This page is designed to help everyone obtain a better knowledge of National Account Programs. It also includes the motivation for implementing one and the processes to a successful implementation. While it is not designed to provide final answers to all national accounts questions, it serves as a set of guiding principles for those in the firm responsible for the program’s success. There are four fundamental types of added value that might help you gain a competitive advantage:
- Processes that increase customer productivity, improve quality, reduce supply chain transaction costs, and result in measurable savings (unrelated to price).
- Technical and administrative assistance that can minimize your clients’ internal costs to the point that they impact your bottom line operating costs.
- Marketing and sales assistance that can help your customers enhance their bottom line.
- Technology that is critical to your customer’s business outcomes but exceeds their internal capabilities. All of these concerns should be refocused on by your national accounts program.
A national accounts program’s ultimate success is dependent on the hard work and teamwork of all firm employees involved with the process. In any national accounts program, there are four core components to success:
- Knowledge – Research your company’s internal processes and the inner workings of your national accounting program, if you have one.
- Research the business environment in which your organization operates and the resultant stated national accounts program objectives.
- Clarity – Determine the overall market and client need and direction. This should be a complete grasp of what your company is attempting to accomplish.
- Commitment – Ensure that your entire firm is on board.
It’s important to spell out your program’s goals, the steps involved, and the next steps so that you can get aid and support when you need it. It is vital to building this procedure if you do not already have one in place. Second, open communication (both up and down the chain of command) and activity measurement are crucial for success. Accountability is a must-have, and it must be defined clearly. Your company’s information management system can provide the key elements of success for the national accounts program.
The field view (external view) becomes more accessible to corporate headquarters due to this understanding. An internal corporate survey could provide the information needed to understand how a national accounts program is viewed. Local account reps’ and branch managers’ input is crucial.
Your organization should investigate how things are done and how a current program is viewed. Most importantly, field feedback and recommendations are required. Understanding the national account’s true demands is also crucial to the program’s success. Ask below questions to gain a better understanding:
- What are the true values of national account types?
- What drives our suppliers to offer these accounts exceptional terms?
- Do these accounts consider us to be partners?
- How much do we know about their company?
- Is it true that we are the principal source of supply?
- Is it possible to establish a win-win situation?
Everyone involved must have a clear knowledge of what you’re attempting to achieve. Recognizing the environment’s volatility is an important element of the puzzle. If you can sufficiently increase your customers’ perceived value, you’ll gain a “competitive advantage,” which is the first step in rebalancing the power imbalance inherent in every national accounts scheme.