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Video: Managing Global Accounts

Many organizations have introduced global, strategic or complex accounts management, sometimes even as a response to customer requests or to focus on their relationship with their most important clients.

Developing sales and delivering service remain essential, but building and maintaining relationships with these customers represents a major step up in complexity.

In addition to their sales skills, global accounts people need to be able to manage this complexity to create value for our most important customers.

Customers are not interested in the challenges you face in managing your own business complexity, but they do expect you to be able to cope with theirs.

Global account managers have to manage the complexity of their customers, but also deal with the internal complexity of their own organizations to get things done.

And often it’s more challenging to overcome your own internal complexity.

There are five common challenges that our clients experience in operating global accounts organizations and tea

1.Managing the matrix

A global account structure usually cuts across the traditional vertical silos of geography and function and sometimes across business units.

Global accounts managers need the skills to manage multiple reporting lines and competing priorities, as well as be able to align different parts of the matrix to deliver customer value.

They also need to understand and navigate this complexity within their customers to build the right networks to sell and deliver products or services around the world.

2. Global or local

Second is deciding where it adds value to be ‘global’ or and where to be ‘local’. Global account managers need to be able to drive selective decisions on the key areas where a global approach adds value, but not unnecessary cost – in the customer, as well as in their own, organization.

They need tools for structuring and making these decisions rationally and clearly, in a way that can be understood by all of their key stakeholders

3. Working without ‘traditional’ authority

Third is mobilizing resources without traditional authority. Global account managers need to constantly form virtual teams that cross organizational boundaries, including both customers and third party suppliers.

They need to get things done and solve problems on behalf of the customer, They need the skills to set up  any virtual teams working across distance, cultures, time zones and through technology  – and often without traditional line authority.

4. Speed and Agility

Fourth is speed and agility: global account managers often lead the relationship  between two very complex organizations. It can be challenging to mobilize resources and get things done fast.

Common symptoms of failure to cope with business complexity include too many meetings conference calls, emails and control mechanisms.

Global accounts teams need simpler ways of working together, or they can become slow, expensive to run, and demotivating to work in.

5. Navigating corporate cultures

And fifth is navigating corporate cultures

Large organizations often have distinct corporate cultures and ways of doing things. They can also have high levels of internal diversity with different national, functional and business cultures.

Global accounts managers need to be able to understand the best ways to get things done in the customers’ culture and to help their own organizations adapt to the way the customer wants to be served.

Addressing these challenges effectively allows global account teams to build closer relationships with our customers and deliver services and projects faster and at lower cost – all critical to building a successful  and profitable long-term business relationship

Global accounts people often find themselves addressing these issues before other internal business functions are ready to do so. Leading change inside your own organization can sometimes be even more challenging than working with global customers.

See an interactive graphic on our global account management learning path and module contents.


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