I just read a blog from a sales expert that I respect highly. He is on a board to select the Sales Person of the Year Award for an association. So he commented on account managers vs. sales people. His conclusion was that account managers are not really top notch sales people in the context of hunting for and closing new business.
Well, I strongly disagree. Account managers need to be your best hunters, networkers, interviewers, presenters and C-level relationship sellers.
Account managers have to be aggressive sales people. They have the best potential to grow company sales way beyond what a sales person prospecting for new accounts can.
Account managers need to be cross-selling new products and services to sold contacts, and also networking to new divisions and profit centers within the account to sell more of the same or new products and services. They have the best opportunity to make those sales.
Aggressive selling for an account manager is what will sustain and grow companies - especially in this economic downturn. Account managers need to be "Spreading Like a Virus" to C-levels/Profit Center leaders and their staffs to learn issues about their business related to the solutions they provide.
Account mangers are the best source of proactive selling for an organization and should be measured primarily on the increases in sales they generate.
So if your account managers are not great sales people, it's time to upgrade them. If you’re a sales person and have good customers, it time to start getting more sales from them.