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CRM and the Named Account Model - Square Peg, Round Hole?: Page 2

By David Taber     Feedback
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Setting Up Your CRM System for Named Accounts

While CRM systems have a number of technical mechanisms (record types, page layouts, sales processes, etc.) to hide some of these symptoms, the issue is really deeper. NAMs are doing different things for different reasons than the standard rep, so you need to make some structural changes to make the CRM really useful for the NAM. You'll also need to make significantly different reports and dashboards for them so that upper management doesn't get confused.

Typically, the NAM has no interest in Leads — he just wants to make sure that nobody calls in to his Account. The first task is to find all the Leads who seem to be working for divisions of your company's NAM list. This can be a tall order when dealing with companies whose divisions are all over the map and don't have the parent company in their name or email domain (like Pixar and Touchstone and ABC for the Walt Disney Company). Expect to spend some time on that issue, but once you've got a lookup table you can (1) get the relevant Leads owned by the appropriate NAM and (2) instantly move them to Contact status. Make sure that your lead routing system is configured to use the lookup table before it evaluates other rules so that the ongoing lead flows behave the same way. (In most CRM systems, you'll have to write some code for this.)

To make things a little easier for the NAMs, you should set up an Account hierarchy to which you can properly associate each of those Contacts. Typically, we recommend setting up a holding company at the top of the tree (even if there isn't a formal holding company) with no contacts, opportunities, or tasks associated. The purpose of the holding company is to represent the corporate entity only, and we typically name it the stock ticker for the company (following our example, DIS). Underneath the top level are the various operating units which have employees (contacts) and do deals (opportunities), typically in a hierarchy of three or more levels. It's important to have a consistent naming convention across all the NAM accounts so that it's easy to pull reports at the national or divisional level (for example, Disney's radio stations might be under an account named "DISN - US - ABC Radio."

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Finally, use the CRM system's security settings so that the standard geographic reps see little, if anything, about the NAM Account data. And the same thing in reverse. For most sales organizations, it's just none of their business: the NAMs and standard reps aren't executing the same business process. It's better if each sales team has visibility only into the data they actually need to work with.


This article was originally published on February 12, 2011
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