KAM is not a traditional selling role. In this video, learn about the special skills that must be identified based on the KAM strategy.
- At this point in the key account management process, you and your colleagues have a line on the key account management task, one that is linked to your overall strategy. Now it's time to hire key account managers. Recruiting and hiring managers takes much more than just telling your HR department to go fill those slots. You need to be actively involved in the process. That's because if your company makes a bad hiring decision, important client relationships will suffer, perhaps for months or even years, before you get the right person in the job.
Here are the steps you take to hire key account managers. First, develop a profile of the type of person who can perform the management task. Look closely at it and ask yourself... What skills does a manager need to be able to acquire to do the job? Do they need technical skills, quantitative skills or perhaps presentation skills? Next, ask what knowledge they must have or be able to acquire to do the job.
Do they need knowledge about your industry or perhaps knowledge about a certain topic, such as biology or engineering? Finally, what dispositions and behaviors do they need for the job? Do you want people with high energy or perhaps people who are more easy going and great at forming relationships? Once you have a profile, work with your HR team to create a job description, which includes elements of the profile along with job duties as described in the management task.
Now depending on the job, there are lots of sources of potential recruits. Start by looking inside your own company. Key account management is a methodical process that anyone can learn. Your own employees already know your products, customers and industry. So they're an excellent source to fill openings. Other sources include referrals, employment agencies, universities, former military personnel, the Internet, and of course, traditional newspaper advertising.
Now as you get people applying for the job, it's time to start interviewing. You'll need an interview script. So this is a great time to refer to the management task. Look at the task and understand what you need to see to assure you that a candidate can succeed. Now there are two ways to focus the interview. First is situation or behavior-based interviews. If the job requires reps to respond to certain situations, ask interview questions that focus in on these situations.
Here's an example of this type of interview question. A key account just told you they're not satisfied with a recent order. What do you do now? The other approach is performance-based interviews. Here, you give the candidate exercises that simulate a situation or activity in the management task. For example, you might ask the candidate to write out a brief plan on what they would do if their key contact left the company.
Great key account managers start with great recruiting and hiring. So now it's time to train them to achieve new heights.
- 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