Differentiate Yourself with your Key Accounts


B2B Sales VPs – Are you confident in the standing of your salespeople within their key accounts? Do they hold the esteemed position of a trusted partner who can help drive priorities forward, or are they simply viewed as run-of-the-mill service providers? Are your salespeople sought after for their fresh ideas, or are they merely order-takers in a transactional relationship?

It’s time to take a quick ‘temperature check’ to evaluate the level of impact and influence your salespeople have on your most important expansion prospects. Engage your senior salespeople in a conversation about their key account relationships and pay close attention to their responses.


Let’s compare a few scenarios…

If your key accounts habitually seek price comparisons from your competitors whenever a new opportunity arises, it suggests they view you solely as a service provider—a supplier of services. Is that the perception you desire?

On the other hand, if your key account contacts consistently introduce you to top executives, influencers, and decision-makers within their organization, it indicates they see you as a trusted partner. This level of access is a testament to the trust and value they place in your relationship. Imagine the possibilities if this were the norm!

Take a moment to reflect on your interactions with your day-to-day contacts. If discussions revolve primarily around day-to-day problems, it’s a clear sign that your customers view you as a supplier of services versus a strategic partner. How can you break free from this limiting perception?

Consider the role of your key account executive sponsor. Do they recognize the value of collaborative, long-range planning efforts? Do they set aside dedicated time for strategic interactions and project development? If so, it’s a strong indicator that they perceive you as a trusted partner, someone whose contributions extend far beyond the transactional realm.

Another aspect to ponder is how frequently your key account contacts reach out to you. Are you primarily the one initiating contact? Do your customers only engage when they need your attention or specific information? This dynamic hints at a supplier-buyer relationship, lacking the collaborative spirit of a trusted partnership.

Now, imagine an alternative scenario—where you and your key account contacts function as a mutually supportive team. Together, you explore emerging needs, co-develop solutions, collaborate on proposals, and diligently calculate the real impact on their organization. This level of engagement signifies that your key account contacts genuinely consider you a trusted partner. The benefits of such a perception are immeasurable, offering fertile ground for expanding your services and growing your value and impact with your largest customers.


Differentiation Tips

To achieve this shift in perception, consider adopting a consultative approach. Change the conversation with your key accounts by focusing on their top-level priorities and how your services can make a tangible difference.

Embrace regular, proactive planning meetings designed to foster fresh ideas and meaningful initiatives.

Position yourself as someone with access to valuable resources who can provide unparalleled insights.

And don’t limit your relationships to your immediate contacts—maintain connections across the entire enterprise, from your executive sponsor to stakeholders and anyone else impacted by your work.

As you embark on your sales endeavors, remember that by embracing clear differentiation strategies and positioning yourself as a trusted partner, you’ll find yourself ‘ringing the bell’ more often. Success awaits those who can deliver value beyond basic expectations.

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