In this video, learn why all departments need to know who the key accounts are.
- Key account management may be one of the most important activities in your business. If your company has a few accounts that make up most of your revenue and profit, then key account management is an essential process to maintain and groom those accounts for long-term success. Key account management affects virtually every part of your business, sales, marketing, operations, legal, finance, customer service, all departments need to know who they key accounts are and what their role is in servicing them.
For example, your operations team may need to have special procedures and people assigned to key accounts so they are never disappointed in getting products and services. Your marketing team and the key account team need to be in complete sync on how products are positioned, how they're priced, and how they're serviced. Now, here's a tip, a successful key account management program by definition will be doing special things for key accounts that other clients won't have access to, and this can create tension within the sales and marketing departments.
Let's take pricing for example. If key accounts get special discounts for volume purchases, other accounts may try to force you to get that same pricing. This is especially true of governmental accounts that will insist on getting most favorite status, meaning they want the same or better pricing that you give your very best customer. Now, these conflicts have to managed actively and carefully. There must be a separation between what you do for key accounts versus the rest of your accounts.
The challenge becomes, how do you keep accounts happy when they realize they're not getting all the perks of key accounts? It could be really tempting for a sales rep to sneak in some of those perks to attract a new client, but if you let that happen, you dilute the benefits of being a key account. Companies must find the right balance between how they support key accounts versus other accounts and new accounts. This is why key account management is considered a board level activity.
The head of key account management must be senior enough in the organization to negotiate and align with other departments to find that balance. Key account management is a great way to lock in the right accounts for the long-term. But hey, it's a team effort, and everyone must see how important it is if it's going to succeed.
- 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