SAMA 2011 Conference; Important Key Learning Points for All!
I have just returned back from the SAMA (Strategic Account Management Association) 2011 Annual Conference – a great learning experience!
I especially appreciated the time that I had with many of our attending Clients and future Clients; it really re-enforced the importance of quality face-time with accounts / clients. The conference provided another excellent opportunity to listen and learn from the “voice of the Client”.
So what were some of my key learning points that I suggest others take home with them as well about Strategic Account Management (SAM)? My list includes a “Top Five”:
- Ensure Proper SAM Program Construct. All SAM programs need to have some basic pillars in place to succeed. These include; the right people as SAMs, a SAM program leader, Executive buy-in with appropriate funding, a documented operating plan to get everyone on the same page and measurements and metrics that provide an ongoing evaluation of the SAM program including both internal and external “voice of the account” feedback (lagging and leading performance metrics).
- Build your Strategic Account Plan on Metrics (Internal and External). A Strategic Account Plan is a hypothesis for achieving success with a specific account. It should be driven by a set of defined performance metrics that influence strategy and tactics. Don’t forget how important the predictive (leading) “voice of the account” metric is – and that it goes way beyond just satisfied or not satified! See white papers and client interview podcasts on this subject at (www.loyaltypro,com)
- SAM programs take time to implement and deliver results. While I appreciate how business leaders need results now – a SAM program delivers greater results over time than traditional sales opportunity management programs – this has been proven year after year in the annual SAMA Trends Survey Report.
- Not all accounts are strategic accounts. A logcal methodology for account segmentation is a must!
- Think TEAM – Strategic Account Managment is a cross-functional Team sport (global – across SBUs in many situations).
In summary – it is back to enabling Clients to succeed. I keep saying over and over; remember what you experienced at the SAMA Conference – it is knowledge that converts to wisdom; and we all need more wisdom to overachieve!