Have you heard of key accounts? They play an important role in B2B sales processes. Unlike with B2C sales, B2B sales typically revolve around accounts. These accounts may consist of a single high-level of professional, or they may consist of multiple professionals, all of whom work at a given business. Some of these accounts, however, may prove may valuable than others. Key accounts are those that offer the greatest value to your B2B company. While key accounts can vary, most of them feature the five following characteristics.
#1) Decision-Making Authority
Key accounts typically have decision-making authority. In other words, they can buy products and services for their respective business. They don't have to seek approval from other professionals. If a key account believes a product or service can help his or her business, the key account may purchase it. Most key accounts have the authority to make purchase-related decisions such as this.
#2) Large Budget
Another characteristic of key accounts in B2B sales is a large budget. Key accounts have deeper pockets and more money to spend on products or services than standard accounts. The large budget of key accounts is one of the reasons why they are so valuable.
#3) Existing Buyers
For one or more high-level professionals to be considered a key account, they must have already purchased products or services from your B2B company in the past. Key accounts are existing buyers; they aren't new prospects. Rather, key accounts are existing buyers with whom your B2B company has already closed deals. New prospects may be converted into key accounts, but this can only happen after in the latter stages of their relationship with your B2B company -- specifically after they've purchased products or services.
#4) Custom Needs
The needs of key accounts are often different than those of standard accounts. You can often use the sales pitch -- or at least a similar sales pitch -- for all standard accounts. Key accounts, on the other hand, often have custom needs that require a custom sales pitch. This is why many B2B companies Key Account Management.
Key accounts are profitable. You'll still incur costs when identifying and selling to key accounts. Nonetheless, key accounts are profitable in the sense that they'll generate more revenue for your B2B company that the collective total of these costs. Other accounts may or may not be profitable. But you can rest assured knowing that key accounts are profitable.