Turning lemons into lemonade: Five ways to reset on customer management fundamentals in a post-pandemic world

By Dave Duke, Co-Founder and CCO, MetaCX, and Joel Schaafsma, Research General Manager, SAMA

Turning lemons into lemonade. It is one of the most optimistic cliches known to man – and with good reason. The phrase tells us to have a positive mindset and look for the good when faced with a dire, and potentially devastating, turn of events. 

The pandemic has presented an opportunity to reflect on what matters most in our personal and professional lives. In business, it has created an opportunity to reflect on how companies are managing customers, and it has given customers a window of opportunity to re-evaluate their supplier relationships to determine which partnerships are truly valuable. 

History has shown us that when companies invest in their customer relationships during major downturns, the recovery period is faster and, ultimately, buyer relationships end up stronger than before. When going through a challenging time, it is important to understand how the people behind their customer logos are impacted. 

Here are five things you can do to get back to the fundamentals with your most strategic customers: 

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SAMA releases Biannual 2021 Compensation Report

SAMA just released its biannual report on SAM and KAM compensation trends and practices. Chad Albrecht, Managing Principal of ZS Associates, and Joel Schaafsma, SAMA’s Research General Manager, have offered us a sneak preview of some key findings. As an added bonus, they also shared some levers best-in-class companies are using to incentivize SAMs in today’s world.

About the Report

SAMA’s and ZS’s The State of Sales Compensation for SAMs is the most comprehensive compensation survey of SAMs and KAMs available anywhere. Participants included 200 Account Managers, SAM Program Directors, and Central Office/Program Managers across 8 industries worldwide. Best of all: If your company participated in the research, the report is complimentary. (Want to know if you qualify for a free report? Email Joel Schaafsma.)

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By Edmund Bradford, Managing Director, Market2Win Ltd.

We have passed the tipping point of interest in sustainability. Sustainability and other good behavior metrics now need to be reported, meaning your strategic accounts will no longer be satisfied with bland statements of intent from your company. Sustainable SAM will be a key differentiator in the near future.

I was recently interviewing the head of sustainability at a global hospitality company when she told me an incredible fact: “In the past 12 months, for the first time ever, more investor funds have gone into proven sustainable companies than into non-sustainable companies.” So, if you are working in a company that has not proved itself sustainable to investors, you are in the wrong half of where the investor money is going.

If you want to see an example of this transition, just consider Blackrock, one of the world’s largest investors, with $8.68 trillion in assets under management at the end of December 2020.  In his 2021 letter to CEOs, Blackrock’s CEO, Larry Fink, wrote about the fact that the pandemic had accelerated the tectonic shift to sustainable investing with a near doubling of Blackrock’s investments in this area compared to 2019.

Why is this?