It is the start of 2020, a new year for your organization. You are just getting back from vacation, coming into a flurry of activity. Last year probably had some ups and downs, but you are ready for a new year. Last year saw a lot of issues with existing accounts. There has been competition with your top accounts, inconsistent customer experience, and growth within accounts has been negative to stagnant. Top that with your new (possibly unrealistic) number to reach, and it is going to be a tough start to 2020. You might be telling yourself,
Well, we can just get better at customer service, and that will fix everything with the customer.
That might help with retention, but as Gartner found in a 2018 survey of 750 B2B customer stakeholders, it has no statistical or meaningful impact on growth. It might be time to revisit how you handle accounts and what your Global Account Management (GAM) Strategy looks like. You might even have this in your 2020 plan as a big bet you are taking on. But with any update to an account management program, there comes significant risks and a high cost. Account Management can lead to increased costs, increased margins, and a general strain on the customer relationship unless implemented correctly.
Handling multi-national customers’ complex buying requirements and needs can be one of the most challenging things a corporation has to do. So the question is, how do you effectively launch a global accounts program in 2020 to grow revenues within existing accounts?
Here are some things to consider:
Be Thoughtful in How You Select Your Accounts That Should Be a Part of a GAM Program
Understanding accounts that make sense for a GAM is the first and most crucial step of the process. With the high cost and complexity of a GAM program, you need to determine if the program is going to be a win-win for both you and the client.
It comes down to the fundamental question, “Which accounts will benefit most from a GAM relationship and grow through more customized support?”
Things to consider:
- Does the size and revenue potential justify additional support?
- Does it provide a disproportional amount of your revenue/potential?
- Is the customer base globally spread out?
- Does the company have a structure that can integrate globally with yours?
- Can you gain a competitive advantage from a GAM plan with this account?
Download the GAM Account Selection Tool and answer a series of questions to determine if you have customers that would fit this profile.
Be Smart With How You Organize and Structure Resources to Support GAM
Supporting a global account management program takes a lot of hard work and coordination, both internally and externally with the client. As a Sales Leader, to implement this program with the client, you need a strong account manager who becomes the single point of contact globally for a big piece of your revenue. The GAM manager is accountable for the sales strategy, maintaining and growing the relationship, and collaborating across your business internally.
A global account team can be costly and risky if not done properly. It requires you to allocate additional, high-value resources towards an individual account. It also requires that the account has:
- Talent: A GAM selected account requires top talent. The client is expecting top of the line service and expertise on their account. The main point of contact is the quarterback that involves a team of A-players around them to support the whole GAM motion.
- Territory: Optimize sales territories of accounts based on the new structure put in place. An optimized territory for your GAM team will result in improved customer coverage, improved retention of your sales talent, and revenue growth.
- Coverage: Based on the prioritized accounts, there is adequate coverage of the account from sales resources globally. Your key resources need to be aligned to theirs to ensure success within the designated territories.
- Compensation: The high skill level required and the global complexity of the role need to factored into compensation. There needs to be enough stability through base pay while offering competitive variable pay, as this will be tied to the growth goals within the account.
Getting the right structure in place around a common global goal within an account can be challenging and time-consuming. But it is the foundation for making a GAM program successful both internally and externally with the customer.
Managing and Measurement Are Key to Success
An HBR study found that within a few years of the introduction of a GAM program, customer satisfaction improves 20% or more and increases profits and revenue by 15% or more in the account. A mature program (about 5 years old) can see this double (HBR). This program is both expensive and strategically important, so it’s imperative to have metrics that highlight the health of the program.
Your GAM program should have key metrics tied to the goals you have for the account. Metrics help both parties see the mutual benefits of the program, which helps to build trust further.
Your goal of this program might be to grow your wallet share within the account and improve the account experience. You might be looking at:
- What is the cross-sell/upsell revenue we are getting in this account?
- What kind of year over year growth are we seeing?
- How much money is the customer saving through better pricing, service, etc.?
- Qualitatively, what has been the feedback from our account on service?
As a Sales Leader, you are dealing with competition from every angle. You are looking for new ways to not only outmaneuver your rivals but provide a customer experience second to none. Your current situation might lead you down the path of a Global Account Management strategy. As you are getting started building the program out, remember the following:
- The accounts within a GAM program have to be a win-win for the customer and for the supplier. Make sure you are thoughtful in how you select and prioritize accounts using the GAM Account Selection Tool.
- Internally you have to have a foundation that is set to support this type of work. Organize and structure your resources for success through analysis of the talent, territory, coverage, and pay structure.
- Make sure there are metrics in place which provide a clear picture of the progress/success of the program.