January to March 2016

Key Account Management and Flint Group

Flint Group serves the global printing, converting and colourant industries. With an unrivalled and unique product portfolio, Flint is an industry leader delivering value, consistent quality and continuous innovation.

Customers range from packaging converters to commercial printers to publishers. It‘s an increasingly competitive marketplace in which some products initially appear similar and as a consequence price pressures can be intense.

Building the right customer relationships and clearly demonstrating and delivering extra benefits are vital to building and sustaining a profitable business.

Working with an experienced team of account managers and technical experts Brightbridge Consulting is engaged with the senior team to embed the principles and actions of Strategic (Key) Account Management.

This bespoke programme is running across 2016. Activities kicked off in February with communications to the core team about the ‘vision‘ and practical activities transferable to immediate challenges. This included consideration of strategies for mid-term performance and role plays for to improve ‘live‘ customer development.

 

Dealing with Procurement

Procurement has become increasingly important to Key and Strategic Account Management. The growth of corporate procurement and the impact of centralised and often remote decision makers has in some situations had a profound impact.

Through the Sales Performance Association (a dynamic cross-industry association serving the needs of experienced sales directors, executives, and academics) Brightbridge Consulting was involved in an excellent seminar examining how procurement managers segment their expenditure, set strategies for each segment and the tools they use to manage spend and control conversations.

Consideration was given on how to focus on value and move away from price.

Some key considerations include the principles of ‘asymmetric value’ – we have the knowledge to understand the value but the buyer doesn’t (are we communicating wisely) and the need to avoid ‘soft promises’ – unfounded suggestions that value ‘might’ be delivered which buyers refer to as ‘fantasy dollars’ (elements to avoid as they weaken perception of ‘real dollar’ value).

Advice relating to account management included proactively considering how best to deal with procurement to make value visible and to build a productive high value relationship for both parties.

 

The vital role of Strategic Account Management in New Product Development

Working with the right customers and right people within these customers transforms an organisations ability to deliver successful product, service and process innovation.

Brightbridge Consulting has recently facilitated workshops between a food service company and its key customer.

Great care was taken to set the objectives for the meeting. After several iterations ranging from strategic to tactical definitions a clear ‘problem statement’ emerged that all parties were motivated by.

Einstein stated ‘If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.’

Whilst everyone was keen to leap to solutions the workshop approaches broadly followed Einstein’s mantra; keeping the right problem in mind throughout proved invaluable.

With a position of trust built up through account management relationships market intelligence together with customer insights and foresights were openly shared in the joint customer/ supplier workshops.

With rich ingredients then at our fingertips and a sprinkle of creativity three “intriguing and potentially game-changing” concepts were born.

Great buy-in from key leaders within the customer provide confidence for the next progressive steps.