Fundamentals of Key Account Selling

Posted: October 24, 2013 in Sales / Biz Development

Key accounts, or strategic accounts, are different from the ordinary, and require more sophisticated skills and strategies. Here, Promotional Consultant Today shares four fundamentals for effectively penetrating key accounts.

1. Recognize that key accounts are different. Key accounts are larger, but that’s only the beginning. Their decision-making processes will be much more complex, and in some cases, highly structured. A product that may, in a smaller account, only need one person’s approval to purchase can require dozens of people to sign off on it in a key account.

2. Approach the organization of your time within a key account like you would your entire territory. When you look at your territory, you see lots of independent units we call accounts. You understand that each has a unique set of needs, budgets and personal dynamics, and that each offers its own set of opportunities.

When you approach a key account, think of it as a territory on its own, with lots of units that act like accounts. These units can be departments, branches, plants or whatever organization exists within that account. Each one of them may conceivably have the ability to purchase or move forward the purchase of your products and services. Each unit, whatever it may be, has its own unique set of needs, budgets and personal dynamics. And, in many cases, the purchasing power of one of those units can far outstrip the purchasing power of one of your smaller accounts. Just as you would take six months or a year to come to know the accounts in your territory, expect that it will take a similar period of time to identify and come to know all of the units within your key accounts.

3. Understand that you gain traction in key accounts through relationships, leverage and organization. If you are going to have influence in a key account, you must have relationships with the influential people. Because of the size of a key account and the natural movement of people within it, coming to know the influential people is not an event which has an ending, but is rather a constant process that never ends. Make a list of the people who you should know, and update it after every sales call.

Not only do you need to proactively expand your relationships deep into the organization, but you also need to focus upward and come to know those people who oversee combinations of units, and the C-level people in the corner suites.

Recognize the difference, plan your time as if each were a sales territory on its own and apply the weapons of relationship, leverage and organization to the task. You’ll be well on your way.



Creative Marketing Services is a next-generation promotional marketing firm based in Southwest Florida. We design creative, targeted, and cost effective promotional marketing solutions to help our clients build their brand, acquire & retain customers, increase sales & profits and recruit & motivate employees. To  discover how you can make your marketing more effective, visit

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