OK, here it is straight up…one of my colleagues bet me that I could not write a meaningful and relevant blog entry about the world’s largest pumpkin. So I figured it is October (autumn in Indiana) and that seemed like a timely topic. Actually, that’s not at all true. I just can’t pass up a challenge like writing about the world’s largest anything, even a pumpkin.
If you watch the video—which is not very exciting, but it is mercifully short—you get an idea of the lengths that these gourd farmers go to in the effort of growing big pumpkins. This couple knows what they are doing and they compete against each other. There are a few things they do that I think we can learn from to grow big accounts.
First, they pick seeds that are genetically predisposed to grow large pumpkins. Makes sense, right? We should be choosing prospects that are “genetically” predisposed to be successful customers. That means we should understand the profile of our best customers well enough that we choose to chase prospects with similar profiles. What makes our most valuable customers strategic for us? What separates them from those that aren’t as valuable?
They second thing that the gourd growers did was nurture their pumpkins. They prepared the soil with compost, coffee grounds and other fertilizer and they diligently kept the weeds out of the pumpkin plants. We need to constantly nurture our strategic accounts too. Fertilize them with new ideas, new products or service offerings, their involvement in our innovation activities and flawless relationship management. As for the weeds, you probably can’t totally eradicate the weeds, but you can pull them before they become problematic. Same for service or quality issues. They might occur, but take care of them quickly before they fester and become serious issues.
Good healthy competition among account managers or pumpkin pushers is always effective too. It may not be as easy in account management as in pumpkin growing to watch the fruits of your labor each day, but creating ways to track how well we are doing against each other does stoke the friendly competitive fire in each of us. And that can drive results.
Lessons learned from the Great Pumpkin. Wonder what Linus and his blanket could offer?