Everyone in the company needs to know about the key account program so they can fulfill their part. A sound communication plan addresses the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of doing this effectively. In this video, learn about what you should consider in your communication plan.
- Everyone in the company needs to know about the key account program so they can do one of two things. First, your colleagues need a clear expectation of what they need to do proactively as part of your plan. If they have a formal role in your plan, you need to make sure they understand it in great detail. Second, they also need to understand what kinds of things they might have to do reactively if something unexpected happens with a key account.
Your key account managers can't be the only ones that solve problems. Key account management is a team sport, and your colleagues need to be ready when called upon to support a key account, and that includes colleagues who may not have a formal role in your plan. For example, let's imagine you work in a company that makes products that are sold in retail outlets. You have a packaging department that handles all of the design and labeling issues from your products, then a problem comes up.
Your most important retailer, a key account in your program, calls to complain about the packaging. They recently installed new shelving units that make it difficult for your products to fit on the shelves the way they did before. So, you need to make sure that Head of Packaging feels empowered to step in and start formulating ways to solve the problem. Perhaps they can create a new design that optimizes the way your products are displayed. Perhaps they do it in a way that really delights the key account.
Here again, is another way for your company to take credit for being a key supplier to them, just as they're a key account to you. To ensure your entire team knows their role with the key account, here's a tip. Break your colleagues into two groups, those who have an active role in the plan and those who have a passive role, like the packaging department in the example before. Your colleagues need to know exactly who the key accounts are and what you're trying to accomplish with them.
The prime directive for all colleagues is do what it takes to make us an indispensable partner forever. Now, for those colleagues who have an active, direct role in key accounts, make sure they have a written plan and a budget to get the job done. Make sure they understand that this is not a side role that they just do in their spare time. Their role must be well-defined in their job descriptions and it must be part of their regular performance evaluations.
Otherwise, it won't get done. When you communicate this information, it depends a lot on your corporate culture. I suggest taking advantage of multiple channels, town hall meetings, newsletters, employee websites, and even personal meetings where necessary. The key is repetition. Every so often, make sure the message comes from senior leadership just to reinforce the company's commitment to the program. A great key account management program happens through the actions of many people.
They'll do their part if they have the right message about what to do.
- Understanding key account management
- Understanding the key account management process
- Developing criteria for key account status
- Selecting key accounts
- Defining a vision, mission, and strategic focus
- Identifying the key account management task
- Communicating your strategy
- Hiring, training, and rewarding key account managers
- Developing a call plan for key accounts
- Measuring key account results