The key account management task identifies who to call on, what to sell, how to sell, and who in the company supports the account.
- Now that you're armed with a vision, a mission, and a set of objectives, it's time to get down to the next level of detail, and that means creating a key account task for each assigned account. Think of a key account task like a job description for the account manager. The task can change depending on the account. Think of the key account task as a master directive that translates your strategic intent into action. It's like a north star that should guide not only your key account managers, but also the people inside and outside your organization who support the account.
The key account task addresses just four questions. Who are we targeting within the account? Now, this should be a specific person 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? Now, these are detailed programs of what the manager will do within a specific timeframe. And finally, where will the manager get support for the initiatives? This means, who are the specific people and departments inside and outside who you're counting on to help you? Because without their support, the initiatives will fail.
Let's do an example. Let's imagine your company makes spare parts for commercial aircraft. One of your key accounts is a new and rapidly growing discount airline in Europe. You selected it as a key account because they'll be using a lot of used aircraft and that'll take a lot of spare parts. So, your key account task for this client might look like this, who? Well, in this case, you could target the Director of Aircraft Maintenance.
What, a goal here would be to renew the current spare parts contract for another five years. How, to do this, you could generate a list of initiatives to pursue. For example, your company might offer the following. We'll train your mechanics on how to replace any new spare part ordered. In fact, our company will train you how to replace the part, even if it's from another company. Wow, that's a pretty generous offer, one that the Director of Aircraft Maintenance will certainly appreciate.
And finally, we'll provide 24/7 support line for your mechanics if they get stuck with a problem. So, the key account task also addresses the where, where your manager will get support for these initiatives. In this case, it might include your training department and all the skills they have to create training programs, as well as your maintenance tactical teams who are experts on all your products. You see, the key account task is so important that every one of your key account managers should be able to show you a written task for each assigned account, and that written task is current and actionable.
Now, that's a pathway to success.
- 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