Written by Sean McPheat |
Key Account Managers (KAM) are the lifeblood of any organisation wanting to grow and develop their network and a loyal client base.
Excellence in the role often comes from natural characteristics, but is also forged through building skills that are shown on a daily basis.
These then become habits, and it’s this habitual alignment of skills, attitudes and motives that increases the successful results of any KAM.
So, what does a good key account manager do that assists in their success? By the way, if you are brand new to all of this we have a great key account management definition that will really help you to define what it actually is so it will give you some context.
Here are some ideas:
They keep a vision of what’s most important, instead of concentrating on the urgent
Too many times we experience a really busy day, running around doing things that need to be handled.
But at the day’s-end we look back at wonder what we actually accomplished, and we realise we may have been busy but achieved very little.
Great KAMs know what is important that day, and work on achieving those important goals, realising that the urgent should never usurp the attention spent on the important.
They prioritise the communications needed for each key account
KAMs know who their key accounts are, but often the communication with them is ad-hoc or basic at best.
What great KAMs do is prioritise what kind of messages their accounts need and analyse the best way of sending that communication.
They plan effectively the research they will share with their key accounts and build these communications so that they are automated and relevant to the individuals within those businesses.
They spend time every day learning something
Yes, every day is filled with fire-fighting, catching up and dealing with issues that could become crises if we don’t deal with them now.
But there are always moments in which we can take a breather and see the bigger picture instead of being embroiled in the detail.
In these brief times that WE control, great KAMs spend time learning something that will be of benefit to themselves and their accounts.
It could be a quick search on a particular problem an account is facing, or a look at what your competitors’ offerings could mean to clients.
Or simply an update on new research within your industry or could even make some time to attend some form Account Management Training either in-person or virtual. There are plenty of options available for this.
Great KAMs recognise that this needs to be a daily habit, rather than something that’s fitted in when time allows.
They look at how the relationship with each key account can be improved
It would be impossible and an intrusion if a KAM communicated every day with their accounts.
Great KAMs recognise that they have to monitor when the best time to communicate with buyers is.
So a daily habit would be to work out what kind of relationship you wish to have with your key account and determine how to build your value within their team.
Is there someone else with the account who would benefit from hearing from you?
Could you do a research project with the account to help them see how they could be more successful in the future?
Are there specific opportunities for you to build the long-term relationship with the account without actively having to sell all the time?
Building the relationship can be one of the keys to successful key account management and should be improved on a daily basis.
Update your records and internal structures within your own business
Paying attention to records is vital if you are to be successful, and great KAMs recognise that attention to detail is paramount in this regard.
Imagine you are renewing contact with a lapsed account and the records are out-of-date or not complete.
It could be embarrassing if you followed up and the information you had was irrelevant, the person you wanted to speak to has left or they are using a competitor because they hadn’t heard from you.
Being up-to-date is something you can check on daily, and it also offers an inroad to talk to possible decision-makers if things have changed.
Your Google and LinkedIn searches can often uncover much-needed information.
These are just some of the habits that great KAMs employ daily.
There are many ways you can be successful, so being professional and building your communication skills with your accounts will often lead to opportunities that may have been missed if these daily habits are missed. We have a lot of account management strategies and tips on how to manage your accounts that you can tap into.
Originally published: 26 October, 2017
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