Out of the B2B companies I have worked for, the concept of a Named Account Model (NAM) implementation has found its way to the project list over and over. For those of you unfamiliar with a Named Account Model (AKA Strategic Account, Key Accounts, Enterprise Account, Global Account List), the Sales Team members are assigned a predetermined set of Accounts for outbound prospecting, rather than working inbound leads assigned based on territory (either geo or vertical based). Accounts are selected based on their revenue, geo, industry, similarity to your current customers, need for your product, fit for your product, current customer status, and existing relationship between your company and theirs. Named Account team members are assigned between 10-50 Named Accounts each. The alignment of account to user is determined based on leadership, proximity of the team member to the customer, ownership of current customer accounts, users’ primary industry based on skills and sales history, and the relationship individual users have with the target company.
The NAL is preloaded into Salesforce with the D&B data, with the primary Named Account being either a) the holding company at the top of the hierarchy globally (Global Ultimate Parent, GUP) or b) the highest account regionally (Domestic Ultimate Parent, DUP). The child accounts that role up to the holding company are also assigned to the rep, either entirely or regionally. The Named Account team only works Named Account hierarchies, they need to, and all inbound leads from companies outside of this list handled by the Corporate Sales team. The model is designed to utilize and benefit from the existing network connections sales team members have, bringing in higher revenue and long-term relationships. They will need to study the companies, employee relationships, in their account planning to determine and present the use case and solution to the customer.
Many admins dread the Named Account List, and, it is understandable. A strong team with diverse knowledge and strong skill sets will greatly aid in completing the project. The three primary are data analysis, business process, and technical design & development.
- Data analysis is used, to create the list and align to users based historic data for new customer revenue, renewal rates, your churn rates, all by industry, revenue for the company & each team member, and individual user performance trends.
- Business process is used to determine how to structure the marketing, how should the account management be designed, rep requirements, ROE, methodology, you know, the business-y stuff.
- The technical side is making the process work with the data in Salesforce. You determine what is best for your org, while making the design flexible for future change, yet stable with a limited impact on user. This also involves an on-going support plan, usability monitoring, and keeping your documentation up to date.
Before Phase 1 of your project, it is important to sit down with sales leadership and understand why a Named Account Model is being considered and what should be the result of the change. This is a decision not to be taken lightly, and just grabbing the F500 list and saying, “let’s do this,” will only have a negative impact. The companies selected, the number of companies, the account management plan the sales team will be following, the ROE, the amount of work put into these decisions and from there the model itself is directly related to whether or not there will be success with the implementation. I have seen firsthand planned vs. slapped together NAMs, everyone needs to understand the goals. In addition, you need to be in these meetings with leadership so you can properly understand their goals and ideas; emails and second-hand knowledge can lead to design flaws and implementation fails (which in turn lead to sales team fails).
The decision to implement a Named Account Model, cannot be made by one team alone, you must bring in marketing. You will not be successful if they are not properly informed of the idea, and brought into the decision-making. If marketing is unable to support the change currently, you cannot make the change now. Everyone needs to work together to determine the best project start date, deployment date(s), and additional requirements for their team.
Once you have reviewed the reasons for the implementation and sales, marketing, and operations (you) teams agree that a NAM is the right way to go, you need to continue to communicate. Implementing a NAM does not only affect the sales process or every single Salesforce User, but every single person in every department related to customers (directly or indirectly). That means the Named Account Team, Corporate Sales, Account Development, Marketing, Finance, Support, Services, Customer Success, Product Development, Leadership, EVERYONE needs to be in the loop regarding the implementation.
So before you start working on your NAM, you need to let everyone know what a NAM is, that you are doing it, why you are doing it, and then regularly update them with the status. The people that need the most information and a voice in your implementation are all Sales, SalesOps, Marketing, and all Leadership. I have to stress this again, you MUST communicate with all departments the details of this project. Think of it this way, every time you don’t inform other departments about your project, a kitten dies. Don’t kill kittens, please.
In Part 2 we will review the project planning & requirements, with links to documents to get you started.