Identifying and Managing your Key Accounts
As humans, we always tend to look on the other side to find the grass greener, even when our own side is pretty green and blossoming. The same case is for the entrepreneurs, they are always finding ways to lure and entice the potential customers and at times ignore the key customer base that’s giving them their major businesses, running their businesses practically. Building your customer base is great, but it’s important to always pay heed and give importance to your key customers. Thus, Key Account Management becomes a crucial process for any business.
Apart from strategies and planning, businesses run on relationships. You build and nurture this relationship beyond the sale point to be able to sustain the key accounts. Therefore, it’s important to understand some points.
KAM is not a sales strategy and needs care at multiple layers to be able to succeed at it
KAM is bound to fail if you only brief your sales people. The person leading the process at an account needs various skills, including strategic, interpersonal, influencing skills that your sales force may or may not have. Additionally, there are many levels which get involved to manage the account - operations, strategy, the knowledge of which needs to be extended to the manager. S/he have to be thorough with the process before they step into the field.
Zero on the Key Accounts
Not all your accounts can be key accounts. If everything is important then nothing is important, right? You have to choose your key accounts carefully, understand which accounts will give you benefits in the longer run and create specialized services for them to let them know about their key status. Set some parameters as to what makes a key account for you and abide to that.
Find a superstar
KAM is an art. Seriously! And you need a superstar performer to deliver blockbuster results. The KAM process is highly demanding and given that it requires so many skills, it is advised that someone high-up in the organization, who directly reports to top management take up the account. Interview them to see whether they fit the bill. Of course, the superstar should be enthusiastic about the project and should have unmatched energy levels and social skills to keep the client happy and keep the business flowing in. If you are confident on someone’s abilities, you still might have to train them in certain areas for them to be able to do a brilliant job.
Define Evaluation Metrics
Key account manager should not only focus on very long-term growth but also immediate sales. We cannot keep rewarding for meeting the clients it’s a part of their job. Meeting a customer is not enough. The right way to evaluate your KAM is the lifetime value of their client, the cost they serve, not the long-term relationship they have fostered with top-line customers.
Involve the top brass
The accounts of critical importance require involvement of the C-suite. Get the top management on board when taking great decisions for the Key Account. And, they don’t just have to work at the back-end, make sure that the people from upstairs also have face time with the clients as well. Your customers will expect that.
Upgrade your program from time to time
World is changing rapidly and constantly, and you need to keep the practices updated to be able to reap benefits from them. Look up for the best practices in the industry. Invite your team to pitch in ideas to recreate and refresh the strategy. Keep a tab on your accounts, analyse which accounts are no longer are worthy to be in the key bracket, replace them with new potential accounts and work towards those.
KAM program is tricky to understand, difficult to implement, but extremely rewarding if you get it right. You can sign up for our customised Business Systems Management Program to grow your business exponentially by streamlining your business systems