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    How to grow your accounts the sunflower way

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    As we prepared to build our new account growth module within Membrain earlier this year, I thought long and hard about what visual images I wanted to accompany the launch and represent this aspect of our platform.

    At one of our kids’ schools, a common activity for them to learn about growth is to plant a sunflower seed in the earth beside the schoolhouse in the spring and watch it grow over the summer.

    It’s such a cheerful sight to see tall stands of bright yellow flowers along the side of a schoolyard. And as I thought about this happy sight, I realized the sunflower was exactly what I wanted to represent this module. There is so much we can learn from sunflowers and I wanted those lessons to be in your mind when you work with our module. So I also decided to share with you what those lessons are and how to grow your accounts the sunflower way.

    6 ways to grow like a sunflower

    1. Turn toward the sun

    One of the first things children learn about sunflowers is the reason that they are called “sunflowers” (in Swedish, we have a similar name for them that translates as “sun rose”). In addition to their appearance, with their cheerful yellow faces, sunflowers turn toward the sun as they grow. By turning their leaves to face the sun, they maximize their access to the life-giving energy of the sun.

    In sales, we must always have our faces turned toward the source of our “energy” as well. That is, we must turned toward the customer. This means that we must always be thinking about what the customer needs, what they are getting from the relationship, and how we can continue to meet their needs and support their growth as well.

    2. Behave like a plant, not a machine

    Too many companies treat their accounts like an ATM machine, a place to go to extract cash as often as possible. Instead, the sunflower teaches us to treat our customers like a cherished plant. Nurture and grow, rather than fix and extract.

    Too many companies treat their accounts like an ATM machine

    This means we must avoid rushing in with our box full of tools to “fix” what’s wrong. Instead, we must patiently let the customer reveal itself to us and help it to nurture its own growth, and be there to provide what we can to support that growth so that we grow together.

    3. Use your heart

    Have you ever looked closely at a sunflower leaf? It is shaped like a heart. This reminds us that sales is not only about numbers and activities. It’s also about empathy and human connection.

    In account-based selling, the heart is critical. Effective account growth salespeople develop long-term relationships. They must earn and keep the trust of their customers, and that requires empathy and caring. The heart in the leaves of the sunflower reminds us to focus on this.

    The leaves are also where the sunflower plant generates the energy for growth. This reminds us that while numbers and processes matter, true growth starts with empathy and connection.

    4. Be beautiful

    This lesson about the tools you use, and about Membrain’s growth module in particular. At Membrain, we believe in beauty. The human brain is wired to not only appreciate beauty, but to respond to it in a multitude of practical ways.

    When our environment is pleasing to us, we have more energy, more enthusiasm, and can think more clearly. Think of how you feel in a dim, damp basement. Now imagine yourself in a spacious, high rise apartment with a wall of glass facing a beautiful sunset, or beside a mountain lake with grass and wildflowers spread in every direction.

    Even just imagining a different environment changes the way we feel and behave. The same is true for our digital environments. When we look at a messy spreadsheet with too much information crammed into every corner, it can be very hard to focus. On the other hand, a beautiful dashboard with everything we need highlighted visually can make our jobs easier.

    At Membrain, we strive to make our platform not only powerful and easy to use, but also beautiful and enjoyable to spend time with. The sunflower inspires us to continually improve the beauty of our product, just as you should be continually focused on making your offerings more attractive to your customers.

    5. Inspire loyalty

    Another reason I chose the sunflower to represent the account growth module is that in some traditions, the sunflower represents loyalty. A loyal customer is a profitable customer, and Membrain’s account growth module provides an ideal tool for building loyalty within your accounts.

    6. Feed your customers, feed yourself

    Finally, what I love about sunflowers beyond their beauty and their teachings is that they produce food. Sunflower seeds are nutritious, full of proteins and healthy fat, as well as vitamins and healthy carbs. They’re a power food.

    In the same way, when you nurture your accounts with a growth mindset, your accounts will feed you in a healthy, sustainable way.

    I told you at the start that there were six reasons I used the sunflower to represent our account growth module, but there’s a seventh, less tangible reason. I simply love them.

    When I look at a sunflower, I immediately think of the sun. Not just in the name, but in the sight of them. It’s like there are beams of light radiating out from the center of the sun. The sight is energizing and empowering. They’re so full of life energy.

    This is how we can all feel when we tap into the energy of growth with our customers and meeting their needs while they meet ours. And that is the energy I hope that our account growth module leaves you with every time you use it.

    I would love to show you how it works, and how beautiful it is. Contact us for a demonstration.

    George Brontén
    Published September 9, 2020
    By George Brontén

    George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills, and processes. George is also the author of the book Stop Killing Deals.

    Find out more about George Brontén on LinkedIn