KAM is a skill that can be learned, but needs to be trained. In this video, learn how to start creating an effective training program.
- For most companies, key account managers tend to be experienced, mature, and pretty savvy when it comes to dealing with corporate dynamics. It's not likely you're going to put some new rookie sales rep in charge of your best account. That said, it may be tempting to let a newly-selected key account manager rush straight into the job and get things moving, but hold on. That's a mistake. I don't care how experienced your selected candidate is, they still need some degree of training and onboarding to be successful.
So here are some tips on how best to do that. First, if the new candidate is replacing someone in the job now, make sure there's a thorough debriefing and handoff to the new manager. That means a lot more than the two of them, the predecessor and successor, just getting together for lunch to talk things over. You must ensure that the two of them have a created a written transition plan that includes dates and specific responsibilities.
And that written transition plan should address key questions such as what is the key account management task? How is it tied to our strategic plan? Who are the important contacts within the account, and what's their level of influence? What is our company's status in the account now, and how has it changed over the last few business cycles? Where are the risks with the account? And of course, where are the opportunities? If the predecessor was staying in the job, what would be his or her priorities and activities over the next few months and years? Now, this last question is really important.
You want to make sure your new key account manager is well aware of the direction the account was headed as they take over. You want to be careful the new person doesn't come bursting onto the scene saying, (chuckles) "There's a new sheriff in town, "and things are going to be different." Your key account may be put off by that. They might want the status quo. So be sure the new person doesn't upset things. Now, on the other hand, you may be putting in a new key account manager for just the opposite reason.
The account wants changes, and they're counting on the new person to do just that. Well, in that case, it's important the new manager knows exactly where things have to change to meet the client's expectations. Now, once the transition is complete, you should consider other training interventions that will help the new manager succeed. They may need skills in project management, negotiations, conflict resolution, or perhaps strategic planning.
A well-thought-out training program is a key success factor in key account management.
- 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