Strategic account management is a management system designed to ensure long-term development with important clients. It means forming and following a plan for consistent upward growth in major customer accounts, keeping customers happy and maintaining stability in crucial accounts.
SAM (as it is often abbreviated) incorporates many working components, and so managers must be careful to focus on the comprehensive picture of the client’s portfolio without lapsing in any particular area. The crucial focus is on delivering consistent and continuous growth. To do so means ensuring that this growth surpasses that which competitors can offer, keeps the customer in the decision-making loop, and charts a clear course for a future that the customer can be confident in.
Strategic account management plans succeed, therefore, they foster relationships that transcend buyer-seller boundaries and create an atmosphere of collaborative and mutually beneficial development.
Role of a Strategic Account Manager
The job of a strategic account manager is equal parts salesman, researcher, consultant, and analyst. When working in account management not only must he or she keep the account moving forward on an upward trajectory, but a strategic account manager must also stay on warm personal terms with the client. Of course, in moments of difficulty, the manager must also be a skilled crisis management specialist, capable of keeping the customer on-board during the inevitable downturns all industries experience.
Skills Needed in Account Management
Because companies rely on their strategic account managers to keep crucial business relationships alive and well, SAM can be a stressful and demanding professional role. Businesses must therefore choose carefully when promoting or hiring for this position, and those seeking to fill the role should ensure they are well prepared before stepping into the high-pressure job.