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All posts by Erik Aapkes

Blueprint’s Top 5 Account Management Tips

Being an Account Manager is an extremely rewarding job, but it is far from being an easy one. Here are our Top 5 Tips to help you stay on top of your game.

1. Build a comprehensive knowledge platform. Our tool, the 7 C’s of Knowledge is useful here. 7 things that you need to know about all beginning with C. For the Account Manager the 7 C’s are critically important:  

Country: Keep up to date with the big changes in the commercial world around you, this will help you to plan better, handle objections and seek out the opportunities.                       

Company:  Spend time seeking to understand how your own company works, who makes the decisions, and how all of the departments integrate together. As an Account Manager, half of your time will probably be spent influencing your colleagues in order to seize the opportunities. The more you can network internally to good effect, the better.            

Customer:   Internally you must be the ‘Customer Champion’, you must be the font of all knowledge on how this company works, what their aspirations are, and what their more immediate plans are. But in front of the customer too, you have to demonstrate an intimate knowledge of how the customer works. My challenge to any Account Manager is to know the customer better than your buyer does.

Competitor : A healthy knowledge and understanding of the competitor will help you handle objections, negotiate better, absorb the pressure of the role  and to raise your own bar.

Channel:    Be an expert in channel dynamics and knowledge. Take an active interest in becoming an expert in this, whether the channel is Retail, Food Service, Brokers, e-Commerce. Be the go to person for all info on the channel.  

Category:   You will probably have colleagues who work in the Category Management department, but don’t rely on them to do the whole job. Will they always be at your side when the Buyer floats that interesting question on Category dynamics across the desk? Keep up to date with what is going on in the category to allow you to grasp the opportunity or diminish the threat as soon as it is presented to you.     

Consumer:    The same goes for your consumer/shopper knowledge, don’t leave it all up to your marketing department. Take an active interest in the Consumer yourself.

2. Be Organised:   The devil is in the detail, and there will be a lot of detail to manage. Don’t try to just commit things to memory, you will forget. Keep detailed notes of your meetings, emails, agreements, price files and opportunities. Even years after the event this detail can be very important in commercial deals.

3. Adopt a phenomenal work ethic: Yes of course have a good work life balance, that is extremely important, but when  you are at work, work hard. The job is too important to wing it. Build your external and internal networks, get around your customers estate, keep your finger on the pulse of what is happening.

4. Sharpen your Skill Set: Ensure you constantly update your skills, particularly your influencing/selling skills and your negotiation skills. When was the last time you had some formal / refresher training on this? The best Account Managers practice these important skills diligently and frequently.

5. Conduct yourself professionally: Be balanced in your judgement, listen and think before you speak, be mindful of your body language particularly during times of stress or negotiation. Deliver the principles and values set by your company.

Let us know what you think of our Top 5 List

GSCOP

How up to date are you on the Groceries Supply Code of Practice?

All Designated Retailers’ Buying teams have to be trained in GSCOP within a month of taking on the role and be refreshed ins GSCOP training every year. Christine Tacon the Grocery Code Adjudicator is very keen to ensure that Grocery supply companies are trained regularly on GSCOP too, when was the last time you were trained on GSCOP ?

At Blueprint we recently ran a GSCOP course for one of our clients and the benefits to the account management team were huge, from ensuring that the supply agreements comply to the power it gives the individual in negotiation.

Is it about time you refreshed your GSCOP training?

GSCOP

Stop Selling

Buyers want to buy, not to be sold upon

In my selling workshops, I always ask delegates: "If you are going to a shop, and the salesperson asks you if he or she could be of help, how many of you reply by saying: Thanks but I am just looking?"

Generally they all reply in a similar way. Now explain this. These salespeople in my workshop, who are convinced they are doing a great job helping their customers, they themselves don't want the help of a fellow salesperson!?

The simple explanation is that no one wants to 'be sold upon'! We all want to believe that it was us, who bought, instead of being sold to.

It isn't different with our buyers, if you give them the feeling you're here to sell to them, they will put up that wall of defence, which will be very hard to tear down afterwards. Instead, give them the feeling they are still in charge of their own decision process and you may have a smoother journey to the closure of the deal.

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The Famous 5 E’s Selling Structure

The Blueprint Selling Model

Used daily by hundreds of successful sales people around the world, here is the famous Blueprint 5 E's Selling Structure:

  • Explore the Needs: Understand fully want your customer is looking for

  • Establish the interest: A check step to ensure that you have the correct needs

  • Explain the Deal: Showcase your offer

  • Emphasize the Key Benefits: By highlighting how the customers needs can be fulfilled

  • Execute the Next Steps: Go for the close.

  • Explore the Needs: Understand fully want your customer is looking for

  • Establish the interest:
    A check step to ensure that you have the correct needs

  • Explain the Deal: Showcase your offer

  • Emphasize the Key Benefits: By highlighting how the customers needs can be fulfilled

  • Execute the Next Steps:
    Go for the close.

A great many people have told us that once learned the 5 E's provide the best structure for success. For more information please contact us via the contacts tab on this website.

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