If you are a Salesforce user, your company has an Account Executive, or“AE.” Heck, if you’re even just thinking about getting Salesforce, you have one. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: working with your Salesforce AE can be a win-win. Here are a few tips from my clients and AEs on cultivating a mutually successful relationship.
First, who the heck is your Account Executive?
You probably know this from prior conversations. But, if you don’t (and that is possible), it’s easy to find out. First, make sure your user profile has Checkout enabled. If you need help enabling Checkout, follow these instructions. Second, log in to Salesforce, and then go to this link: https://store.salesforce.com/apex/webstorehome. If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you will see contact info for your AE.
Have an open mind and collaborate.
Salesforce AEs can bring in an outside perspective to your challenges. Push yourself to listen. It’s easy to get defensive and think, “They are just trying to sell me more licenses.” Sometimes licenses are involved, but the licenses are often key to a solution. If you can lower your defenses and get into the details, you may find that your AE has a lot to offer in the conversation. An AE is like a free consultant who works with hundreds of companies and sees patterns all the time. Take advantage of that knowledge.
Working with an AE can help craft a shared vision. Think solutions first, and if they can work, then do the business math on how a Salesforce investment can provide returns.
Use your Account Executive’s knowledge.
A Salesforce AE is a Salesforce employee. They know things. If they don’t know something, they probably know how to get the answer you need. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The worst thing you’ll hear is, “No” or “Let me find someone who can help you.” Be persistent; they are super busy fielding dozens to hundreds of calls per week. Don’t take it personally if you have to ask twice. Also–VENT to them. Did you just have a crappy support experience? Complain. They do listen to feedback and route it appropriately. I once received an email from Marc Benioff himself due to an experience I had.
Account Executives change. Embrace it–change is good.
It’s no secret that Salesforce.com is growing by triple digits every year. With that kind of growth comes massive internal growth and turnover. Salesforce has been on a hiring binge since I started working with them in 2008. So, of course, they promote heavily from within, which means your AE is bound to change. Here is how you can manage this more effectively:
#1 – Write this document. I blogged about it a while back. When you get introduced to your new AE, send them this document before your first call. They’ll appreciate the heads up and it’ll save everyone time.
#2 – Take notes during each call. Since you have Salesforce, use it to accomplish this. Add your AEs and track them like you would any customer. It’ll be helpful to have a history of what was discussed on each call, document action items, and remind yourself to talk again.
#3 – Be positive. Each AE has a unique perspective, and new ones are HUNGRY! Use this to your advantage, and use their energy to help get things done.
So challenge yourself to get ready for your next AE meeting. Write the document, set up your Salesforce to manage AE relationships, and schedule a call. You should know who your AE is and have a good relationship with them. If you don’t? Find out more about them today and start building that relationship.