account manager “walk in the shoes” goes a long way for customers. If an account manager spends time in the business, shadowing the key account personnel, gaining an understanding of the priorities and concerns, the solutions offered will be so much more relevant. It’s time well invested and not frequently done, which makes it all the more impressive when done right.
Gary Cokins, Enterprise Performance Management Specialist, SAS Institute Inc.:
Information technology is allowing better and faster coordination among sales teams regardless of their global location. Senior sales managers can much better monitor and assess sales pipelines. In addition, expanding incentives from not just sales volume, but also to a “blend” of customer sales and profit incentives. It is no longer just growing sales, but rather growing profitable sales.
Tags: SAM Theory