Why selling is hard for key account managers
Key Account Managers are busy making sure clients get the best from what they've already bought. That frequently means stepping in to save the day when things go wrong.
When are you supposed to find time to sell them something new?
Here's a few more hurdles you might face:
- Your clients already have all of our products. What's left to sell?
- Sales gave most of it away - how are you supposed to get clients to pay for features they get for free?
- You're only the local lead - decision makers are in other countries.
- There's not actually anything to sell (except maybe some shady or outrageously priced add-ons that no-one is ever going to buy)
So yeah, sales isn't exactly a piece of cake when key account managers wear so many hats.
I've handpicked a few sales podcasts that really speak to the challenges of selling to existing customers.
What makes these sales podcasts the best?
I'm subscribed to 53 podcasts at the latest count. And I've listened to a lot more than that in my quest to find value from the 500,000+ podcasts around today.
What these podcasts all provide is a generous insight into the entire sales cycle from the point of view of the buyer AND the seller to give you, as a Key Account Manager, a three-dimensional view of sales.
You are what you listen to
The knowledge these podcasts share is pure gold and you will become a better Key Account Manager and sales person if you spend a little time each week with them.
I've spared you the painstaking hours of searching for the proverbial needle in the podcast haystack. and am delighted to share with you now my picks for best sales podcasts.
Sales Success Stories podcast
Host Scott Ingram interviews successful sales professionals and account managers in the Sales Success Stories podcast. Because he’s an Account Director himself, he understands there's more to sales than selling. There’s a few things that make this podcast particularly special:
- Scott isn’t afraid to call bullshit on corporate buzz words and encourages his guest to speak the truth.
- This podcast thrives on the details. Every episode is like a blueprint for success. Scott makes sure his guests connect the dots for us so we know exactly how they went from there to here ranging from what books they read, habits and routines they follow to tips and strategies.
- You WILL learn something. There’s not an episode where I haven’t had an aha moment or been challenged to think differently.
- The show takes as long as it takes. I love that. So many podcasts cut the conversation short because they have a “format”. Sales Success Stories runs anywhere between 45 minutes to 2 hours. It’s pure gold, absolutely no padding in these episodes.
Scott interviews Phil Terrill who was Microsoft’s #1 Inside Sales Corporate Account Manager last year. He was responsible for managing 168 accounts! For any account managers that think "I have too many clients" - you'll want to listen to this. Phil shares a huge amount of advice on how to manage your portfolio, your boss and your clients to get results.
Inside Selling podcast
The tagline for Inside Selling is a "podcast for selling, without selling your soul" - don't you love that? it's all about how to effectively sell without putting pressure on yourself or your clients. Hosted by Josh Braun and a guest, they cover a lot of sales fundamentals and lead generation tactics which are very relevant to Key Account Managers.
Your clients already bought your services. To be honest, they're not really looking to spend MORE money with you - usually they want to spend less. You've got a tough set of objections you need to manage, much like the cold caller.
If you want to know how to get clients to read your emails, what to do when the conversation goes cold or how to tap into your personality to get results - this is the podcast for you.
Josh is joined by Liston Witherill and they discuss sales negotiation tactics from the book Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator. They argue that we should stop pushing for yes and instead turn our questions into "no"-oriented questions encourage prospects to feel comfortable opening up so you can get to more truth.
The Art of Procurement podcast
How much do you understand about the buying process, supplier management and procurement? If you're like me, not a lot.
The Art of Procurement podcast might be an unexpected entry into list of 3 best sales podcasts but If your selling to buyers, then you kind of need to think like one.
- What challenges are procurement facing?
- How do they interact internally with stakeholders and externally with suppliers?
- How do they evaluate supplier performance?
- What negotiation tactics do they use?
- How are contracts awarded and managed?
All these questions and many more are answered in this informative and entertaining podcast hosted by Philip Ideson.
I have learned so much about the procurement process and the podcast has dramatically altered my view of how companies buy.
Not all of my experiences with procurement have been happy ones. In fact many have been down right miserable. You're always in a vulnerable position as a supplier and some people choose to exploit that. They think that in order to win, someone has to lose. The infamous zero-sum game.
I really enjoyed this episode with guest Kate Vitasek, Founder of the Vested business methodology as she and Philip unpick why so many of supplier relationships are win/lose and how procurement can - and should - create relationships based on the notion of shared value.
The best sales podcasts are of course, the ones you enjoy. Don't limit yourself to these. If they're not your cup of tea, I won't take it personally.
If you're eager for more, check out this list of active sales podcasts maintained by Top1.fm. (the latest tally as at April 2021 was 373 podcasts!)
Keep learning, have fun and come find me on Twitter if you want to chat about your favourites.