One of the more interesting takeaways from the research we have done over the years is the juxtaposition between two beliefs that our clients have about account executives. The first was that about a third of the respondents felt that AEs were too pushy when it came to sales and that was off-putting. But that same group of clients expected (not wanted) their account exec to bring them new opportunities.
How our AEs sell matters. When they go at a client in the context of their business challenges and an opportunity that their business can take advantage of — it’s welcome. When they go in talking about agency services or new “stuff” that we can make for them, it feels like a pushy sales effort.
I know that you know the difference. I know that you can have that level of conversation. But you can’t be the only person in your shop who is capable of doing that. How are you helping your AEs learn the language of business?
- Are you encouraging them to spend time on the factory floor, so to speak? (You can’t always bill for this time but it always comes back to you)
- Are you sending them to your client’s big industry trade show so they can listen to the speakers, walk the exhibit floor and absorb the business?
- Are you surrounding them with the trade pubs your clients are following?
- Are you having these sorts of strategic discussions in your one-on-one meetings?
This level of learning will not happen by accident. And while some of your account execs will intuitively understand they need to do this work, others will not. You’re going to have to not only show them what they need to learn but how.
This need is one of the big motivators behind the creation of our AE Bootcamp On-Demand course. We know how critical it is that your account executives elevate from an order taker to an actual business builder (yours and your clients) and wanted to help you get them there.
However you get them there — the clients expect and want it. So what’s the plan?
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