The relationship you form and maintain with decision-makers in your key accounts is what makes or breaks those key accounts over time. When you oversee a plethora of key and strategic accounts, however, it's crucial to have a system in place for knowing those decision-makers' roles, preferences, and pain points.
This planning puts you and your team on the fast track to better sales. According to account management extraordinaire Nigel Green:
The fastest path to hyper-growth is to exponentially increase the sales within your top accounts. Strategic account planning simplifies the process and ensures you keep your company's most important asset: happy customers.
So make planning and recordkeeping your focus. You can't just keep track and hope for the best, especially when you're onboarding new salespeople and account managers. Learn more about what strategic account mapping is, how you can build standard processes for account mapping, and the strategic advantages it provides.
What Is Strategic Account Mapping?
Whenever you approach a strategic account, organization is the priority. You and your team need to know the key players, the organization's main pain points, and current action plans, all at a glance.
Strategic account mapping focuses on that first step: identifying the key players, contacts, and decision-makers within the account's organization.
Knowing who to reach out to for maintaining a relationship, making decisions, and confirming critical service details is part of excellent account management. You can streamline services implementation with fewer delays and frustration points. You can also keep your brand top-of-mind by cultivating a good social and business relationship with the right partners on the client's side of operations.
But strategic account mapping isn't a one-and-done process you can check off your to-do list at the beginning of the relationship. Instead, this portion of the client profile should constantly be revised, assessed, and made stronger with new details.
Maybe the original point-of-contact has left the business or is on vacation. New decision-makers can become vital contacts as you offer more and more services over the years. Not only do you need to know who is making decisions, but you need to know who makes what decisions.
We recommend updating your account mapping profiles frequently, including these specific occasions:
- At least once annually, by auditing the omnichannel communications over the course of the past year
- Before negotiations and contract renewal periods
- Before major implementation projects
- Before outreach initiatives
Focusing proactively on account mapping instead of just reaching out to old contacts helps everyone start new conversations on the right page and ensures no one on the client's side of the account feels ignored or worked around. Good outreach to the right contacts also makes your organization more present in their day-to-day operations!
How to Build an Account Map
Your account map will look like a combination of a standard org chart and buyer personas or client profiles. It should contain both the basic organization of the client and more detailed notes about interactions and preferred points of contact.
Follow these basic steps to get started:
- Identify the C-level executives and the directors or upper-level department heads positioned below them. You should have at least one point of contact for each business function, such as services, operations, finance, sales, and HR.
- Continue to identify leadership roles and managers in the departments you primarily serve. While you don't have to identify every member of the organization, create enough detail so you have every established point of contact on the map, as well as their managers or supervisors in each successive tier.
- Incorporate notes about the roles and areas of focus in relation to your organization and the account. For example, a paralegal may be the main point of contact for your contract management software, but her manager may be the one who has to sign off on major purchase decisions. These notes tell you where to start the conversation, but they also identify slowdowns or roadblocks so you're not surprised during a busy renewals season.
- Over time, note down details about their interests, decision-making styles, and preferred methods of communication. This is essential as you maintain contact with more people or manage multiple accounts. This information also allows others to take over the account or fill in without interrupting the client's experience.
You can find a lot of the basic information via the company website, by browsing LinkedIn, and by noting down new details from email signatures. Also, you may collect critical details during introductory calls and video conferences as you all get to know each other.
Careful note-taking at the start of a client relationship can speed up your account mapping process.
Other more personalized details should be added over time after every interaction. Your marketing and customer service teams might also have regularly launched surveys. If so, you may gain new insights that you wouldn't have discovered during face-to-face interactions; incorporate the data into the contact profiles.
Account Mapping and Sales
Account mapping is crucial for every revenue role. Marketers need to know who to target with promotions and upsell opportunities; customer service teams need to know how tickets fit into the bigger picture of the account. But sales teams benefit most of all.
Your account managers can use the account map to quickly build personalized business relationships with key decision-makers and buyers. Knowing who to contact, what their priorities are, and what decisions they can make allows salespeople to create targeted offers without it being either too generic or a poor fit. This results in increased upsells and renewals.
Putting time and effort into cultivating good relationships also helps clients enjoy your interactions and feel like your company is actively invested in creating excellent experiences for them. This is the best way to get referrals and more business.
Supercharge Your Strategic Account Mapping With Kapta
Sales are about relationships, and your team can't create those relationships without knowing who they're talking to and what those contacts care about. With proper key account management software, you can make strategic account mapping faster, more intuitive, and more consistent across all of your accounts.
Not only does this make your business processes more cohesive, it means you can better monitor account health and build strong relationships without starting from scratch each time.
At Kapta, we design and develop key account management software that is built to help your salespeople succeed at building stronger client relationships. Contact us today to learn more about our KAM software or browse our blog for more business insights.