The average sales person typically spends their career wondering why they haven’t gotten certain promotions, why their salary is low, why their boss does not see value in them and some other non pleasantries of the sales world. Don’t get me wrong, on the surface, these salesmen / saleswomen are nice people and are pleasant to deal with. However, that is only on the surface; you only get a glimpse of the real professional after the contract is signed. What the mediocre sales professional fails to do is to think long term; this is their indisputable number one blockade to account management success.
Instead, they are comparable to the Mike Tysons of sales and account management. They want one knockout punch; then they want the fight to be over. Well, this method worked well for Tyson until he met Buster Douglas, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Danny Williams and Kevin McBride.
Comparative to that of Mike Tyson, the mediocre sales representatives and account managers make a sale and following the obtainment of the commission check, they vanish on the customer. Owning my own company, I can easily relate to this as we have had our fair share of poor vendors whom we paid a lot to only to see mediocre results. On the surface, they were great people and instilled confidence in you (though, I always am too trusting), then once the check cleared, they become unresponsive and gave us the perception that they no longer cared.
Now, the “vanishing act” as I refer to it will never make a sales person successful. The first reason why is that they will cease to obtain any repeat business or recommendations. These days, cold-calling is nearly dead and industry contacts are king. Companies are willing to pay premium compensation packages for those sales people who come equipped with a solid, industry pertinent book of business and a good reputation. Moreover, these types of sales representatives are more prone from hoping from industry to industry and, thus lowering their value on the open job market.
I would not disagree that account management can be tricky as you have to juggle new business acquisition while maintaining current accounts. Also, most companies, unless you are very high-up in the organization, do not provide you with a dedicated account manager / administrative representative. Therefore, you have to be exceedingly organized. Now, some people favor a CRM system (customer relationship management software) while others are quite old-school and prefer a pad of paper and a pen. Although I am still relatively young, I opted not to by a CRM system for our office as I find them to be too formal and if the sales representatives are truly working as a team, a basic software is not going to make a difference either way.
While new business acquisition will pay the bills and is extremely important, as an account executive, you must be aware that people have certain expectations after purchasing a product. Though, the good aspect of some clients is that they will set forth clear account management expectations following their purchase. Knowing the client’s goals for after purchase management will allow you to meet them and if you do, you will reap the benefits. You may not see increased business today or even tomorrow. Regardless, practice good account management enough and you will work your way up the sales ladder and be where you strive to be professionally.