Do you have a champion in your key accounts? You know, the person that gives you a heads up on important company matters that might affect your business. Also known as a sponsor, supporter, or friend, this person is your advocate.
The champion relationship ranks as essential. It's right up there in importance with your executive contacts and decision makers. Without a champion you can miss critical insights into game changing decisions, organizational shifts, potential new opportunities, and candid feedback. Top sales people can recount many sales situations where having an internal sponsor made the difference between winning and losing – sometimes equating to millions of dollars of top line revenue.
Once identified, keep all channels of communication open on an ongoing basis. Phone, email, drop by when you're in their area (if appropriate), coffee, and lunch are all good opportunities for information exchanges.
Ask open-ended questions such as:
- How's business?
- What new initiatives are in the works?
- What have you heard about significant changes coming up?
- What's the general opinion of my products or services?
- Can you counsel me on the best way to handle …
(could be a problem or opportunity)
- Could you help me with an introduction to …
(could be a person or department)
- How do you think I can do a better job with …
Be respectful of the relationship. Avoid asking for information that would be inappropriate for your champion to share. Show appreciation for all their help and insights and look for suitable ways to return the favor.
Good luck as you reap the benefits of greater client intelligence, leads and referrals, and the assurance of knowing that you're “in the know” with your most important, TOP Line Account™ clients.
Lisa Magnuson, sales strategist and founder of Top Line Sales, LLC, guides high potential sales people and account teams to land larger deals and accelerate sales. Lisa is passionate about her mission to help her clients win more business. How can we help you? You tell us! We craft solutions around your requirements.