Account Management Insight & Best Practice


As we head toward the back end of this slightly unusual year we wanted to reflect back some thoughts that have come out of the conversations that we have been having across the sales function at Sophos as we were reflecting on the fact that over the last couple of weeks we have conducted:

  • 28 1:1 conversations with the US Director cohort and the EMEA cohort of MSM
  • 15 APJ Directors and Managers from Across GC/Japan, India, ASEAN and ANZ on 3 action learning calls
  • 14 1:1 customer call shadowing and coaching sessions with UK/I mid market


These sessions have highlighted key themes, many of which tie in with points raised on some of the “through disruption” webinar series we have run on coaching, sales and leadership that are available as a complimentary resource on our website


MSM Completion survey score: We have also received an average score of 9/10 from respondents to our follow up survey with APJ leaders (as their cohort has now completed) as a measure of the extent to which they are in agreement with the phrase that participation in MSM has made them a more effective sales manager.


This means that of all the attendees across the completed cohorts we have an average score of 9.2/10 to the same statement.


Key themes that have emerged from this months conversations are:


  • Track to run on and managers charter: The need for leaders and managers to focus their teams on the controllables and give them a clear “track run on” that is relevant to the current context. A number of the participants realised that this is the perfect time to review and refine their managers charter (some even referencing the need to create a “covid charter” and ensure that there is clarity at a very specific attitudinal and behavioural level as to what they expect from their team and what their teams can expect from them. As discussed with a number of the US team defining this at an individual sales team level (CAM/CAE/SE) is also going to be critical to ensure ongoing effectiveness.


  • Critical Success Factors: A number of the team have seen the power of critical success factors and ensuring that there is visibility, accountability and recognition of proactive activity that is relevant across all of the different roles. In particular we have emphasised intelligent activity based on resegmentation of account bases so that sales teams are investing time into highest areas of reward. From shadowing the sales team this is a key observation as many have not yet thought this through to the extent they should have (not helped by delays in finalisation of account bases/BOD)


  • Self Talk: The importance of conversations that activate the human brain and prevent the reptilian from taking over have been highlighted as key. Proactive mental hygiene is critical and as I reminded the teams through conversations we have defined a language to discuss these areas that they can talk through with their teams as well as providing practical tools and techniques that can be employed to help maintain a productive mindset amongst current disruption and uncertainty.


  • Motivating the team: The topic of maintaining motivation through the current context was also highlighted by a number of the team with the reminder that motivation = desire x expectation (belief) being key. The need therefore to proactively share and disseminate good news and to help set meaningful goals based on a true understanding of what is important to the individuals they work with has never being higher.


  • Coaching/Shadowing: On the topic of coaching we discussed the practical steps that could be taken to shadow in the current time. How when done well this is a significant deposit in the “emotional bank account” and that potentially this is easier now than it has ever been. Some are definitely seeing this for others it was a realisation that this should definitely be happening and that they could gain greater leverage by utilising their “A” players and also collaborating across regions and geographies to ensure best practices are clearly and consistently captured and disseminated.


  • Qualification/Discovery: An additional observation that I have from shadowing sales calls (and that I have heard from multiple leaders as they have shadowed calls) relates back to the ongoing need to ensure that reps ability in the areas of qualification and discovery is continually reinforced and enhanced. The impact of this on forecasting, conversion rates, deal size are clearly fundamental and like most tech sales organisations the temptation to avoid jumping into product and technical demos too early is paramount.


To talk to us more on account management, please get in touch by emailing or call us on +44 (0) 207 653 3740.

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