Alignment around strategic accounts offers another potential benefit: higher-profit sales. Forming relationships,
Attempting to sell strategically to a transactional account is similar to burning a thousand-dollar bill for heat.
Granted, there are large accounts that use their volume to force price breaks and greater service levels, both of which can torpedo supplier margins. That situation takes us back to the critical selection of the right accounts, particularly strategic rather than transactional
If large accounts in your industry tend to be
As an example of how selling productivity rather than products can create higher-profit sales, consider the Marriott-Deloitte & Touche story.
Imagine you're a global firm and one day, a major division shows up and finds all its
D&T sent out an RFP for temporary office space to several major hotel chains, among them Marriott International. Their RFP seemed pretty straightforward. D&T was looking for 200–250 offices for a minimum of two months—starting immediately. As Patrice Spinner, the Marriott International Alliance Account Sales Director for D&T said, a typical hotel response would have been to offer availability and pricing. And most chains responded to D&T that way.
But Spinner wanted to play a different game. She and other Marriott managers
The Marriott team's solution included room pricing and availability, plus safety and security systems, food and beverage options, telecommunications (Internet connections, phone banks, etc.), office furniture rental (Marriott was the only firm with a furniture rental division—about which Spinner knew nothing before this project), consolidated billing, and customer service. The team goal, included in the Marriott proposal, was to "deliver a comprehensive office relocation package that provides Deloitte & Touche with virtually uninterrupted service to clients." This is a value proposition far beyond rooms.
Marriott won the bid. Then
Normally the time frame on a job this large would have been weeks or even months. But working together, the Marriott team (Spinner's "volunteer army") readied the hotel for
The glue that held D&T and the clients together was Marriott's turnkey customer service package. Marriott even set up and staffed a call center to take D&T's incoming calls. Marriott had its people trained in how to take calls for D&T, and they now handle approximately 800 to 1,000 calls daily, routing each to the correct office or voice mail. To D&T clients, the service was transparent.
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