Too often our account management programs are like the local fitness center. And I don’t mean that they are healthy. Here are three similarities that I have noticed between fitness centers and our account management programs.
1. The New Year’s Resolution. Every year when January rolls around I can’t find a locker, and the locker room is so crowded it’s ridiculous. This happens because people make a resolution to get fit, lose weight, whatever. So people flock to the gym. Three weeks later, things are back to normal. Happens every year.
I see the same thing with account management programs. Account managers adopt a new account planning tool or commit to customer-focused account management. It lasts for a while, but sooner or later, people figure out that being customer focused takes work and they revert to their old ways. For anyone who doesn’t revert, a real competitive edge exists.
2. Dress for Success. There are a group of people at my club that don’t really work out. But they look incredible. They buy workout outfits the way I buy suits, shirts and ties. Everything is coordinated. Style is definitely trumping function. I always figure I look tired and sweaty when I’m there regardless of my clothes.
These dressers remind me of the account managers that talk a great game, show up at all the right places, and send birthday cards to all the company executives. They just don’t sell anything. They look good, but they are not doing the right things. They are not achieving company objectives.
3. The Injured Reserve. There is a guy at my club that is constantly present, but never working out. But, there is always an injury excuse. “I came to lift, but I tore my rotator. Better sit it out today.” Next week, a leg. His back the week after.
This manifests itself in account management with the typical excuse, “That doesn’t make sense for my customers.” Everyone else should use our account engagement tools, but this account manager is different. Uh huh.
These fitness center tactics are common. We simply have to be more diligent, more customer-focused, more value-additive than our competitors. We have to actually work out, use the tools our companies have given us. Time to get fit!