Finding selling opportunities is like searching for gold. The only thing worse than losing to the competition is not knowing there was anything to fight over in the first place. You won’t win every time, but you need to be able to see the opportunities that exist and get in the game before you fall behind all your competitors. Missing opportunities to sell to existing customers will put you behind and may lead to you being replaced as a strategic partner.
Where KAMs Find Opportunities
Sales opportunities come in two places: internally with existing customers and externally from new prospects. Upselling and cross-selling are part of the internal selling process, but for that to work you first have to find the right opportunities.
KAMs are not salespeople in the traditional sense. But, as a KAM, you do still need sales opportunities to succeed. While you may not be trying to sell to new prospects, you do need to increase sales with your existing key account customers. It’s harder to spot upselling or cross-selling opportunities, especially when you’re more focused on building a strong partnership with the client.
For KAMs, the time leading up to a sale is long and complex. Lead times are not short like they can be with new prospects, and the selling process doesn’t end with the first purchase. The bulk of being a KAM is nurturing your key account customer relationships and creating enough value for them to increase their accounts with you. To make the best decisions for your accounts, you need to see the internal sales opportunities as they come. Without see the opportunities, you’ll have a tough time selling.
Missed Internal Sales Opportunities
What happens when you completely miss an opportunity to sell? Failing to sell happens to everyone, but what about the times when you never even knew there was an opportunity for a sale? This is a sign of a problem in your strategy that needs to be fixed immediately.
Missing opportunities is very disheartening. Instead of spending too much time mulling over it, you need to look into what went wrong so you can prevent it from happening again. When something comes out of nowhere and you had no idea about it ahead of time, it means you have blind spots in your operation that you need to address as soon as possible.
If you were part of the decision process, with a “seat at the table”, you would have known about the opportunity before it passed you by. Because you didn’t know about it at all, you need to figure out why and start working on proactive solutions to keep from being surprised again.
Surprises shouldn’t happen when you’re taking a strategic approach to internal sales. You should see what’s coming ahead of time and be prepared for it early. When you’re strategic about seeking out internal sales opportunities, you’re less likely to miss out on something important.
Strategies to Prevent Missed Opportunities
How do you become more strategic about seeking out internal sales opportunities? You need to take proactive steps to make sure you’re getting all the right information at the right time and acting on it properly. There are a few strategic actions you can be doing to accomplish this:
- Make the first move
Don’t wait for your customers to come to you. Always be willing to make the first move and take the conversation to them. Your customers are not going to work hard to prove that you’re a valuable addition to their supply chain. You have to put in the effort to reach out to your customers and demonstrate your value to them.
Keep your partnership in the forefront by giving updates about progress and milestones reached, sharing ideas with your customers, and keeping open lines of communication. If you want a seat at the table to be part of the decision-making process, you have to show that you’re invested in your customers and that you’re going to work for their benefit. For your customers to see that, you have to put in the work proactively.
- Write down your strategy and share it
Every key account should have a unique account plan that lays out goals, strategies, and progress markers for each customer partnership. These plans are very important because they’ll help you to keep each other accountable for progress while also giving a clear way forward that involves you working together with the customer.
Writing down your account plans and reviewing them with customers is going to demonstrate your commitment to their success as well as showing that you are well prepared for the future. Account plans are not static documents. They change as necessary and should be updated often to record changes in environment, progress, industry trends, new data, etc. Customers should be kept in touch with what’s changed and how things are going with the plan.
- Follow through with the customer
It’s not enough to reach out and make the first move with your customers, or to write down what is supposed to be happening. If you want to be part of the decision-making process, you need to be part of the whole process, not just there for the beginning. Customers are going to be more willing to let you into the inner circle if you show that you won’t just set goals, but you’ll also follow through with what you’ve said you would do.
Follow through is a crucial part of showing your value to customers. Anyone can make a strong plan that looks great. Not everyone is able to push it through and make it work. This part of being a KAM requires a lot of effort to make sure you’re staying on top of what needs to be done and getting it done on time. Show your customers that you’re committed to the long-term by consistently doing everything you say you’re going to do without having to be reminded by the customer.
- Refresh your VOC
Part of the issue you may be having with your customers is that you don’t know them as well as you think you do. The Voice of Customer (VOC) survey process can help you get accurate profile information about your customers so you can make the right strategic moves. If you don’t have your basic customer profile right, it’ll be harder for you to do anything for your customer.
Take time to review your VOC and go over it again with your customers to make sure you have it right. Make sure you include their goals as one of the central parts of the VOC, because you need to know what your customer really wants to accomplish if you intend to help them reach it. Get to the bottom of their goals and try to understand them completely, or you may start moving forward in the wrong direction.
When you’re doing the VOC, look for unsolved pain points. These unsolved pain points can sometimes become opportunities for you to go further with that customer if you can address them. If there’s nothing you can do about it right away, keep these things in your field of vision so they turn into missed opportunities in the future.
Blind spots in your existing customer relationships can make it difficult for you to get ahead of what they need and see the opportunities before it’s too late. You need to start implementing proactive strategies that help you get ahead of the curve and avoid missing opportunities again.
Different tools can be used to help you make sure you’re not missing anything important. Using a key account management software like Kapta can make it easier to keep all your data in one place and get the right information at the right time. Data management and easy, organized access is essential for KAMs to stay on track with each separate key account customer. Try Kapta today with a free demo of our KAM-centered software.