We love our account management teams. In the business to business (B2B) world, they’re the backbone of keeping customers...well, customers. Beyond retention, there’s huge opportunities for account management in client cross-selling and upselling. But most B2Bs have a few big problems in account management—there’s a heck of a lot on their plates. The typical account manager is responsible for: 

  • Customer service and support
  • Problem resolution
  • Customer retention
  • ROI and product use
  • Cross- and upselling
  • Team management

There’s a problem with this list. It’s diverse and involves multiple skill sets and talents. It results in intense competition for demands on time. Ultimately, this list will 100% lead to burnout, missed goals and money left on the table. 

But don’t get discouraged. There are ways you can tweak your account management strategy that can turn into big money for your bottom line. We’ll show you how. 

Define the focus

The biggest problem facing account management teams is time. You might be tempted to assume they’re spread too thin and hire additional reps to pick up the slack. But we think the answer is in working smarter not bigger. It’s about redefining your focus.  

Traditional account management tends to be more focused on retention than growth. The idea is classic - happy customers will naturally buy more. But this hyper focus on customer service doesn’t have that much effect on the bottom line. In a survey of hundreds of B2B businesses, Gartner, a leading research and advisory company, found that 88% of account managers thought going above and beyond on the customer service side is the surest way to grow. However, when looking at overall impact, the survey found while customer service did contribute to customer retention, it had no statistical relationship to growing the account. 

So what does grow the account? Gartner found the actions that did lead to more sales included those that showed the customer new ways to improve their business. Further, they found focusing on these improvement strategies also increased customer retention. 

Shift to the Customer

Of course, you shouldn’t shift completely away from customer service - it’s still an important aspect of customer retention. But if you’re looking to increase revenue from client cross-selling and upselling (and who isn’t?!), it’s time to shift some of the account management’s focus towards providing solutions for customer needs. 

What problems do your customers face? 
How can your services and products solve those problems? 

These two questions should be your driving factors for your account management team in client cross-selling and upselling. If you can’t show these solutions to your customer, they’re simply not going to find the urgency needed for a sale. 

For traditional account management teams, who have been primarily focused on customer service, this new shift might be scary. We understand - remember the diverse skill set problem we have in account management teams? That’s always going to be there. But providing your account managers with the tools needed to make the sale can completely automate and streamline the process. 

Support with Tools

Give your account management teams the tools that support client cross-selling and upselling and make big impacts on your revenue. From webinars to demos to meetings and emails, these are the tools (we call them plays) that provide the urgency for the customer to buy again. Ideally, they should be predetermined based on your customer journey and also support buyer enablement, meaning they put the customer/buyer into the driver's seat. It’s strategic selling at its finest. 

Remember your two questions above when developing the tools? Keep asking them. 

What problems do your customers face? 
How can your services and products solve those problems? 

Make sure your tools and plays show your customer how their problems are solved through your product or service. Avoid listing off features. Features don’t matter. Focus on the solutions. Solutions matter. 

Your account management team has a lot to do. From customer service to client issues to cross- and upselling, there’s no wonder this team is easily burned out. Help them out and help out your bottom line by reshifting your focus towards the customer. At Proteus, we believe that buyer enablement can be powered by collaborative digital workspaces that automate the process for account management, sales and everyone in between. Learn more here

About Proteus Engage

The ProteusEngage sales enablement platform was designed by sales industry leaders who struggled with complex new business development and current client cross-sell success. ProteusEngage is different from any other sales enablement platform on the market as we leverage a buyer first methodology powered by proven Industry Prescriptions. ProteusEngage's one of a kind Workspaces drive engagement, collaboration, consistency and communication - driving relationships and revenue success.

Jessica McMullen

Post by Jessica McMullen

Bringing 20 years of strategic account and project management to the team Jessica McMullen has a depth of experience in the healthcare, marketing and the human resources fields. As director of client success, Jessica works closely with our partners to help them achieve success with the ProteusEngage Platform.