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The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts [Hardcover]

Sallie Sherman , Joseph Sperry , Samuel Reese

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Book Description

1 May 2003
This book contains top-to-bottom techniques for keeping your best customers in-house and happy - and away from your competition. Strategic accounts are your firm's lifeblood; they play a critical role in its success or failure. "The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts" is filled with best practices and examples of how to intelligently manage key interactions and relationships with these vital accounts - for greater loyalty, higher profitability, and consistent competitive advantage. Let this hands-on guidebook's compelling case studies and examples help you to: create firm-wide alignment and commitment to meeting the needs and expectations of strategic accounts; develop multi-level relationships within these accounts, from line managers to upper executives; continually quantify and communicate the value delivered to - and received from - strategic accounts.Your firm's strategic accounts are its most valuable customers. Discover how today's marketing leaders are designing and implementing cost-effective, results-oriented strategic account programs, and how you can follow their lead, in "The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts".'This book tells it right...there is no magic pill for handling strategic accounts. The author's seven keys, however, are spot on for ensuring strategic account management success' - Tom VanHootegem, Director, National Account Program, Boise Office Solutions. 'Although all customers are important, there are certain customers you cannot afford to ignore or live without...' - From the Preface. Strategic accounts are your firm's most significant accounts. Chances are they are also your most imperiled. Why? Because as your customer service employees work overtime tending to your most demanding accounts, and as your sales force works overtime searching for new business, your strategic accounts may begin to feel overlooked. Instead of investing your firm's assets to ensure that strategic accounts receive impeccable service, you under-invest - leaving the door wide open to your competitors."The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts" provides you with a step-by-step approach for providing your best accounts with performance that will make and keep them satisfied, even delighted. A synergistic collaboration between S4 Consulting and Miller Heiman, two of today's leading providers of strategic account management and sales development solutions, this hands-on book provides you with front-line benefits including: a market-proven model for developing, managing, and measuring a world-class strategic account program; methodologies for getting everyone in your organization to understand - and buy into - strategic account management; and, human resources solutions for finding, attracting, and compensating your industry's top account managers.'We have listed in this book the challenges we have seen most often in helping clients with strategic account management - as well as keys to overcoming them' - From the Preface. The day-to-day difficulties and distractions of servicing second-tier accounts can divert your attention from the unspoken, but imperative, needs of your top accounts. "The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts" details how today's market leaders are successfully reorienting themselves to focus on their most valuable, cash-cow customers. Now let it show you how to avoid or overcome easy-to-miss errors and oversights before they become disasters that deliver your best customers into the arms of your competitors - who will be only too happy to learn from your mistakes and turn your formerly "safe" customers into their newest strategic accounts.

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The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts + Key Account Management: The Definitive Guide + Teach Yourself Successful Key Account Management in a Week
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From the Back Cover

Top-to-Bottom Techniques for Keeping Your Best Customers In-House and Happy--and Away from Your Competition

Strategic accounts are your firm's lifeblood; they play a critical role in its success or failure. The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts is filled with best practices and examples of how to intelligently manage key interactions and relationships with these vital accounts--for greater loyalty, higher profitability, and consistent competitive advantage.

Let this hands-on guidebook's compelling case studies and examples help you to:

  • Create firm-wide alignment and commitment to meeting the needs and expectations of strategic accounts
  • Develop multi-level relationships within these accounts, from line managers to upper executives
  • Continually quantify and communicate the value delivered to--and received from--strategic accounts

Your firm's strategic accounts are its most valuable customers. Discover how today's marketing leaders are designing and implementing cost-effective, results-oriented strategic account programs, and how you can follow their lead, in The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts.

Praise for The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts:

"This book tells it right...there is no magic pill for handling strategic accounts. The author's seven keys, however, are spot on for ensuring strategic account management success."--Tom VanHootegem, Director, National Account Program, Boise Office Solutions

"Although all customers are important, there are certain customers you cannot afford to ignore or live without..."--From the Preface

Strategic accounts are your firm's most significant accounts. Chances are they are also your most imperiled.

Why? Because as your customer service employees work overtime tending to your most demanding accounts, and as your sales force works overtime searching for new business, your strategic accounts may begin to feel overlooked. Instead of investing your firm's assets to ensure that strategic accounts receive impeccable service, you under-invest--leaving the door wide open to your competitors.

The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts provides you with a step-by-step approach for providing your best accounts with performance that will make and keep them satisfied, even delighted. A synergistic collaboration between S4 Consulting and Miller Heiman, two of today's leading providers of strategic account management and sales development solutions, this hands-on book provides you with front-line benefits including:

  • A market-proven model for developing, managing, and measuring a world-class strategic account program
  • Methodologies for getting everyone in your organization to understand--and buy into--strategic account management
  • Human resources solutions for finding, attracting, and compensating your industry's top account managers

"We have listed in this book the challenges we have seen most often in helping clients with strategic account management--as well as keys to overcoming them."--From the Preface

The day-to-day difficulties and distractions of servicing second-tier accounts can divert your attention from the unspoken, but imperative, needs of your top accounts. The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts details how today's market leaders are successfully reorienting themselves to focus on their most valuable, cash-cow customers. Now let it show you how to avoid or overcome easy-to-miss errors and oversights before they become disasters that deliver your best customers into the arms of your competitors--who will be only too happy to learn from your mistakes and turn your formerly "safe" customers into their newest strategic accounts.

About the Author

Sallie Sherman, Ph.D. is the president of S4 Consulting.

Joseph Sperry, Ph.D. is a partner with S4 Consulting.

Samuel Reese is president and CEO of Miller Heiman.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Let's begin by considering: 1. What is strategic account management? Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Guide for Strategic Account Mangement 18 Jan 2005
By R. Knight - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a very educational book that every company should read and buy into before attempting a SAM program. I enjoyed the real world exmaples even though they did sometimes leave me feeling a bit 'sold to'(and I usually like that!)

But the reason I've only given this book 4 stars is that it's written very much for the analytical reader, an MBA who absorbes information would love this book. But I am not one of those and would like to have seen a higher emotional content and some more human aspects.

This however should not stop you from buying this book. In fact if you are considering a Strategic Account Management program you MUST read this now.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Real-World Advice 12 Jun 2003
By Jay Readey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As an MBA candidate who spends far too much time reading textbooks, I found Seven Keys a welcome change in my business reading. It's readable, well-organized, full of real-world examples, and it lets me quickly know how I can ready an organization for effective strategic account management. These authors clearly have busy people in mind. I read the chapters that were of particular interest and then I read the remainder. Time well-spent.
Jay Readey
MBA Candidate, Yale University School of Management
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make sure you have a program that really works� 15 Sep 2003
By "drrparks" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In today's marketplace key account (relationship) management is imperative. With the ever changing/increasing demands placed on these accounts it is even more important to develop a focus and a strategic game plan behind them. This book is a must read and a must have on your bookshelf. It's laid out in a friendly manner (the seven keys) and is easy to read. Whether you currently have a strategic account management program in place, are looking at implementing a new program, or are looking how to fine-tune an existing one -- the 7 Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts will help you in the process. Make sure you have a program that really works!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Common-Sense Guidance Just in Time! 8 May 2003
By "dfeldmann3" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
We just launched what we thought was a
strategic account program for our largest
customers last year, but I just learned
from this book that it's actually a key
account program in disguise.
Now we can use the authors' common-sense
guidance to focus on the customers who
truly have strategic potential, align our
entire company behind the initiative instead
of just the sales force, and set up an
account manager development program that
really works. Great job!
David S. Feldmann
Product Manager, Legal & Business Products
The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Foundational book: don't sell to Key Accounts or initiate a Strategic Account program without reading this! 29 Jun 2013
By Russ Emrick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One of the tests of a good book and its advice is if it stands the test of time. While "The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts" was written in 2003 it is just as relevant and important now, perhaps more so. I would not start or work in a strategic account initiative without using this book as my bible. It is that good.

One of the strongest ideas in "The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts" is the differentiation between Key Accounts versus Strategic Accounts. Not only is the sales approach different but the entire company orientation must be different - a point few VP of Sales really gets. Niel Rackham address this same concept in "Getting Partnering Right" and his advice applies to Strategic Account Selling: "The seller sees partnering [Strategic Accounts] as an opportunity to gain long-term guaranteed business, but doesn't see that this calls for any fundamentally different approach to selling [or conducting business]. The customer, after months of being courted by the seller with the verbiage of partnering and collaboration, just doesn't buy it. The customer sees it as just business as usual, albeit in more flowery language."

From "The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts": "Key account selling approaches tend to be initiated by sales, they tend to work on a shorter planning horizon, to measure success primarily on incremental, perhaps quarter-to-quarter revenue, and they tend to sell mostly existing products to a small number of people within a large number of accounts." Strategic Account selling in contrast "tends to be a firm-wide initiative, systematically and proactively delivering strategic solutions [value] to multiple contacts at targeted accounts to capture a dominant share over time."

The Keys to Success for Strategic Account management:
1. Define strategic account management as a business rather than a sales initiative
2. Create firm alignment and commitment to meet strategic account' needs and expectations
3. Start with the right number of the right strategic accounts
4. Create human resources support for strategic account managers
5. Create firm-wide relationships at multiple levels of relationships between the firm and its most critical accounts
6. Regularly quantify and communicate the value received from and delivered to strategic accounts
7. Use technology judiciously

As you can see, this is no small task, certainly not something the on-the-street-salesperson can do. "The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts" offers a complete Blueprint for those seven keys, along with an action plan and metrics. For me this is simply an indispensable guide to Strategic Account initiatives.
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