In Sandler Enterprise Selling, our KARE account profiling
process has developed a worldwide following since it rolled out in
2015. It’s based on the premise that in selling, we group our
accounts into designations – geographic, vertical, size-related
and other logical buckets. Such categorizations certainly add
clarity and should, if utilized correctly, increase efficiency.
Descriptive information has value but what do you really learn from
these types of bundles about clients’ traits and tendencies? How
do the groupings really help you win, grow and keep enterprise
Think about the animal kingdom, where we also use designations
in scientific classification. But what’s truly meaningful about
knowing that two creatures are, for example, both snakes? While
King Cobras and Garter Snakes are grouped together, their
individual traits and tendencies are certainly quite different. And
regarding spiders, wouldn’t it be more helpful to know what to
expect from a Black Widow versus a Daddy Long Legs versus simply
knowing that they both belong to the arachnid family? Truthfully,
the category designations provide you no real information about
what you should do when you encounter these creatures. The
information provided is not meaningful. More importantly, given the
danger, it’s not actionable.
Major accounts present us with a similar dilemma, albeit without
potentially life-threatening consequences. For understanding the
traits and tendencies of large clients versus simply their tactical
groupings can be valuable in the same way as knowing that playing
with a King Cobra is not a good idea.
But how do you make designations truly meaningful? Enter, KARE.
For those unfamiliar, consider its four account profiles – Keep,
Attain, Recapture and Expand. The “K” – Keep profile,
represents your typical clients, likely comprising approximately
80% of your total account portfolio. You’re happy to have them
and you want them to stay. Attain accounts, the “A”, are your
profile prospects – those you target, hoping to win their
business. The “R” – Recapture accounts are previous clients,
no longer active. Unlike past clients you consciously choose not to
pursue, you’d love to have Recapture accounts back onboard. The
“E” is for Expand accounts – your most treasured clients.
They represent your greatest growth potential and you work hard to
foster extremely closer partnerships with them. These are the
strategic accounts you want to tuck in at night. They are your
Of course, what constitutes the KARE designations is different
for different selling organizations, so the profiles are customized
to organizational models. And once you build your custom KARE
profiles, you align them to your accounts, both clients and
prospects. And last, you craft common actions for each profile. For
Recapture accounts, you’ll identify the actions to win them back.
For Keep, Attain and Expand accounts, you’ll also develop
relevant actions, building templates to streamline your efforts.
Since the accounts in each designation share the same traits and
tendencies, the profiles are truly actionable. That’s the magic
The two profiles that apply to current accounts, Keep and
Expand, deserve some additional focus and discussion. For don’t
you want to keep your Expand accounts? And similarly, don’t you
want to expand your Keep accounts? Of course. But the fundamental
difference between the designations is important. As mentioned,
Keep accounts represent the majority of your clients, likely in the
80% range, following the Pareto Principle. They pay their bills,
communicate effectively and meet all the basic requirements
necessary to be in your client portfolio. You’re happy to have
them but, truth be told, you don’t see them changing your life.
Expand accounts, on the other hand, exhibit that rare life-changing
potential. These highly treasured assets are potential rain-makers
for your business. Their alignment to the customized Expand
attributes that you and your team developed illustrates their clear
potential to significantly impact growth, revenues and
profitability. As a result, your ability to differentiate them from
Keep accounts in your client portfolio is critical. And KARE helps
you to wisely invest your organization’s time, energy, resources
and finances to maximize the chances of amazing results.
What about current clients you need to jettison – accounts
with pitiful margins or where simple communication doesn’t
happen? They don’t get KARE profiles. They get actions. If
account relationships need to be severed, you need to execute
quickly. The actions you must take, however difficult, can
occasionally prompt positive results as toxic clients change their
ways. Truthfully, though, this doesn’t happen often. They move on
and so do you, applying your precious energy to deserving clients
and promising prospects.
In the end, know your accounts. But don’t accept simply
knowing that Black Widows and King Cobras are spiders and snakes
respectively. Comprehensively understand their traits and
tendencies and why they’re killers – why they should be feared.
Then, take meaningful actions. KARE…..for your accounts!
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