If you are part of any Amazon group or community, you’ll notice that one of the most frequently asked questions is, “Is Amazon’s SAS Core account manager worth it?” And you’ll rarely see a clear answer, leaving you confused.
As an Amazon marketing agency, we get asked a lot by our clients about this subject. So we decided to dig deep into this topic by interviewing lots of our Amazon sellers and our contacts within Amazon and hope to bring to you all you need to know about the Amazon SAS core account management program, all the pros and cons, what benefits you will get from your SAS manager, and what you will not get. Does the cost justify the program or not?
We understand that each Amazon seller has different needs based on their Amazon product categories, so after reading this guide, we hope you will be left with a good understanding of this program and will be well-informed to make a proper decision.
This is the most comprehensive article you’ll find on this program.
What is the Amazon SAS (Strategic Account Services) Core Program?
In Amazon’s own words: “Strategic Account Services (SAS) gives you access to a designated account manager, a trusted advisor inside Amazon who can help you scale your business, reach new customers, and increase sales.”
Essentially It’s like getting a premium Customer Service rep within Amazon that can better help you with issues—or getting “Your Amazon Insider,” as Amazon calls it in their sales pitch decks.
Amazon Breaks down this program into four parts.
- Personalized insights and recommendations
- Operational support
- Programs, deals, and early access
- Issue assistance
How much does an Amazon SAS Core manager cost?
An Amazon SAS Core manager costs $1,600 per month + 0.3% of your previous calendar month’s total sales + tax. Total sales don’t include returns, shipping, sales tax, or other charges. The total cost per month will not exceed $5,000.
Is an Amazon SAS Core account manager worth it?
Let’s dive into each part of the program and see if it has value.
1. Personalized insights and recommendations
Your Amazon rep will provide you with Advertising dashboards, catalog quality dashboards, and overall dashboards.
These dashboards don’t include any exclusive information unavailable to you. Amazon just puts it in a friendly Google Sheet dashboard for you. Based on the information in these dashboards, Amazon will give you optimization recommendations.
What is the value?
These reports can be nice, but definitely not substantial enough to sign up for the program.
2. Operational support
Your Amazon account manager will help with the execution of time-consuming tasks.
Your rep can help you with technical tasks such as help with variations, Uploading A+ content, browse node updates, filling in attributes to listings, cleaning up duplicate listings, reclassifying Adult products, Customer Return Analysis, Etc.
One great feature that falls into this category is the ABB (Anything in the Buy Box) program, where your rep can help you get your products in the placement under the BuyBox as seen in the image below.
What is the value?
Most tasks they help you with are insufficient to make the program worth it. Most of it are tasks you can do yourself or have someone from your team do, but the browse node updates are something that some sellers will find great value.
Many times you might have issues with getting your Amazon listings under the right browse nodes, or if you want to get into multiple browsing nodes, some Amazon sellers even complain that sometimes competitors might attack your listings by messing with your browsing nodes, Since browse nodes are very important so Amazon shoppers will see your products under the proper product category, this is where a SAS Core rep can be really helpful and help with what you have otherwise been unable to solve.
Reclassifying products that were incorrectly classified as an “adult product” could also be of great value since if a product is classified as adult, it can’t be advertised and it gets suppressed in the search results and sales drop off dramatically.
The ABB program is a nice feature, but sellers haven’t seen any big bump in sales when using it.
3. Programs, deals, and early access
- You get one free Lightning or 7-day deal per week
- You get special access Top Deals (AKA Deal of the Day, or DOTD)
- Access to Pilots and Betas
- Promotional Planning
Let’s break them down.
Free Lightning or 7-day deal
The first one is simple, You get to list 1 product per week for free on Amazon Lightning or 7-day deals listing page. weekly free deal. Each deal is a $300 value.
The second one, You will be getting access to Amazon Top Deals. Top Deals are the most exclusive deals on Amazon, usually highlighted on Today’s Deal page, mobile app, email, and social media
Amazon has special requirements for Top Deals, and Amazon sellers have reported to move thousands of units with Top Deals.
Many Amazon sellers we spoke to are only signed up to SAS Core in order to have access to Top Deals.
Access to Pilots and Betas
Amazon always has some new programs, and part of being with Amazon SAS Core is getting access to these betas and Pilots.
Here are some examples of recent Amazon pilot programs and Beta releases:
- Brand Tailored Promotion– A way to offer promotion for certain audiences
- Creator Connections- Amazon’s own Influencer Market Place
- Brand Messaging- enables live chat between Brand owner and customer through the product detail page.
Your Account Manager will work with you on event strategy & post event
Analysis. This a bit vague, but Amazon will help you with promotions and your listings, pre and post these special events such as Prime Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Etc.
What is the value?
If you will use the free weekly or 7-day lighting deals they offer, that is right there $1,200 in value. If you want to run Top Deals, then SAS Core is the only way to get it, so there is value there. It is important to point out that Top Deals don’t always get approved and some sellers complained that they were never able to get Top Deals for the products they wanted.
4. Issue assistance
In Amazon’s own words: “With SAS Core, you get access to Issue Assistance, a team
of specialists who can advise on the next steps when you’re facing issues that impact your business.
We support identifying systemic issues and proactively treating the root cause, not the symptoms. Your Account Manager will work with you on proactive policies and best practices.”
In other words, look at this as a good escalation route. Unfortunately, Amazon Seller Support is well known for not being the most competent in resolving issues. SAS Core can help resolve many issues that regular Seller Support can’t.
Many sellers we spoke to said that SAS Core resolved hijacker and compliance issues, and listings that Amazon took down were quickly back up and running with the help of their SAS Core rep.
Some sellers reported that their reps helped them with increasing their storage limits when they needed more FBA storage space and helping them get reimbursed denied inventory claims.
What is the value?
Having your best-selling Amazon listing back up and running, if it was ever taken down, will make the SAS Core program pay for itself. If you have a large catalog and constantly have issues with Asins being taken down by Amazon, hijacker issues, etc., or if SAS Core helped you get reimbursed for denied inventory claims, SAS Core will pay for itself if your rep helps you resolve those listings quicker.
How good are Amazon SAS Core account managers?
Not all SAS Core Reps Are Created Equal. One of the most common comments we heard when talking to sellers was that it really depends on who your rep is. Some sellers reported they got reps who were new and inexperienced and weren’t familiar with the tools and programs that Amazon offers, but then they got a great rep that helped them a lot. So it is important to know that if you are not satisfied with the program, you might just need a new rep. If you are not happy with your rep you can give feedback about your Amazon rep to his manager by clicking the feedback link underneath the reps signture
How do you communicate with your Amazon account manager?
Your Amazon account manager will schedule a monthly call to go over your accounts’ business plans, strategies, account issues, etc. You will also be able to communicate with your account manager via phone and email.
Also note that If you have multiple accounts, you will need to sign up for each account separately so you might be working with a different rep for each account.
Can your cancel your SAS core services program?
Once you have signed up you have to commit for 3 months. After 3 months you can cancel your SAS core service via your seller central account.
Here are some excerpts of some of the Amazon sellers we spoke to
“It’s worth it, as it pays for itself., they helped us getting reimbursed for claims that we otherwise didn’t get reimbursed”
“It’s a hit-and-miss. We had a great rep, but we got a new rep and she’s not worth anything”
“For me it’s only worth it for the Top Deals access”
“I rarely use them, but once in a while, I escalate issues with them, and that makes it worth it”
“They took down hijackers off our listing, so that made it worth it”
“Big waste of money for us.”
These are the things that make an Amazon SAS Core Account Manager worth it:
- Getting access to Top Deals
- Free Weekly deal ($1,200 monthly value)
- Getting cases escalated
- Help with browse nodes
- Help with getting listings reinstated
- Help with Hijackers
- Adult Reclassification
- Help with increasing inventory limits
These are some nice bonus features but doesn’t justify the monthly cost for most Amazon sellers:
- Getting access to Betas and Pilot programs
- Access to the ABB (Anything in the BuyBox) Program
- Advertising and Listing Quality Dashboards
These are things that an Amazon SAS Core Account Manager cannot help you with:
- Amazon PPC Management- Sellers didn’t find their PPC insights valuable
- Organic Ranking- They can’t help make your product rank better
- If your account or Asin is closed for a real violation, their hands will be tied, and won’t be able to help you.
- They are NOT insurance. Being part of SAS Core won’t help with not getting your account suspended. There is no special treatment. Here are Amazon’s own words: “Amazon’s policies are the same for all sellers and applied equally, regardless of whether you’re enrolled in our program or not.”
One last thing worth mentioning that a few sellers pointed out, is that they were part of SAS Core for months and felt they were paying for nothing, but they then had just one episode that a listing was closed and SAS Core helped escalate the case and it was opened quickly, and that made the whole program worth it.
To summarize, if you want to get access to Top Deals, Amazon SAS Core is the way to go.
Also, if you are constantly running lighting deals your account managers cost is $1200 less because of the the 4 free deals (4 x$200) you get per month, which might justify the SAS core program cost.
If your Amazon account constantly has issues with listings that get closed, suppressed, hijacked, or compliance issues, then SAS Core can be a big help.
If the reason you want to sign up for SAS Core is purely to increase sales, or get better PPC results, then the program is not for you.
Looking to sign up for the SAS Core program or want to get more information from Amazon about the program? click this link.