Recently in China we delivered a three-day workshop in Strategic Account Management. Many things were different. China has 33 provinces or states. Account managers can be responsible for one or more province. So what? Well as the table below shows, the ten biggest provinces have populations between 54 million and 104 million. So an account manager can be responsible for a region with a population of between 2 and 4 times the population of Australia. How’s that for a challenge in managing your time?
What else is different? Surprisingly, hospitals get little funding from government: 10% or less. So, hospitals are expected to make a profit. This creates some interesting challenges and interesting opportunities.
As you can imagine there are many other things that are different. However despite all the differences account managers in China face, they face similar challenges to account managers around the world.
First, they are time-poor trying to manage too many accounts and influence too many internal departments.
Second, their organisations want this month’s sales instead of developing strategic relationships that will deliver bigger sales next financial year.
Third, they face challenges getting access to executives. And the reason they have challenges getting access to executives is they keep focusing on products. The answer to this third challenge is simple. Don’t focus on what executives don’t care about: products. Account managers should focus on what executives really care about: their business results.
Working in China highlighted many differences that account managers face. However, it also showed that account managers across the globe face many similar challenges. The biggest of these is how your account managers can get access to executives.