Business Development RoadmapPrepare
During the Prepare stage, the key account manager identifies whom to pursue, builds relationships, and gets the information needed to develop a win strategy. This strategy enables the proposal team to begin to create a proposal that communicates the right messages to the customer. Prepare includes:
- Prospecting: Account managers must look to the future and see who their potential customers are and what opportunities may be in the future with the customer. Prospecting involves immersion into the community or region to learn everyone’s short- and long-term plans.
- Initial Contact: First impressions are lasting ones and the account manager must give thought to how initial contact will take place and what perception is left with the potential customer. Have an elevator speech describing the benefits your company brings to the market prepared and ready to use when asked.
- Relationship Building: You should strive to build relationships with individuals at all levels in the customer’s organization. Nurture the relationship by always providing value added information or ideas to deepen the relationship.
- Perception Management: Learn what your potential customers think about you, your company, and your past performance. If positive, continue to build the relationship. If the perception is not positive, take steps to change their perception as you build the relationship.
- Information Gathering: Having a strong and growing relationship with a customer opens the door for you to be able to seek out information about the potential customer. Information is important in preparing to respond to an opportunity and your focus should be on what information you need and how to get it.
- Opportunity Identification and Assessment: Your relationship with a potential customer will enable you to identify upcoming opportunities. You should also have a process to assess each opportunity to determine the viability of the opportunity and whether you should pursue.
- Key Account Planning & Management: Having a key account plan enables you to capture information about an opportunity and use account planning tools to develop a win strategy for the opportunity.
- Win Strategy Development: To prepare for developing a winning proposal it is key to use strategy tools to chart your course to a winning strategy. If you identify the customer’s key needs and what are the important messages that will resonate with the customer, you can create a draft proposal even before the owner releases an official Request for Proposal (RFP).