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Why do account managers sometimes fail growing their accounts?

Account managers play a key role in the success of any business. They are responsible for managing customer relationships, ensuring customer satisfaction, and driving sales. However, many account managers struggle to grow their accounts to their full potential. There are several reasons that may contribute to this challenge.

Reason 1-  Lack of understanding of customer needs

Account managers may not have a deep understanding of their customers’ businesses, goals, and challenges. It becomes difficult to identify sales opportunities for growth within the account and provide relevant solutions.

Companies often outsource their business intelligence to third-party providers, which can create a disconnection between the strategic and tactical sides of the business. When sales teams have a complete understanding of the company’s goals and challenges, they can identify opportunities for efficient selling and impactful growth strategies through deep insight into the customer’s business. They are able to close deals through tailored solutions that address the customers’ needs and that would otherwise be challenging to reach.

Reason 2- Insufficient communication

If account managers fail to maintain regular and proactive communication with their clients, they may miss out on important information, feedback, and opportunities.

Regular communication allows account managers to gather feedback and suggestions from clients. Without this feedback loop, they may miss valuable insights that could have driven product improvements and process enhancements, or identify areas where the client experience can be improved.

Reason 3- Inadequate relationship building

If account managers do not invest time and effort in building relationships, clients may not feel valued or understood, resulting in limited growth potential.

The first rule of business is, “You must establish relationships.” The second rule is, “Relationships must be nurtured.” And the third rule is, “Relationships must be maintained.”

Taking a proactive stance demonstrates a commitment to the clients’ success and shows that the account manager is invested in their business. This fosters trust and strengthens the relationship, making it more likely for the client to engage in future collaborations or refer the account manager to other potential clients.

Reason 4- Lack of product knowledge

Without adequate knowledge of the products or services they are offering, account managers may not be able to effectively articulate the value proposition or identify upselling or cross-selling opportunities.

Account managers need to understand the features, benefits, and unique selling points of their products or services. With this knowledge, they can effectively communicate how their offers meet the specific needs and challenges of customers. By articulating the value proposition clearly, they can enhance customer understanding and increase the likelihood of sales.

Reason 5- Limited strategic thinking

Account managers should think strategically and proactively seek out opportunities for account growth.

If they focus only on reactive tasks or immediate needs, they may miss out on long-term growth potential. Account managers can identify new opportunities to expand the scope of their accounts by proactively analysing client needs, market trends, and competitor activities. This could involve suggesting new products or services, cross-selling or upselling, or exploring untapped market segments.

Reason 6- Ineffective account planning 

Lack of structured and comprehensive account planning can hinder growth. Account managers should have a well-defined plan that outlines growth objectives, strategies, and tactics for each account.

Account planning plays a crucial role in driving growth and success for businesses. Without a structured and comprehensive account planning approach, account managers may struggle to effectively manage and nurture client relationships, resulting in missed growth opportunities. A well-defined account plan provides a roadmap for account managers to align their efforts with the goals of each account and maximize their potential.

Reason 7- Failure to adapt to evolving customer needs

Customer needs and preferences change over time, and account managers need to stay attuned to these changes. Failure to adapt to evolving customer needs can result in missed growth opportunities.

Tailor your approach to each customer based on their individual preferences and requirements. By offering personalized solutions and demonstrating that you understand their unique needs, you can build stronger relationships and increase customer loyalty.

Account managers should invest in ongoing learning and development to stay updated on their accounts industry trends, customer behavior, and evolving technologies.

Reason 8-  Internal challenges

Account managers may face internal challenges within their organization that limit their ability to drive account growth. These challenges could include

  1. Limited resources: account managers may face challenges due to limited resources, such as insufficient budget or manpower. This can hinder their ability to provide the necessary support and services to their clients, impacting their potential for account growth.
  2. Lack of support from other departments: collaboration and support from other departments, such as marketing, product development, or customer support, are crucial for account managers. However, if these departments do not prioritize or align their efforts with the account manager’s goals, it can hinder customer engagement and impede growth opportunities.
  3. Internal processes: cumbersome internal processes can slow down the account manager’s ability to respond to customer needs quickly. If there are multiple layers of bureaucracy or lengthy approval processes, it can hinder effective communication and timely decision-making, impacting the account manager’s effectiveness.
  4. Inadequate commission scheme: a poorly designed or inadequate commission structure can demotivate account managers. If the commission scheme does not align with their efforts to drive account growth or lacks proper incentives, it may limit their drive and enthusiasm to pursue new opportunities or invest time and resources in existing accounts.
  5. Lack of training and development opportunities: continuous training and development are essential for account managers to stay updated with industry trends, enhance their skills, and provide better value to their clients. If the organization does not prioritize training or fails to provide adequate learning opportunities, it can hinder the account manager’s ability to drive account growth effectively.

Overcoming these challenges requires proactive steps from both the account manager and the organization. This can include advocating for additional resources, building relationships with other departments, streamlining internal processes, advocating for a fair commission scheme, and seeking out external training and development opportunities. Collaboration and open communication within the organization are key to addressing these challenges and creating an environment conducive to account growth.

It’s important to note that these factors may vary depending on the specific industry, company, or account management context. Overcoming these challenges often requires a combination of skills, knowledge, proactive engagement, and a customer-centric approach.



Nada is the Founder & CEO of WIN Sales & Marketing Programs. With 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, and management in different sectors, she acquired a rich experience that she is sharing with companies that strive to be innovative and successful in business. She has been highly successful in developing their human resources structure and in optimizing their operations and their sales force performance. She likes to focus on one main objective: how to help organizations achieve a better profitability and growth.

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