I don’t know what your company calls the “BIG ACCOUNTS,” but I used to work for a company that called them “whales.” They weren’t necessarily Super Groups, but they definitely had multiple locations and a minimum of six physicians – all with purchasing power (or at least you assume).

In my experience, sales managers and other members of leadership are often hungry for these accounts; one may even say obsessed with acquiring these accounts. My vote – let someone else have ’em.

OK, this is not a blanket statement. I am not saying that working with physicians in larger practices is always a chore; however, I think the main point I’m making here is to stop overlooking the non-whale accounts that (1) often result in a higher quality partnership/relationship, (2) have less cooks in the kitchens making decisions, (3) are easier to manage, (4) usually stick around for the long run, resulting in much higher ROI.

Let’s go through each of these benefits individually….

First, when working with a practice that is shorter staffed, you will find that the DPM relies more heavily on you, without sucking your time – because they don’t have any! I have found in those scenarios, the relationship also becomes stronger because they look to you as an ally; and if you weren’t around to support them, it would throw a major wrench in their routine and it could potentially cost them a lot of time (which results in money lost) to figure out an alternative.

Second, when there are fewer cooks in the kitchen making decisions, there are fewer people voting on an alternative that isn’t you! Think about it; DPMs have their favorite companies and their favorite reps. If you have a good relationship with 2/7 of the practice’s DPMs, but don’t’ know the other 5, it’s not guaranteed that your two votes are going to be enough to keep the account. Often these practices choose single providers vs. allowing each DPM to work with their own vendors.

Third, smaller accounts are easier to manage. Obviously anything that isn’t robust is easier to manage, but I’m not talking about lack of orders. You can have a smaller practice be one of your largest revenue-drivers and be simpler to manage than a practice with several physicians (usually as a single account, but then the branching off of sister accounts), several shipping locations, several shipping requests, several product specification requests, etc. Usually the more people there are to manage in a single account, the less likely you’re going to satisfy all their individual needs.

Fourth, they usually stick around for the long run, resulting in greater ROI. This benefit stems off of the first one in a sense, but let’s focus more on the ROI factor. When you’re calculating ROI of a client account, I would be extremely surprised if you didn’t have a much larger expense report trying to close the “whale.” Then, when you do close the “whale,” because of the potential for staffing changes and the difficulties that come with pleasing large accounts, there is a greater chance that you will lose the account in comparison to a smaller, more manageable account that knows you, trusts you, relies on you, and pays you over and over again with loyalty… oh and profits.

So what does this have to do with Conquering Conferences??? Well, when you head to meetings, avoid getting starry-eyed over the “whales” that are on the top of your prospecting list. Keep fresh bait alive for the decent sized fish who are more than willing to feed you as long as you keep providing a quality product, excellent customer service and the support they deserve.
Thoughts? Questions? Email Me!
Sarah Breymeier: beheard@podiatrymeetings.com

-Sarah Breymeier