KAM starts with a clear vision of what you want to accomplish and a mission of how you will go about it. It must align with the core values of the company. A KAM program can focus on several competing objectives—retention, acquisition, profitability, and so on.
- Once you've selected your key accounts, you should now have a crystal clear idea of the size of these accounts, the nature of your relationship with them, and their potential revenue growth. It's time now to develop a master key account plan, starting with the vision and mission to achieve success. You and your colleagues need a long-term vision that is both aspirational as well as inspirational of what you're trying to achieve. Your vision is not a financial goal, but more of a future statement of where your company will be with your key accounts.
For example, your vision might state something like this: "Our company will be seen as a valued and indispensable partner by our key accounts, now and into the distant future". Next comes a general mission statement of how you'll go about achieving the vision. Here is an example: "To achieve our vision, we will retain and grow with our key accounts by embedding ourselves into as many aspects of their businesses as possible".
Now it's time to create a set of clear business objectives for your key accounts. These objectives can be both financial as well as strategic. Financial objectives might focus on achieving top line revenue or an increase in gross margins, or perhaps a bottom line profitability goal. A strategic objective, on the other hand, might address retention goals or perhaps targeting and penetrating new parts of the key account. Now here's a tip: Your objectives don't need to be the same for each account.
That's why it's important that your key account managers, which we'll talk about later, need to have the necessary business skills to analyze a customer and set valid objectives based on the account's profile. Now here's another tip: When you set objectives for each account, make sure you're aware of how your marketing department is positioning your company's offerings in the marketplace. Your objectives should not be in conflict with their marketing strategies. Well, that said, here's a big mistake you want to avoid.
Your key account managers are not the marketing representative in that account. Nor are they the sales representative for that account. Key account managers are there to retain and grow business long term. And it means doing a completely different set of activities than what marketers and sales reps do. A well-defined vision, mission, and set of objectives is what helps you and your team keep a clean delineation between other commercial parts of the business.
- Define key account management.
- Explain the key account management process.
- Develop criteria for key account status.
- Identify a vision, mission, and strategic focus.
- Measure key account results.