Successful key account managers succeed by making their main contacts in the account successful as well. In this video, learn other best practices key account managers follow as part of succession planning.
- A key account will stay with you forever if they understand the importance of what you do and that you'll continue to do it better than any competitor. I want to share ideas with you on the kinds of activities you might consider as you work with your key accounts. First of all, look for ways to integrate your business and their business as much as possible. What parts of the business can be merged or joined together to create efficiencies? For example, are there information systems or websites that can be shared? Are there supply chain resources like warehouses or distributors that you can share? Would it make sense for your company to have some of your employees located at the key account's sites? Because these initiatives help keep your company front and center in the mind of the customer.
Second, create an annual event calendar that involves your key account. For example, would it make sense for their employees to get tours of your facilities so they better understand what you do? How about if you and your key accounts hold joint training sessions around various topics? A great way to build relationships is to hold joint employee recognition programs throughout the year. Hey, everyone likes recognition, and they'll remember you for a long time if you sponsor that recognition.
Now, here's a tip, don't just recognize a key account for an accomplishment, help them actually accomplish it. Look for ways to make your key contacts successful. Hey, but be careful, at some point they'll get promoted and you'll need to have some idea who's likely to replace them. A good key account manager gets involved with succession planning so they always know who to target next. Here's another tip, look for ways to help your key accounts be more successful in the marketplace.
Help them spot new trends or generate sales leads. Consider ways to work together on marketing programs like trade shows, or perhaps joint promotions. I think one of the most important things a key account manager can do is to help the customers anticipate problems in any area of the business, but then offer solutions to those problems even if it's outside your normal business offering. That's when they really come to appreciate you.
You want to become an indispensable partner, but the key is to constantly manage their expectations. Ask yourself what parts of the business can I engage in and what value can I deliver over and over. If you do that well you'll hang on to that key account for a very long time.
- 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