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Beyond the Sale: Effective Account Management

While sales professionals excel at closing deals, account managers must cultivate and maintain customer relationships to maximize their value over time.

Account management requires both a different skill set, and mindset – this is where training becomes essential.

Butler Street Research surveyed 676 account managers regarding their confidence and performance of key skills. We asked respondents to rate themselves on how often they have a clear understanding of their client’s strategic initiatives, as well as a rating of how often they are recommending innovative or problem-solving ideas. Almost half of sales reps felt they were always recommending innovative solutions, while 20% felt they always had a clear understanding of their client’s initiatives.

How can you add value when the customer’s strategy is not understood?

Account Managers must not only understand the buyer personas they work with but also be great at active listening and asking effective questions to help uncover clients’ strategic initiatives. Only at this point can you truly recommend innovative and valuable solutions.

Additional areas and skills essential for effective account management were rated. Here is how they responded to the research pre-training:

1. Clear understanding of my own company’s strategic initiatives

About 1 in 5 salespeople rated themselves as sometimes, rarely, or never having an understanding of their own company’s strategic initiatives. Salespeople and account managers will not be able to build trust and validate their differentiators if they do not clearly understand their own organization’s goals.

2. Regularly call on 3 or more people within the same account

More than half of respondents stated they never, rarely, or only sometimes call on 3 or more people within the same account.

  • Creating a minimum of 3 x 3 relationships within an organization is crucial to reducing client risk as well as increasing the ability to cross-sell your services.

38% of respondents said they never, rarely, or sometimes had a strong relationship with the level above the one they work with.

  • The #1 client risk factor is a change in a key decision maker. It is imperative to build relationships not only with the person you work with on a daily basis but also with multiple levels within the organization.

3. Area of responsibility within client is collaborative with my company, not just with me

1 in 4 respondents stated the area of responsibility is never, rarely, or sometimes collaborative with the company as a whole.

  • A single salesperson alone is no longer enough to retain and sell to an existing client. Part of standing out from the competition is the partnership built between one organization and another – through this collaboration, the customer’s active role in the sales process is recognized, and the company can collaborate to find the right solution for them.

4. Can detect when my/our company relationship may be at risk

80% of clients changed vendors, even when they rated their vendors as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. This goes beyond a perception of the relationship – it must be evaluated quantitatively, as well.

  • Leverage NPS and Voice of the Customer surveys to benchmark and monitor relationships over time!

5. Know what actions to take when my/our company relationship may be at risk

Salespeople responded they knew how to detect when a relationship is at risk, but

  • Butler Street has found throughout our training programs, they do not know what actions to take. Butler Street can teach how to both detect risk, as well as what actions to take when the relationship is in peril.

Ensure your account managers and sales professionals have the knowledge and tools necessary to succeed in this vital role. Trained account managers are better equipped to understand customer needs, identify opportunities for growth, cross-sell, and provide exceptional customer experiences. These skills drive customer loyalty, increase customer lifetime value, and ultimately achieve sustainable revenue growth.

Struggling to achieve the list above? You’re not alone and we can help. Our account management programs strengthen skills needed at every level, from key account managers to client services. Learn how to stay up-to-date with industry trends, understand evolving customer expectations, and align new strategies for success. Ensure account managers are equipped to adapt to changing circumstances and consistently deliver exceptional results. Contact us to learn more and visit for our self-paced, online learning programs.


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