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Ben Davern

Ben Davern

23rd May 2024

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Why Face-to-Face Interaction is Key to Growing Key Accounts

A key account is one of your company’s most valuable customers. These clients typically demonstrate their value by accounting for a disproportionate share of your revenue, referring new prospects to your business and helping you grow, or giving your brand credibility.

In today’s digital age, where communication and commerce increasingly occur online, the value of face-to-face interaction in the key account development process remains as crucial as ever. Digital tools have undoubtedly transformed the way businesses operate and engage with customers. However, combining online and in-person interactions is key to effectively growing key accounts. Personal, in-person interactions enhance these activities by building stronger personal connections and trust.

Building Trust and Relationships

One of the most significant advantages of face-to-face interaction is the ability to build trust and establish meaningful relationships with clients. While digital channels allow sales professionals to communicate efficiently and frequently, in-person meetings allow sales professionals to convey authenticity, sincerity and empathy, which are often challenging to communicate through digital channels alone. Customers rate a dismal 18% of salespeople as trusted advisors worthy of respect, according to the Harvard Business Review—and sellers are totally unaware. Most sellers miss the importance of trust, even though it may be the single most impactful thing they could address to improve their business performance—more than lowering prices, releasing better products or providing superior service. Although digital tools facilitate communication, face-to-face interactions create a deeper human connection that fosters trust, making clients feel valued and understood.

Better Understanding of Client Needs

Developing successful key account strategies requires a nuanced understanding of client needs and preferences, which can be achieved through both online and in-person interactions. Digital tools enable sales professionals to gather data, track client interactions, and maintain regular communication. However, face-to-face meetings provide an opportunity for deeper conversation and a more thorough exploration of client needs and challenges, enabling sales professionals to qualify key accounts more effectively by assessing their fit and potential for growth. In-person interactions allow sales professionals to ask probing questions, actively listen to client responses, and pick up on subtle cues that may not be evident in written communication or virtual meetings. This combination of online data and personal interactions enables a more comprehensive understanding, allowing for tailored solutions that meet specific client needs, leading to higher satisfaction and increased sales success.

Value Creation and Capture

Creating and capturing value within key account relationships is essential for driving revenue growth and can be facilitated through both digital and in-person channels. Online tools allow sales professionals to present information, share resources, and demonstrate products or services efficiently. However, face-to-face interactions enhance the communication of the value proposition for the product or service. Sales professionals can convey enthusiasm, passion, and conviction about their offerings in a way that resonates deeply with clients during in-person meetings. Visual aids, product demonstrations, and real-life examples can be more impactful when presented in-person, enhancing the client’s understanding and appreciation of the value being offered. Combining these approaches ensures a more compelling presentation of value.

Action Planning and Implementation

Creating actionable plans and implementing them effectively is crucial for driving immediate impact and long-term success in sales, particularly in key account management. Digital tools are invaluable for tracking progress, setting reminders and coordinating tasks. However, face-to-face meetings provide a platform for collaborative action planning, enabling sales professionals to align strategies, set goals, and define clear next steps with key accounts. Engaging in direct dialogue ensures that action plans are tailored to the specific needs and objectives of each client, increasing the likelihood of successful implementation and positive outcomes. This hybrid approach ensures that plans are both well-informed and personally endorsed.

Overcoming Objections and Closing Deals

Both online and in-person interactions are crucial for addressing client concerns, overcoming objections, and closing deals. Digital communication allows for the quick exchange of information and follow-up on client queries. However, face-to-face meetings provide an ideal opportunity for sales professionals to address client concerns, overcome objections and close deals. The ability to engage in real-time dialogue, address questions and objections promptly, and provide reassurance or additional information as needed can be instrumental in securing a positive outcome amidst huge complexity—much of which may only become apparent with deeper probing.

For example, not only are there surface objections and deeper-rooted objections that must be overcome, but a salesperson’s main contact may not be the key decision-maker they proclaimed to be. In such cases, it becomes necessary to tactfully gain access to the true decision-maker while ensuring the main contact does not feel they’ve lost face. Additionally, face-to-face interactions allow sales professionals to read non-verbal cues, such as body language and facial expressions, providing invaluable insights into the client’s true feelings and reservations. Overall, face-to-face interactions enable sales professionals to gauge client reactions, probe more deeply and adjust their approach in real-time, significantly increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Differentiation in a Digital World

Navigating the today’s increasingly digitalised business environment requires sales professionals to adapt their sales and marketing functions to leverage technology and data-driven insights. It’s become easier for salespeople to feel productive and busy in a digital space while avoiding face-to-face interaction. However, face-to-face interaction can serve as a powerful differentiator for sales professionals and organisations. While digital tools are valuable for reaching a broader audience and collecting key data and customer insights, face-to-face interaction remains essential for building trust and fostering relationships to build long-term client loyalty and drive business growth. By integrating face-to-face interaction with digital strategies, sales professionals and account managers can distinguish themselves from competitors and position themselves as trusted advisors and partners to their clients along with building their own confidence.

Growing Key Accounts

Designed to equip you with practical strategies, tools and insights, the Growing Key Accounts short programme focuses on analysing, planning, and implementing closer relationships with your key accounts to drive revenue growth. You’ll delve into the essentials of key account management, from assessing the key account environment to creating a roadmap towards becoming a preferred partner. By benchmarking your practices, identifying areas for growth and honing your key account development skills, you’ll emerge with a comprehensive understanding of how to navigate the digital marketplace effectively.

Covering topics such as understanding buyer behaviour in a digital world, optimising sales and marketing functions and developing tailored growth plans, you’ll gain actionable insights to elevate your key account management practice. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to key account management, this course will empower you to unlock new opportunities and drive success in your key account relationships.


While digital tools have revolutionised the sales process and offer numerous benefits, face-to-face interaction remains essential for building trust, understanding client needs, effectively communicating value, overcoming objections, and differentiating oneself in a crowded marketplace. By embracing the power of personal relationships and human connection, sales professionals can enhance their sales effectiveness, drive business growth and ultimately achieve greater success in today’s dynamic business landscape.

Join us on June 13th for a transformative journey where you’ll explore the nuances of key account development, learn from industry experts, and engage in hands-on exercises to enhance your capabilities. Learn more about Growing Key Accounts here.

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