THE FLANK OUTSIDE
For every front-line sales professional, especially in B2B high stake scenarios, effective Customer Account Management is a critical factor in winning consistently.
In an extremely competitive environment, beyond products and solutions expertise, relationship in the customer account is key. And, it is also important to be completely astute over the politics surrounding the customer environment.
The first step is in mapping and understanding the organization chart. This is the formal document with roles, authorities and responsibilities of the employees in any corporate structure. Obviously, the authority and responsibility flow is in tandem from top to bottom, disseminating vertically downwards in the org structure. These, could always be - lateral roles and shared responsibilities in more complex structures.
A novice sales individual may or rather would, map and address the opportunity in a top-down or bottom-up approach, based on the type, nature and his level of relationships within the account.
A typical organization chart may appear as below:
An astute sales person will want to understand the dynamics beyond what is apparent on the formal organization chart. He will study every individual within the organization, his personal profile and attributes and relationships – formal and informal.
I would extend and draw dotted lines across various individuals in the organizations based on attributes not so apparent – social, personal contacts, family, clubs, sports & golf, etc. The above organization chart would then appear as below:
The dotted red lines (also termed as the lines of influence) indicate the individuals connected or associated based on other informal attributes. The red lines being the starting point for plotting an “Informal organizational chart” overlaying the formal chart.
It is important to note –
The matrix below is a plot of Position v/s Influence in an organization.
If people are placed as per their respective positions/levels vis-à-vis their relative influence in the organization, we can distinctly map the following zones:
Series 1. Politics - KAM