Effective account management never happens by chance. If you want to succeed with one or more of your accounts, you need to have a method and a strategy to follow.
Over many years, many plans have been put forth, but only a select number have persisted to the present.
The Miller Heiman Large Account Management Process is one prominent example (LAMP).
For major account managers today, this approach provides a great structure for them.
Although the fundamental ideas have been hotly contested, they are generally still relevant in the economic world of today.
LAMP is intended for whom?
Large Account Management Process (LAMP) is intended for B2B organizations of all sizes. While the word large in its name may throw a lot of people off guard, it does not talk about the size of the accounts as much as it does about their importance. It refers to the accounts that these organizations need to thrive and gain a competitive advantage in the industry.
From an internal perspective, LAMP is extremely useful for any member of the organization involved in account management. This includes the professionals who handle sales and management and those responsible for post-sales support activities such as IT, customer service, and logistics. So, the right answer as to who LAMP is intended for is relevant to all the executives who will/ might have an ongoing relationship with a large account i.e., an account with huge growth potential.
Define the term – LAMP
LAMP – Large Account Management Process – as the name suggests, is the process that involves planning and managing relationships with high-value, strategic accounts. The process discusses ways to handle and grow such accounts by considering the entire account relationship. The method offers a robust road map to nurture strategic customer relationships within a one to three-year period wherein the team is given appropriate guidance on selling and customer collaboration initiatives.
LAMP works by –
Segmenting the customers
Now, this serves as the key step in the process. It involves segmenting the customers so that it is easier to narrow down and focus on the right set of audiences to be targeted. But segmentation for LAMP is based not just on the sizes or revenues that the accounts bring; the emphasis should be on the account with the unmissable potential for the organization’s overall growth.
The account management team should gather a lot of account-related data and analyze it to understand the account properly and make decisions accordingly.
Setting the organization’s goals
The next step in the process involves setting goals. LAMP emphasizes setting positive, qualitative goals with respect to the account. Remember that the goals are different for each account. They do not have to be hard numbers; however, the goals need to be beneficial, valid, recognizable, and measurable for both parties involved. It is important to keep in mind that the goals have to be set for 1 to 3 years.
Now, when setting goals, it is important that priority has to be given to the goals that are most profitable to the account. These decisions should also be made using the account data, and the most valuable, meaningful ones should be made.
Creating a strategy
Now that the most profitable accounts have been segmented and the goals have been set, the next step involves building a strategy. The step involves building a strategy that helps achieve the set goals. When building the strategy, a single account has to be zeroed in, and the efforts should be directed at reaching one goal at a time.
Another crucial point that has to be kept in mind is that the impact of the efforts is evaluated from time to time, and the resources are utilized properly. Evaluate the initiatives to make wise judgments on what works and what is not. This understanding will further help in understanding the further course of action.
Proceed with the plan
The next step involves developing objectives that help reach the goals – objectives are the short-term tasks that help in achieving the long-term goal. The account management team has to make sure that the objectives are achievable within a year or less and contribute towards achieving the final goal.
Acting to achieve the objectives helps move forward in achieving the goals, and it is an important part of the bigger plan.
Get a ‘nod’ from both parties
The next step involves getting buy-in from both parties involved. All the people involved in the project should agree on the goals, objectives, and strategy. This will also involve a nod from the technical team.
Now that everything is planned and okayed, the plan has to be tested and reviewed for 90 days. Based on the review, a further plan of action can be decided. Ninety days, i.e., three months, is ample time to evaluate and identify if the plan is effective or not and make changes accordingly.
This is how the LAMP: Large Account Management Process proceeds and gives an extraordinarily strong overview of handling large accounts.
The relevance of LAMP: Large Account Management Process in today’s time
Originally, Miller and Heiman introduced the LAMP model in 1991. However, the concepts stay relevant even today. The concepts of LAMP serve as concrete stepping stones to the current day’s key account management techniques that are of immense importance today. Despite being almost 25 years old, this approach continues to function largely in the same way as it did in 1991.
Further, it can be said that the book, which explains the LAMP and the way to handle large accounts, is still truly relevant because the concepts of sales and account management have not altered much in the past two decades. The book, which was extremely futuristic when it was first written, was refined, and released again in 2005. Most of the core concepts discussed in the book are still relevant in 2022.
The book is still very relevant for organizations trying to –
- Reverse the erosion within the key accounts
- Avoid the surprise of losing out on key clients
- Boost customer profitability
- Work together internally to maximize the potential of strategic accounts.
- A shift from being a seller to a valued advisor to important clients
- Ensure that relationships with strategic clients endure despite changes in managers or important sponsors
- Achieve the executive team’s goals for account growth
Benefits that you can derive from LAMP: Large Account Management Process
Applying LAMP, the sales team can analyze the current status of the account relationship to identify possible inconsistencies and create a shared vision with the clients.
Establish a common dialogue between the account management team with the executives from the clients’ team to enhance collaboration and communication.
Acquire the ability to create measurable sales and customer relationship goals.
The account management teams can develop a futuristic, shared vision that will further result in multi-year account growth that benefits both parties involved.
The application of the model will open doors to access many tools and techniques that offer communication breakdown and also help gain a competitive advantage.
Helps set clear goals and objectives to boost sales and build relationships with measurable results.
Enables to allocate resources with greater efficiency.
Gather account data, analyze, and draw meaningful insights to support decision-making.
Identify and segment the most important large accounts into manageable segments. This will further help align the internal resources with the needs and requirements of the customers.
How do you manage large accounts as a key accounts manager?
The long-term success of a sales team is less about the ability to sell and more about the skill to handle customer relationships. This is where key accounts management enters and takes dominance. The key accounts management is all about planning and managing customer accounts that are extremely important for the business. This also includes the Large or key customer accounts that can make a real difference. The best way to handle these accounts is through the LAMP framework.
Determine your key accounts
The first step is identifying the accounts of utmost importance to the organization. Now, what exactly is a large account or a key account? The definition differs from one organization to the other. However, key accounts are different from regular accounts, and there are significant differences between them. Reasons such as the sales cycle, size of sales, reputation of the account, sales potential, or the probability of selling add-on services, etc., are some key factors that could be considered when separating normal accounts from key accounts. Remember to think about the clients/ accounts that give you significant results.
You must have a precise criterion to identify and segment your clients from the rest. Start with a small group, and you could add more accounts on the go.
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Recognize your customers’ needs
Now that you have narrowed down your key accounts, you will have to understand your customers! When we say understand customers, we do not simply mean that you will have to know what the customer does or what they need. Your understanding should go beyond that. You will have to understand the customer’s industry of operation, the customer’s customers, and their competitors. Your research should also focus on understanding the customers’ pain points and their challenges. You should also understand the latest developments in the business and their industry.
Thanks to the internet and technologies, collecting and analyzing this information is not an exceedingly challenging task. With the right approach, you will be able to gather valuable information and gain excellent insights from it. Based on this understanding, you should focus on ways or strategies to help you build and strengthen your relationships with the accounts.
Aim for long-term management
The last step in the process requires you to think long-term rather than for short-term. Because these are key accounts that will significantly impact the profitability and growth of your business, you will have to ensure that the strategies are built to foster a long-term relationship with the account. This means that you should be serving them even during non-sales periods.
As a part of this, your focus should also be on building knowledge around the account. Your internal teams should be prepared for activities to engage and strengthen account relations and should know what works and what does not work for the client. The internal teams should understand that a sizeable portion of managing key accounts does not involve closing sales, at least not at this time. Customer retention is the utmost crucial factor in account management, and it should be done over an extended period of time.
In some ways, LAMP: Large Account Management Process is the ancestor of key account management techniques. While there are some differences in how LAMP: LAMP: Large Account Management Process is implemented and some of the exact steps you take, many of the fundamental account management tactics used today share many parallels with LAMP.
Depending on the organization’s primary focus and the objective you are trying to achieve, some key account management plans place more emphasis on certain planning elements than others. 44
A flexible framework like LAMP: Large Account Management Process can help your business achieve impressive results and great account management strategies. It is a system that can still help you and your accounts by assisting you in building stronger relationships over time, not a system that is out of date.
Rohan has over 11 years of experience in client services, marketing and hospitality field. Previously, he was head of digital marketing for a hi-tech mobile application. Rohan is driven by new challenges and the possibility of making an impact on individuals and businesses.
Published November 29, 2022, Updated May 15, 2023