I watched famed baseball slugger Mark McGwire confess his use of steroids to Bob Costas. Not a huge surprise when McGwire admitted to using steroids and human growth hormone during his homerun record-setting baseball career. But what was surprising was the overwhelming belief McGwire had that his performance wasn’t enhanced by the substances. Following the interview, Bob Costas said he firmly believes McGwire was genuine in his remarks that the steroids only helped him overcome injury, not gain physical advantages. I think you only need to look at McGwire’s pre and post steroid use homerun to at-bat ratios to understand the impact steroids had on his performance.
Lucky for you I’m not going to share my opinions on Mark McGwire or my thoughts on what the steroid era means to baseball’s future. I will tell you that I believe performance enhancing drugs provide players with physical advantages. This got me thinking about the tools that provide Strategic Account Managers with a competitive edge – a SAM’s performance enhancing drug so-to-speak. Here are the top two tools that I believe provide SAM’s with an advantage over their competition.
1. Developing Strategic Account Knowledge: there are numerous public sources of information available to us that provide insight into our clients and the challenges they face – 10K’s, analyst reports, press releases, etc. The problem is this information is available to everyone, so the unique advantage you receive from this information alone is zero. One unique advantage we have with our current clients is access to people and the unique insights they can provide about the business and their needs. As SAM’s we need to insure we have a systematic approach to tap into this information and a method for putting this strategic account knowledge to work.
2. Strategic Account Planning: The account plans are where we put our strategic account knowledge to work. Here is an Alan Lakein (the famed time management author) quote about planning that I like, “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now”. If you’re not leveraging account plans currently you should be.
We’re all looking to build and maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. The good news is that there are time tested and ethical ways for SAM’s to go about it.
Senior Vice President