If you happen to be in Prague now, it may not be just for the spring. Strategic Account Management Association’s (SAMA) Pan-European conference is the other reason. After an insightful SAMA 2016, they're back again this year. Over a two-day action-packed pre-weekend, SAM professionals across the World and Europe will debate, discuss and devour, insights on strategic account management.
Will you be around?
There are 18 sessions in addition to 2 Keynotes, over these two days. Some of you might attend all of them, including the cocktails. However, if you are someone with only a limited time and energy, I bring to you DemandFarm’s recommendation on the six sessions that you should not miss.
These 6 sessions cover digitalization, account-based marketing, analytics, automation and not to forget customer metrics. Firstly, do not miss out on keynotes. Johnson Controls' Renae Leary talks about using Design to Supercharge Customer Value Co-Creation. The design is one of the least talked about subjects in the realm of Key Account Management.
One needs to look at the tech space to understand the profound sales transformation design can bring. Undoubtedly, it would be interesting to listen to the story of how Johnson Controls leveraged design in transforming SAM. It remains to be seen though if Renae would talk form or function, in the context of design.
Function, of course, would be forthcoming. Phillip Lund from Schneider Electric has the perfect closing keynote, owing to the touchy subject of talent in SAM. While the Schneider Electric story is about talent management, it would be welcome if Philip could also talk about talent development, skills, and millennials.
1. Quantify and track customer outcomes: Technology tools are changing the game!
Fair to say, DemandFarm strongly believes in the power of technology, to help Key Account Managers become successful. Thus, a recommendation for this session. The team has regularly made a case for productivity tools for KAMs.
In this session, Valkre consultants Jerry Alderman and Brian Kiep team up with Velinda Cox from Konica Minolta Business Solutions to talk about an insight - technology tools to measure your customer's business metrics. How cool is that? Come on, how many of us are measuring customer metrics that we are impacting? If we did that and followed through, wouldn't our customers love us?
2. Digitalization Disrupts the Relationship Map Facing the SAM
Today’s customer wields enormous power. We all know why - the internet, social media, and the wave of digital transformation. Hajo Rapp from Siemens (Read Hajo’s interview with DemandFarm) and Volkhard Bregulla from HP, rightly address how digitization is dissolving the web of customer relationships: a Key Account Management strategy would build over the years. We understand the importance of relationship mapping.
It is one of the key offerings of DemandFarm’s Key Account Management Software. Will these two gentlemen discuss how SAM can address the intricacies of relationship dynamics in a changing power scenario? Will they also touch upon the importance of visualizing relationships, especially in complex accounts? Nevertheless, perspectives on addressing internal business stakeholders by a technical buyer would be insightful for Key Account Managers from the technology sector.
3. Robot as an Account Manager: Are your clients ready for it?
The Mckinsey consultants stole our thunder, almost. My team introduced a Key Account Management BOT called KAM-BOT in November 2016 to introduce the importance of automation in SAM. I am keen to understand what emerged from the Mckinsey survey of 1,000+ business purchasers and decision-makers across all major B2B industries, especially how they like to buy; where digital matters, and where it doesn't. I am expecting the Mckinsey consultants - Varun and Hamza - to share specifics and some tangible action points for KAMs. Read KAM-BOT ebook
4. The New Era of B2B Growth: Moving to Analytics-Based Sales
Is it possible to read anything worthwhile in business today without hitting ‘Analytics’? ‘Data-driven is another. I wish they were ‘just’ buzzwords. To Key Account Management teams, these keywords mean ‘effort’ and ‘study’.
Armed with information, customers can ask the right questions that salespeople and account managers may not have anticipated. The Gallup team represented by Jeff and David will rightfully sensitize the B2B audience about the need for SAM to transition from experience, solution, and relationship-based customer management strategies to insight and data-based strategies that demonstrate unique business understanding and help proactively solve customer questions. This session should raise some eyebrows.
5. Accelerate Growth in your Strategic Accounts with Account-Based Marketing
Didn’t ABM dominate as the most important sales topic in 2016?
If you belong to the SaaS space, you will not disagree. Now ABM is making inroads into SAM. It is still sometime away before we can see some successful models, the debate is essential to assess proper fit. In his session, Bill Simpson from ITSMA has laid out an elaborate menu for advocating ABM into SAM teams. Will you bite it off? The questions he is addressing cover the entire spectrum from who is using ABM to why the ABM SAM alignment is critical? This one should be overwhelming. Who is headed to the bar?
6. How Aptean Accelerated Growth through a Transformational Account Management Strategy
Aptean is a software product company offering a bouquet of enterprise software products. It made a change, from account acquisition to account management. Perhaps, the toughest change management in sales organizations. Charlie and Don from SOAR Performance Group team up with Aptean's Kyle Bowker to tell the story of Aptean's transformation. It is these stories that keep the SAM excitement going.
Are you excited?