Key Customer Acquisition and Development

Customer Acquisition & Development

Key Customer Acquisition & Development

Key Customer Acquisition & Development

Key Customer Acquisition & Development

Sales Nova interim executives can support clients in two ways:

  • creating and embedding sustainable, world class key customer management systems and building key account teams for clients, enabling the acquisition and development of profitable key customer business; and
  • personally leading key customer acquisition & development from the front to deliver the revenue and profit growth.

All of Sales Nova’s interim executives possess at least 20 years of experience in the acquisition and development of global key customers to drive profitable revenue growth. We categorise key customers into two types:

    1. Important customers: Make, or possess the potential to make, a significant contribution to gross profits. They are structurally simple, usually with four or less contacts in the decision-making unit, and usually operating from just one or two sites. For these customers, activity-based consultative selling and senior executive involvement in relationships is usually sufficient.
    2. Key accounts: Make, or possess the potential to make, a significant contribution to gross profits. They are structurally complex, often operating across multiple sites (often internationally), and have multiple tiers of management. A strategic approach is needed to understand the aims and values of key accounts, and to identify, meet & understand the needs of, and positively influence all members of the decision-making unit.For these accounts we adopt a key account planning approach in which we teach the specialist skills to understand, gain access to and determine the range of opportunities & needs of key accounts, in order to develop winning business proposals and ensure satisfaction through world class contract delivery. We strongly encourage business-wide (N:N) engagement with the account rather than just the sales person (1:N); the engagement strategy, agenda and timing being controlled by the Key Account Manager, usually but not always a member of the commercial or sales team.

An important attribute of key customers is that they should not have significant demand for products that are low margin, use slow moving inventory and are disruptive to the efficient operational flow of the business, unless the business is committed and resourced to re-engineer those products to flow, use fast moving inventory and make a healthy profit contribution.


Sales Nova’s Key Customer Approach

Our approach to key customer acquisition & development is as follows:

  • Define Optimal Key Customers
    • Understand your current key customers, their level of business & dependency risk, customer satisfaction, the extent of relationships and how they are currently managed.
    • Understand the market(s) your organisation operates in or intends to operate in, and how customers buy on the spectrum from purely transactional to purely consultative;
    • Understand the core capabilities of your organisation, and its differentiating selling propositions. We take into account product development & business improvement plans designed to strengthen differentiation of the offer to the market;
    • Define the “optimal” key customer profile that aligns with market need, core organisational capabilities & differentiating selling propositions.


  • Select the Right Key Customers
    • Review existing key customer profiles and gross profit contributions to assess how well they align with the optimal profile, to challenge if the organisation is focused on the right key customers.
    • Identify potential key customers from the existing customer base;
    • Identify potential key customer prospects out in the market, that are not currently key customers;
    • Work with senior management to agree the organisation’s list of key customers, and to prioritise those that can be pro-actively acquired and/or developed within current resources. This is an essential element of the organisation’s Sales Policy.


  • Introduce Key Account Management
    • Introduce Key Account Planning & Selling to the organisation, through a programme of training, workshops and in-field coaching. During this process we agree with senior management:
      • who will be the Key Account Managers and who will be members of key account engagement teams.
      • develop key account management documents; our approach avoids overly-complex and burdensome templates; simple and visual is most effective.
      • set the Revenue & Gross Profit targets and KPIs for each key account.
      • agree daily / weekly / monthly reporting on and review of key account performance, with clear lines of responsibility & accountability.
    • Work across the business to ensure prioritisation of key customers with visual KPIs, internal SLAs; operational, quality, commercial and senior management focus on key customer contract delivery and satisfaction.


  • Continuously Improve Key Account Management
    • Senior management review of adherence to the Key Account Management system.
    • Measure results and talk to key customers to understand their perception and satisfaction.
    • Review key customer list membership and resource allocation to key accounts. Where a prospective key customer proves not to align with the organisation’s capabilities, or not to value its propositions, it should be removed from the key customer list.

Sales Nova interim executives will leave behind an embedded, sustainable system for world class key account management. Our activities in Strategic Thought Leadership are also effective tools to assist the acquisition & development of Key Accounts.



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