“I haven’t got enough time to look after everyone on my account list”

When clients tell me that they need to grow their business, I find the best place to start is with the diagram on the right.

Whatever’s blocking growth can always be cleared by focusing on just one of these 3 sections at a time.

So, if you hear your sales team say things like;

“I haven’t got enough time to look after all the existing customers on my account list”

then their problem sits in the COST section.

As a definition of what I mean by COST  – I’m referring to anything that a sales person has at their disposal that is expendable – in particular I’m talking about;




The first question each member of your key account team need to ask themselves is; 

How much time should we allocate to make the most out of each opportunity?

But also – and possibly more importantly;

How much time have we actually got available to us to achieve it?

If your sales team are making statements that point you towards a mismanagement of TIME, MONEY or EFFORT, then they need to improve their Time Management and Account Management skills and almost certainly need to create a Structured Key Account Plan, while quite possibly requiring a more focused sense of direction and vision from their management team.

On top of that, your account management team will also need to understand the different forms of Account Portfolio Analysis (such as 80/20) – how to map out the way they are perceived by their account base (do buyers class us as; Critical, Strategic, Leverage or Commodity suppliers) – and how they should approach or improve those relationships moving forward.

Action Points for Your Next Team Meeting

Make sure your team;

  • Understand the difference between a sales role that requires them to follow a single straight line of business development and an account management role that multiple plates to keeping spinning at once
  • Can give you a short sharp review of their entire portfolio & tell you where the biggest opportunities lie
  • Have a time management system in place
  • Understand the methods their customers use to rate suppliers
  • Are keeping their CRM system up to date
  • Are embedding themselves as the trusted, primary supplier with all of their key accounts

Resources that you may find useful

3 Steps to Success in “Unwinnable” Key Accounts

The Questions Every Sales Manager Needs to Ask

What Do Your Sales Team Class as an Effective Call

Would Your Customers Give You a Sales Job



Further Resources


(click on links for full details)