Is it time to rethink Account Manager training?

For some time at Sellex we have felt that the various offerings of Account Management training available today are not keeping pace with the market and its rapid rate of change. However, that was just our view. To more accurately take the temperature of the situation, we decided to get some input from leading consumer goods companies, and did so by getting more than 50 Commercial Directors and Sales Directors to complete a short survey.

From their responses, we concluded 4 recurring themes:

  1. Account Managers are trained with what’s available, which does not cater for all their needs. Although there are extensive offerings in some specialist areas such as category management and negotiation, other critical skill areas such as channel / account strategy, revenue management and sales mind-set are not well provided for. Sales Leaders are looking for more holistic training solutions, covering all the needs of the modern account manager.
  2. Relationship skills have gone out of fashion, but are still a burning platform. Our respondents all agreed that relationships are less important than they have been in the past, but they were emphatic that they are still a pivotal foundation of any account manager’s skill-set. The consistent feedback was that account managers are spending too much time sat in the office, and not enough building professional and collaborative relationships with key stakeholders within customers businesses.
  3. Line Manager involvement is essential, but rare. Over 85% of our respondents agreed that training workshops were still the best way to build skills, but nearly all of them voiced frustration about the sustainment of these new skills in the workplace, and the tendency of their salespeople to “revert to type” when pressure is on. Respondents especially bemoaned the fact that Line Managers are not involved, and can even see training programs as a way of “outsourcing” development.
  4. Technology is under-utilised in building the skills of a modern account manager. The respondents were generally not enthusiastic about online learning, but they nearly all voiced a frustration that technology is not being used to improve the effectiveness of skill-building in their businesses.

Based on these insights, Sellex has been through a major re-working of our account manager training platform, creating what we believe is now a unique and leading edge account management offering. The key characteristics of The Sellex Academy are:

  • A suite of 10 modules that cover all the skills of the modern account manager. The modules cover everything from planning and revenue management to selling and influencing. We don’t expect every client to deploy all of the modules, but there is a solution to every modern account management skill gap in The Sellex Sales Academy

  • Unique, 5-step process that focuses on Line Manager involvement and long term sustainment. Modules are delivered in a truly sustainable way, through a unique 5-step process (of which the workshop is just one step), that drives the accountability and probability of the delegate and their Line Manager to take their new-found skills back to their day job and make them stick.
  • Underpinned by technology. Technology now plays a critical role in The Sellex Academy, in two ways:
    1. Firstly, The Academy is housed in a newly designed, secure portal which allows clients to review available modules, sign up for them, track who has done what, and access everything they need to work through the 5 steps for each module;
    2. Secondly, an App has been designed with the specific objective of prompting delegates to quickly and easily exercise new skills and approaches in “their moment of need”, when the pressure is really on.

The Sellex Academy is set to help account managers step-change their skills and to be prepared for the myriad industry changes that are coming (or have come!) their way, as we approach 2020 and beyond. To learn more about The Sellex Academy or to arrange a meeting, drop an email to or call Russ Fowler in the UK on 07970 970495.

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