As organisations inevitably embark on a transition to implement a Key Account Management, problems can surface that will dictate the success of this method.
Key Account Management is different from typical sales, in that the objective is not a transaction. It’s a relationship. It’s strategic and it’s how you execute your actions to grow and keep the customer as long as possible. A successful key account management program will make you essential to your customer.
CRM naturally forces this method of an account management system simply by the structure in which it exists. More often than not, a customer record is owned by a single user. However, even companies who adopt CRM can have a sales structure by where multiple sales employees sell different product lines to a single customer – naturally due to technical speciality or region. When it comes to adopting a single key account manager, inevitable difficulties arise when choosing which sales person is the owner. Often, multiple users are chosen. This is a mistake.
1. Assign a key account to a single user.
Without single responsibility of your firm’s activities with a key account, it’s impossible to have a solid account strategy. When ownership for a key account falls under product/region criteria, the outcome is temporary and self-interested conduct takes place.
2. Sync Key Account Management With Leadership Development Opportunity
Embracing a Key Account Management Program is all about changing the employee’s mindset from a product technical/regional perspective to one with a much broader business perspective. Rather than gain credibility from the customer through technical expertise, credibility is sought based on the in-depth knowledge of the customer. Knowing the customer’s ethos, goals, history, pain points and culture will make the key account manager indispensable to the customer. Real value can be added here and your business goals with the customer can be more in tune.
3. Keeps the number of KA:KAM low
Logically, as the number of key accounts managed by a single person increase, the performance and strength of the program decrease.
Most successful business people have realised the Key Account Management program with outstanding success. It needs to be communicated, that while traditional sales transactions will still be performed by the sales people, they will find that with the succour of a KAM, the volume and range of sales will grow. This is primarily due to the KAM orchestrating favourable conditions for the customer to grow with you.