(Part one of a 5-part series of ideas for account management strategy)
For starters, get clear on the definition of key account management
Ask your sales team two questions. First, “what is key account management?” Pay attention to how many different answers you get. If it is more than one consistent definition, you need to change that. When companies lack an effective and universally understood definition of key account management, the success of your account team is limited because of the lack of clarity of the role.
If you can’t define something, it’s difficult to do it.
What is key account management (KAM)?
A systematic approach to managing and growing a named set of an organization's most important clients to maximize mutual value and achieve mutually beneficial goals.
The next question to ask the sales team is, “what do account managers do?” If they say they don’t know, you have a problem. If they say something about entertaining home office people, you have a BIG problem.
The role of the account manager is strategic and drives opportunities at a high level between both firms to increase productivity and profitability. The sales team plays a critical role in the execution of the strategy set forth by the account management team. The account managers are data driven with a goal of increasing market share. The specifics of the strategy depend on the level of partnership negotiated by the account manager on behalf of their firm. Not all accounts are created equal in terms of opportunity and potential, but they are all important in terms of distribution. An early lesson in all sales careers includes the “all money is green” lesson. To account managers, some money is greener. They know. They negotiate. Your account managers will ensure the door stays open to your sales team. Open the door or open it wider is the mantra of great account managers.
Firm-wide consistent knowledge of the strategy and goals of the account management team is a big refresh button for many firms. Don’t get stuck in the last century’s expectations of your account managers. The best account managers are rocking sales drivers including access to critical data, client knowledge and participation in growth strategies, even collaboration on product strategy. This is the 2021 version of account management. Are you there? At Maximum IMPACT Partners, we are ready to help you get this right. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.