Here’s a concept that’s been around a while, in fact it was highlighted in Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras. The concept is about the power of “and,” or as Collins and Porras put it “the Genius of AND prevailing over the Tyranny of OR.”
The basics of this concept are easily applied to strategic account management. Most account managers can either sell more or sell at high gross margin levels. Only the good ones can sell more and increase their margins. Think about it. This concept applies to so many things and in all cases, the secret to success is the power of the AND.
Since I live in Indianapolis and May is nearly here, I’ll give you a racing analogy. Anyone can drive a car fast. Anyone can drive a car around a 2 ½ mile oval track for 500 miles. Only professional, successful race car drivers can do both (and each year, a bunch of them can’t even do both!).
How about companies? Many companies are great at taking advantage of opportunities. Some people call those companies “sales-oriented” or “sales-focused.” Some companies are great at dealing with threats. Think about insurance companies; dealing with risk is the focus of their business.
Companies that are good at dealing with threats will tend to gain market share during tough times and companies that are good at dealing with opportunities will gain market share during growth cycles. Companies that become market leaders are good at dealing with both opportunities AND threats (the green quadrant in the matrix). Of course, some are good at neither, though this is a temporary state since they won't be around long.
Same goes for managing accounts. Talk and listen to your customers. Understand their needs and build your customer strategy to help them succeed during the booms and the busts. Take advantage of the power of AND. Your book of business will put you in the leadership position.