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Is Strategic Account Management like birth order?

Having just spent quality time over the holiday weeks with my three kids, I was eager to check out this website about birth order and personality ( I was curious to see if it nailed each of my kid’s personalities.  It offers each birth order’s traits as strengths and weaknesses and even suggests future career choices that might be typical fits.

  • First-borns are typically confident, organized and seek approval, are perfectionists, feel like they’re not good enough (lots of stress), and don't like to be told what to do.  Good career fits are high-precision paths like medicine and law, or they tend to seek leadership/control positions like boss or business owner.
  •  Middle children tend to be more difficult to define/read and raise. They can be mysterious, suspicious, and stubborn.  They are also independent, peacemakers/mediators.  They fit with creative careers like sales, advertising, or art and love to stand out from the crowd.
  • Last-borns are outgoing, social, affectionate, and funny – but can be spoiled, self-centered, manipulative, and immature.  They like to do their own thing, have no boundaries, take risks; so they might be inventors or entrepreneurs.

The website even includes profiles of only children and twins – and includes parenting tips with advice on effectively raising each child.

It got me thinking – is managing a portfolio of different accounts (and their "varying personalities") at all like raising different children, with varying traits, strengths, weaknesses, and inclinations?  You might have an account that could be characterized as a perfectionist, a mystery, or a risk-taker.  First, being aware of and in tune with, and then adapting strategies to your customers’ unique traits and personalities can lead to effective account management.  It can be a lot like raising a family.  What do you think?

Brad Linville
Principal, Sr. VP, Strategic Accounts

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