When pursuing a key account, much more time is spent with influencers, ie. those who may have an indirect interest in your services.
I call these types of conversations “discovery” conversations because you don’t spend your time “telling” or “selling”.
Strategic questions sound like this:
“The last quarterly report said…about shareholder value…how is this impacting your business unit?”
“I’m guessing from the CEO’s comments…your unit’s mandate for next quarter is….?”
“Knowing that the…market segment is under-performing, are resources being re-allocated?”
Tactical questions sound like this:
“Who makes the decision?”
“How much do you spend on…?”
Tactical questions will lead you to operations and purchasing!
Becoming a preferred vendor company-wide requires access to and influence with EVERYONE who would be impacted if your firm were to be hired. I have learned the hard way that there is never just one right person to talk to.
Influencers, champions, implementers and user groups each have different needs and will perceive your offering differently.
Each group will want different things from you and will see the value of what your firm offers quite differently.