The most successful account managers are relationship builders!

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Top B2B commercial executives: “The most successful account managers are relationship builders with a well-structured approach to managing their accounts.”

(Source: Sales Guard’s B2B Commercial Executive Survey 2016/2017)


“High performing account managers are relationship builders...”
When asked to characterize their company’s best performing account managers, commercial executives at large Scandinavian corporations say, that the ability and will to build strong relations with key customers is the single most important characteristic of these high performing account managers. By spending the majority of their time with customers in order to get close to each individual decision maker, these account managers are able to identify the customer’s unfulfilled needs and critical pains – and to tailor solutions and offerings accordingly at the early stages of the decision making process.

Moreover, a well-structured approach to managing each key account as well as the ability to prioritize their own resources also distinguish high performers from the rest. This enables the account manager to spend time on the most promising business opportunities and to target those key decision makers who have been identified in advance. Very often these abilities are combined with a strong will to follow-up on planned activities.

Other executives say that high performing account managers are those who have a strong personal drive and are passionate about their job. These account managers have a big appetite for closing deals and they fully understand and accept the need for meeting sales budgets.

Chart 1: Consider the company’s best performing account managers – what is it that distinguishes these account managers from the rest?

Note: The sum of percentages may exceed 100 as it is possible to give more than one answer to the question.


Commercial executives on what it is that distinguishes top performing account managers from others:


“..whereas other account managers should be closely managed through personal coaching and ongoing dialogue.”
When asked how to ensure that account managers spend their time on the things that management wants them to address, commercial executives say that this takes intensive coaching allied with having a close relationship with each individual account manager. Furthermore, it is necessary to continuously follow-up on planned activities to make sure that account managers stay focused.

Other executives point to the fact that CRM- or sales systems are standout methods in organizing both the planning and prioritization of sales activities as well as follow-up processes. If these systems are combined with KPI’s and maybe a corresponding bonus system, it enables management to monitor the performance of all of their account managers and to motivate each individual account manager in meeting his or her sales goals.


Chart 2: How do you ensure that account managers spend their time on the things that you want them to address?

Note: The sum of percentages may exceed 100 as it is possible to give more than one answer to the question.


Commercial executives on how to make sure that account managers spend their time on the right things:


About the survey
Sales Guard’s B2B Commercial Executives Survey uncovers best practice within the area of B2B upsell strategies, sales management and customer relationship management among the biggest Scandinavian corporations.
The survey was conducted in the period of July–December 2016 among 249 commercial Executives in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Interviews in local languages were done by telephone from Aalund Research Center in Aarhus, Denmark.
Main conclusions are published in a series of newsletters on www.salesguard.com in the period of January–November 2017.

Survey sample

Denmark & International

Morten Mau Kai

Managing Director

mk@aalund.com

+45 33 45 84 89

Norway

Gudbrand Gråbak

Market Director

gg@aalund.com

+47 90 54 94 12

Sweden & Finland

Markus Sjöholm

Market Director

ms@aalund.com

+46 735 32 58 95