The 4 disciplines of the successful Account Manager

How to conclude mega deals in the high-tech solution and service business

1. Understand the background of the deal

Account Managers (AMs) who do not understand the background to a deal cannot effectively integrate their offering into their customer's business context. Understanding the background of the opportunity means that AMs must first have general information about the customer. AMs need to know the specifics of the customer's industry, what their revenue is, how many employees the company has, the business model, goals, business drivers, and some specific news from the press.

2. Qualify the deal

Not every deal is a good deal. Therefore, Mega Deals must be qualified. To qualify a deal, AMs must ask themselves four questions. If all are answered "yes", it usually makes sense to make an offer:

Is this an opportunity?

Many companies tend to track leads that cannot be turned into opportunities. This is a waste of time and should be avoided. If the customer has set a budget, started a project and has to act urgently, it is usually a real sales opportunity.

Can we compete?

This is about your strengths and weaknesses and your solution or service. Is your company strong enough to be competitive on the market? Does your solution have clear differentiating features? Is your team better than the competition? If you answer "yes" to this, you are competitive.

Can we win?

The exterior view! What are the strengths and weaknesses of the competition? How does the customer see you? How strong is your customer relationship? Are you at least equally positioned? Then another criterion for the preparation of an offer is fulfilled.

Do we want to win?

For example, you may be short of resources or you may not have the right skills at hand. Maybe you want to win other types of deals right now from a strategic point of view, e.g. deals that include your innovative platforms. Offer only if you really want the deal.

3. Create a value proposition

A value proposition describes the customer benefit of your solution precisely and measurably. It shows how your solution meets your customer's needs and how it contributes to achieving their goals.

The first paragraph of your performance promise is a description of your understanding of the customer's situation and the current challenge they want an external vendor to address. The next step is to describe your solution, products, offering and approach. You mention the features and benefits, the benefits and the measurable value as described above. Then describe where you have already successfully completed such a project. You provide references or case studies.

4. Choose the right sales strategy

You can choose between five different strategies:

  • Frontal: The application of a frontal strategy means that you are looking for a direct comparison. You know that you are better than the competition and you show it logically to the customer.
  • Niche: You can only offer parts of the required solution, but you are best-of-breed in it. Therefore, you convince the customer of the advantages of combining several best-of-breed solutions.
  • Flanking: You convince the customer to change his decision criteria or requirements to your advantage. This is possible if you have a special relationship with the customer or if you put forward strong arguments.
  • Defence: As a current supplier, you defend yourself against attacks from outside by, for example, quickly improving your performance and your offer.
  • Retreat: You have no chance of winning the deal (see Deal Qualification) and withdraw.

When Account Managers implement these four steps, they will not only win more deals, but also close more profitable deals.