The old adage states that sales is just a numbers game. Call or visit enough people and sales will just magically appear. The best sales training companies know that idea is simply untrue and that account development is the real crux of any sales effort.
Account development yields a relationship with a client that lasts over the years through good times and bad. The best salespeople position themselves as experts in their business and they are considered the “go to” person whenever their clients have a need. Account development need not be complicated nor difficult. It does, however, require the consideration and implementation of four basic steps: Market Analysis, Strategy Development, Customer Presentation and Ongoing Evaluation.
Understanding one’s market is essential for any sales effort. Thorough data collection yields such information as current business trends, key accounts in the area, the associated decision makers and the presence of the competition. A proper amount of time and effort must be dedicated by the entire sales force to identifying the most promising and lucrative business targets. It is the basis for the rest of the program.
Critical thinking about the collected data is the heart of strategy development. At a minimum, it will incorporate customer needs, company objectives and the strengths and weaknesses of the competitions product. The best sales training companies develop a unique “account profile” for each client and then develop a sub strategy for each. Obviously, much work goes into this stage of the process but the results are well worth the effort.
At this stage, true account development begins. Building a rapport and a reputation as an expert are the key ingredients to succeeding here. While you may not have the best solution today, an ability to find solutions from you or a competitor will differentiate you in the mind of your client. In the simplest terms, it is a long term strategy that seeks to build a relationship with the client. Even when successful, the best sales people continue developing this stage and are thus better prepared for the next request from their clients.
The final stage is always going to be completed by someone. The key is to engage the entire sales staff. This is important as every person has a unique perspective on the sales project. Be sure that any new goals are specific, measurable and realistic. Nothing disrupts a successful sales force as ambiguous and ill set goals. The best sales training companies understand this fact and will strive to ingrain it in your sales force.
Stephen Craig is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow him @SCraigSEO.