Major accounts are not just big little accounts – they’re fundamentally different than territorial accounts. From the customers’ perspective market demands, competition, and government regulations are continuously shifting. Because the status quo is short lived, how customers buy, what they buy, and what they are willing to pay for it are all constantly changing. Hence, how salespeople sell to major accounts must be different as well.
Major accounts selling focuses on more than selling product
Salespeople who sell into major accounts move beyond selling the basics of their products or services and incorporate the value-added services that lead to higher profitability, greater value to the customer and a stronger competitive position.
The top performing salespeople are also selling expertise. Today, customers expect salespeople to do more than simply provide product. They expect help on how to develop a new perspective on their challenges and issues and they expect the account executive to have insight and a point of view about how they can achieve their future.
Major accounts selling requires business development teams
In major accounts the sales person is only one member of the business development team. Major account salespeople not only sell, they also manage the account.
In the selling role, they identifying opportunities, initiating new relationships, and growing existing business. They also managing the account: providing a single point of contact for the customer, ensuring the product or service is successfully implemented successfully and being an ambassador for senior level staff in their organization.
This means that major accounts salespeople must be knowledgeable about and able to leverage the total resources of their organization. Depending upon the industry, team members may be drawn from manufacturing, service, information technology, and/or corporate.
So, for example, a major account salesperson selling a supply chain solution to a Fortune 1000 company likely will pull together a team comprised of experts in supply chain management, IT, and even in the company’s business – in order to craft a supply chain solution that best meets the company’s goals.
Major accounts selling focuses on multiple buyers
The buying process in major accounts is significantly different, too. In major accounts, the sale is no longer to one or two individuals inside an account. Rather, there are multiple representatives involved in the purchase, such as
- Corporate authorizing funding
- Users of the product or service
- IT when the product or service requires technology support
- Materials management who may negotiate the formal buying process
For example, a large hospital system looking to purchase expensive equipment will involve physicians, nurses, and other clinicians to get the users perspective, materials management to negotiate the price, terms, and conditions, and the C-suite to shape and approve the expenditure. In some situations the IT department will be involved, as well as, other groups that are specific to the purchasing environment – like risk management.
These disparate buyers in the purchasing process will require one-to-one selling, presentations, committee sessions (e.g., Value Added Committee, New Product Committee), as well as, on-site evaluations.
Major accounts selling – what’s different today?
Relying strictly on relationship selling for successful no longer wins the day in major account sales. Today major account salespeople must be business-savvy sales consultants who have developed superior sales skills, have a comprehensive knowledge of their customer’s business and the knowledge and political acumen to leverage and orchestrate internal company resources – to both close new business and grow existing business.
To dive deeper into specific skills and competencies deployed by successful, major account salespeople you can download this free ebook and mobile app – Mastering Major Account Selling.
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