May 17, 2015

Account Mining

Acquiring business and sustaining is the oxygen for every organization out there.
A research states that most of the business (80%) comes in from existing customers (provided your performance was on par with expectations at least if not above).
Some of the learnings I gathered from the industry suggest following ways can help Account managers (AM) to mine new business.
1.       Feel Customers’ pain: As AM, you should have a list of at least 10 pain areas of your customer always and try to help them with your solutions. Always focus on customer’s problems rather that what you can offer. Keep visiting the customer often. Whenever he feels pain, you should be the first name that should come in customers’ mind for heal.
2.       Surround Sound: You need to keep looking for opportunities (surround sound) at client site. Some of the basic surround sounds that we can look for are :
a.       which other groups within the account you do not have the presence yet, which are the other custom/legacy systems that can be replaced by our products/modules,
b.      are there any new geographies where the customer has presence and we can leverage the current project work, who is supporting the current environment and how
c.       can you get involved there, what will be the support plan post go-live, who is the competition in the account and what are they working on, what are their weaknesses
d.       When can you pitch in to weed them out and the list of surround sound can go on and on.
3.       Inside Sound (Company Echo System): Often you hear from customers that many of the things they saw in the first corporate presentation remained as a presentation. I guess in our day to day rut we do not take our offerings to the customer unless specifically asked for (and at times even delay after asking). So while listening to the surround sound we should take the inside sound to the customer even before they ask for.
4.       Tapping without Mapping: Converting an opportunity to an order requires buy-in of multiple stakeholders in the client organization starting from the group who needs it to the group who funds it to the group who actually implements the system with us. Unless we maintain the mapping at all levels, all our tapping for new business will not yield positive results. We should get the right people from within the company (inside sound) to meet the right people at customer (surround sound) and keep the sounds going.
5.       Proper Contacts: Study shows that millions of dollars spent on the best written code gets unused because of lack of involvement from business. Irrespective of whether the business is more powerful or IT in the client organization, we should ensure that we have established the right connections in business from day one.
6.       Be Part of Customers’ family: "The family that eats together lives together" is a very old saying and if we extend this beyond our families we have actually seen that the team that eats together (at least once a month) with the customer lives together. On a serious note if we do not build the relationship (have lunch) and just stay technical, we will become lunch for the competition. This also calls for changing our lifestyle to a large extent on relishing local cuisines and not eating traditional all the time, exploring new restaurants, reading non-technical books, listening to local music/podcasts, watching movies, going to concerts/operas, following local sports (baseball in USA, Ice hockey in Finland etc...) and in fact even trying some local sports like skiing, football etc, reading local (client geography) newspaper and not always be glued to home news....all this is required to make each lunch meeting a memorable one for you as well as the customer and help build relationship beyond work.
7.       Keep working: collect and analyze client data Review periodically relevant client information. For example: Type of work done previously, Billing rates, vertical and geographical distribution of their business, GPM/Profits, Quality of work and Cost effectiveness. Do PEST, SWOT analysis.

Maintain following template always up to date. Some type of heat map
1) Name of the Account
2) Geographical Distribution of Customer Business
3) Industry Vertical
4) Present and past year revenue and profit
5) Present and past year IT expenses
 6) Services provided by vendor
7) Services they are in immediate need
9) Who are their competitors?
10) What is the current portfolio that vendor has with the customer
11) What are the domain support customer specifically require
15) What top level technology services other competitors of customer are following.
16) What is the relationship status with customer?
17) What is the relationship status of vendor’s competitors with customer

18) Some basic account base information like number of resources providing support to customer.

Happy hunting.

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