Strategic account managers (and their bosses) deserve better decision-making tools

By William Trail, Co-Founder, Opportunity State

If you have experienced the pain, humiliation and fear of having to tell your manager that you are not going to hit your “blood number,” your commit for the quarter, then I have news for you: It’s not your fault. You don’t have the technology to predict 90 days in advance which deals will be finalized in time.

But assigning blame doesn’t really matter, does it?  In the end, if you fail to meet your commitment, you fail to meet your commitment.  To be sure, a sales leader or SAM manager will have responsibilities beyond revenue. But typically, 30 to 40 percent of a SAM’s compensation will be tied to revenue. This being the case, then he or she should have significant input into which opportunities are pursued, since it is the SAM who has the account/political knowledge of his or her account. And yet several trends are converging to make decisions over deployment or resources more difficult. To name a few:

  • The average size of buying groups consists of 11 active members (plus additional occasional ones), per Gartner.
  • Only around 60 percent of account managers are making quota, per HBR.
  • Senior management needs to see fast results, especially in a recession.
  • Average tenure for sales execs has dropped from 26 months to just 19. 
  • Gartner reports that 58 percent of sales executives struggle to complete assigned tasks . 
  • Assessing account opportunities has become that much more difficult during a pandemic, when face-to-face interaction is limited or non-existent.
  • Only 36 percent of a sales executives’ time is spent selling or coaching, and remote coaching is much more difficult.
Continue reading “Strategic account managers (and their bosses) deserve better decision-making tools”

What every SAM should know about cybersecurity: An interview with International Society of Automation’s Steve Mustard

What does cybersecurity have to do with you? If you’re selling digital solutions, the answer is: Everything. Steve Mustard, President and CEO of National Automation and President of the International Society of Automation, explains why SAMs should care.

Listen to this episode of The SAMA Podcast here.


Announcing a new way to track and manage your most important customer relationships

The Strategic Account Management Association and Arpedio announce a joint development agreement that continues SAMA’s ongoing commitment to bring forward tools that enable the work of strategic and key account managers.

SAMA and Arpedio, the Danish provider of sales and strategic account management insights and software, have announced a partnership to create a cutting-edge tool designed for strategic and key account managers to objectively assess their customer relationships and then progress through a value co-creation journey using SAMA best practices.

A recent survey of the SAMA community identified developing SAM-enabling tools as the community’s most urgent area of need, bringing into focus what continues to be an area of strategic focus for SAMA.

“Strategic account management enablement is all about tools, training and coaching,” said SAMA President & CEO Denise Freier. “This new feature uses as its organizing principle our SAMA intellectual property and best practices around value co-creation, and it can be used to coach teams around that process.”

We see it as an ideal complement to our existing, long-term technology partnership with Valkre, which offers a complete and progressive platform for enabling the work of the SAM as prescribed by the SAMA Playbook. We will continue to leverage Valkre’s offering in SAMA’s certification curriculum (CSAM), and the partnership with Arpedio just adds another digital tool companies can use to transform how they create value with their customers.

“Arpedio builds on its key alliance with SAMA to put SAMA’s knowledge in the hands of all strategic account managers,” said Ulrik Monberg, Founder & CEO of Arpedio. “Formalizing what has long been a key relationship between SAMA and Arpedio is a major milestone for Arpedio.”

The tool is ready to use and can be implemented in less than 30 minutes. To see how companies are already using Arpedio’s platforms to streamline stakeholder mapping, automate sales playbooks and bring discipline to the value co-creation process, read this article in the recent issue of Velocity magazine.

“We use Arpedio’s suite of tools ourselves to give a common structure and strategic lens to managing our most important customers. It’s quick, it’s easy to use and it’s powerful. It forces you to step back and say, ‘Where am I with this customer, and what do I need to do to get to the next step?’”

Harvey Dunham, SAMA’s Managing Director for Marketing and Strategy.

“SAMA has defined what makes a strategic account management program successful, and we provide a way of anchoring it in Salesforce CRM,” said Daniel P. Kallestrup, Business Development Manager for Arpedio. “It is the perfect match, resulting in professional execution, efficient teamwork and ongoing coaching.”

Please note: To take advantage of this tool, you must be using Salesforce as your CRM. For information on how this joint development agreement can help your SAM/KAM organization better manage its most critical customers, contact Harvey Dunham at dunham@strategicaccounts.org.

About SAMA

The Strategic Account Management Association (SAMA) was founded more than 50 years ago to help expose B2B companies to tools, methods and processes that enable them to forge closer relationships with their most strategic customers and co-create new sources of sustainable, customer-driven growth. We help companies become essential to their most strategic customers through competency-based training, conferences in Europe and North America, publication of original research and customized services like benchmarking and peer-to-peer learning.

About Arpedio

Arpedio is a sales-enablement company and full-stack Salesforce.com consulting company operating globally in a dynamic, cross-functional and complex sales environment in a variety of industries. Learn more here.