As a sales leader, are you looking for the best way to train your high-performing Account Managers (AMs)?
Do you worry that generic sales or customer service training won’t meet the needs of your AMs?
If so, you’re not alone.
That’s because AMs need specific training tailored to their role and responsibilities, not some out-of-the-box training. What’s even worse is that this one-size-fits-all approach to training generally assumes all AMs are at the same level and have the same skills. We know this just isn’t the case.
Account Managers play a critical role in customer retention and growth. Their specialized position straddles sales and service, focusing on strategic expansion within key accounts. Despite this, companies need to provide their AMs with adequate and role-specific training for their AMs.
For maximum impact, AMs need customized programs tailored specifically to their needs. The right training teaches the mindset and capabilities needed to uncover customer challenges and demonstrate continual value.
Things To Look For In An AM Training Course
Many AMs start their roles with little formal training. A quick crash course on “how to do your job,” and they’re off to the races.
Frequently, they get lumped into sales or customer service training courses that don’t address the unique skills and challenges of the AM position. However, specialized training is a golden key to setting up your account managers for success. Here’s what to look for.
AM-Specific TrainingAccount Managers occupy a unique space between sales and customer service. Their role focuses on strategic account growth and retention – it's not the same as a customer service rep or a field sales rep who is actively hunting.
So, the first thing to look for in AM training is content specifically tailored to the account manager function, not repurposed from other departments’ programs.
AM-specific training programs should stress the following:
- Account Managers Are Not Field Sales Reps. Treating them like traditional sales reps leads to misalignment.
- They’re Farmers, Not Hunters. Account managers have existing relationships to manage; they aren’t actively hunting for new deals. The training they receive should reflect that.
Buyers Have Changed and Training Should Reflect It. Buyers have sky-high expectations, and AMs need to be ready for that.
- Navigating the Decision-Maker Map Is Essential. It’s a tangled web out there, and AM training needs to address it head-on.
- How To Uncover and Understand Buyer Priorities. AMs need to be taught to dig deep and understand what’s on their customer’s whiteboard.
Generic, out-of-the-box training programs often assume all AMs are at the same skill level, facing identical challenges – this is rarely the case. Effective training takes a customized approach aligned to each client’s specific needs. No two AMs are the same. Programs should be adaptable to each AM's existing skills, knowledge gaps, and customer environments. The training structure needs customization, too – virtual learners have different needs than in-person.
At its core, training has to revolve around the customer and how to uncover and address their needs, challenges, and goals. Programs should instill an Other-Centered® mindset focused outward on the client rather than inward on quotas or assumed needs.
AMs should learn skills like active listening and questioning to uncover customer challenges and figure out what’s on their whiteboard – that tell-all with their goals and dreams written on it. Training should also provide frameworks to map accounts and identify growth opportunities, all through the lens of customer value.
Effective training drives real transformation in an AM's knowledge and skill set. But change is hard, and it requires the right mindset to make information stick. Your AMs need to understand why it is in their best interest to change. Some won’t buy in, and that’s okay – the right training will drive it home for the AMs driven to succeed.
Training programs need to focus on this mindset component using science-backed techniques to drive behavioral change. Coaching and reinforcement are also vital for locking in these new skills.
Real World Application
Very few people actually enjoy roleplaying… there, we said it. Reps need real-world practice and application. It’s where the real test comes. Hands-on training through live customer interactions accelerates skill development. AMs need opportunities to practice new techniques on the job and receive tailored feedback.
Application drives true comprehension and confidence that they can take to the bank.
The impact of training falls flat without ongoing reinforcement. The ideal program for AMs provides continued learning through frameworks, tools, and coaching. For example, account blueprints and relational maps can help AMs navigate the complexities of their key accounts and give them a tool to refer back to through the customer lifecycle.
How ASLAN Training Differs
It’s no secret – existing training programs might not be cutting it for your team. But there’s hope yet.
We’re a little different here at ASLAN, and we’ll be the first to tell you that we’re not for everyone. Our training takes an in-the-trenches approach tailored to each client’s needs. Training with us focuses on a customer-driven approach that instills an Other-Centered® mindset.
Every framework, tool, and strategy is built on the idea that our role as account managers is ultimately to serve the customer. With that mindset, sellers are more motivated to grow their accounts, and customers are more receptive to investing in the total solution.
Account Management Training With ASLAN
For maximum impact, AM programs need specialized, customized content driven by customer value, change-enablement, and real-world application. Your front-line leaders need diagnostic tools, skill development activities, resources to teach and reinforce new content, and ongoing support to lead the charge. Ongoing support is critical to long-term success, and ASLAN has that zeroed in.
If your Account Management team could use a little leveling up, and it makes sense, connect with us. We’d love to discuss how ASLAN Training programs can serve your team best.