Major Account Strategy Formulation: Information Gathering

On our last posting, we briefly described the importance of major accounts: in short, they are a high-investment, high-reward engagement for businesses. So it is natural that major accounts are handled differently from a smaller-sized customer. A good starting point when formulating a plan of attack for major accounts is to remember that you are dealing with a much more complex buying environment. You are now dealing with more politics in the pool where multiple decision makers and influencers are involved in the purchase. The needs and issues of the account in focus are multi-faceted and even conflicting, which makes it all the more difficult for your solution to be configured, implemented and managed within that company.
With that in mind, a one-size-fits-all mindset for your offering is one of the earliest critical mistakes an organization can make when formulating a plan for major account capture. Big companies do not attain their elite status by operating like a generic company. As such, each individual major account is unique and requires its own due diligence that must be taken into consideration during the strategy formulation phase.
The intelligence that you gather on your customer is the starting point in developing an effective plan to reach the right person at the right time with the right message; collecting, analyzing and utilizing this information wisely is of utmost importance at this stage. In the initial fact-finding phase, having a wide variety of information about multiple aspects of the customer is more important than having detailed knowledge about one piece; breadth before depth. The more unique traits you know about the customer, the stronger your foundation will be for you to build your strategy upon. Be careful, however, who you get your information from; too many times people get the wrong information from the wrong personnel. Getting the best information is difficult, but getting the correct information should be prioritized at this stage. For once you have solid understanding of your customer, you are ready to focus your campaign to efficiently target and capture that account.

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