Once key account managers understand what they're trying to do in an account, they need a concrete plan so their time is spent most effectively. Being out of alignment with the key account in terms of what they can expect is the biggest risk in KAM. In this video, learn how to manage expectations.
- Now that you have a team of key account managers, it's time to put them to work. And for that, your managers need a detailed call plan. Now, it's not just a call plan like a salesperson would use. Think of it more as a relationship plan with detailed information about when and why you'll visit certain employees at the key account. Start with your key account task. It addresses four questions. Who are we targeting within the account? Remember now, this should be specific people or a group of people in the account.
What are we trying to achieve? These are specific outcomes that are linked directly to your overall key account management objectives. How are we going to achieve success? These are detailed programs of what the manager will do within a specific time frame. And finally, where will the manager get support for the initiatives? This means who are the specific people in departments inside and outside, who you're counting on for support? Because without them, your initiatives will fail.
Beginning with who you will call on, I recommend creating a one-page document for each individual you're targeting. You should include key information about the person including their title, how many years they've been in the position, their previous experience, and so on. Of course, a great place to find all this information is through LinkedIn. What matters most here is to understand that individual's career trajectory. Are they a high-potential employee, a rising start in the company, or are they more of a steady journeyman type of employee more likely to stay in that position for a while? Now, keep in mind that the relationship you form in a key account is not static.
They change as people's careers change. You need to track people's careers, so you're not surprised by a sudden job change because that could leave you vulnerable. Your plan needs to outline what you're trying to achieve with each individual. Now, here's a tip. Your goal is not just to have a good relationship with that person. You're there to change and maintain that person's attitudes about your company and its products.
You need to make sure that person understands how important your company is to their company and that your company is doing a great job helping the customer be successful. That takes constant interaction with your clients. Otherwise, they just take it for granted that you're doing a good job. Instead, you want to demonstrate over and over again all the things your company does for this customer. Repetition is the key if you want to retain the customer forever.
The best account managers stay that way by planning their work and working their plan.
- 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