I am a Key Account Manager and I am very cognizant of the fact that I can change the fortunes of a company with a single strategic insight at the right time.
Why do I think that?
History is replete with companies that reached iconic heights and then spiraled into catastrophe. A few tragedies that have struck the business community in the past few decades are:
Kodak was once a photography giant and now is long gone! What if Kodak had an Account Manager who was strategically strong and understood that print photography was going to go out of business soon. What if he suggested that Kodak use some of its vast resources to build its digital photography empire? Maybe Kodak would have been the Canon of our age!
Another great example is that of the Hummer. The largest SUV known to man was a coveted car in the 80s and 90s. Owning a Hummer was a brawny status symbol and signaled that you had arrived in life. But in the new millennium, it became impossible for General Motors to market an SUV that gave the questionable mileage of 10 miles per gallon.
Imagine if they had a Key Account Manager who could tell them that the turn of the century was going to bring an increased awareness about climate change. With those environmental warriors in mind, the Hummer could have created a new offering that may have kept them in business. But alas! They did not have a key account manager like me who could show them the right strategy.
But one of the biggest failures of the 21st century is undoubtedly Nokia. The Finnish tech giant, which was once the biggest mobile company in the world is now nowhere! They were unable to keep up with the technological advancements in their field and were stomped upon in the stampede that is Apple and Samsung. Once again, what if they had a key account manager who could anticipate this and provide additional R&D capabilities to ensure that Nokia continued to push out iconic products?
Alas! These companies did not have the strategic insights that my brethren could offer. A Key Account Manager is indispensable for most companies because they can offer strategic insights to a client that could generate additional revenue streams and successfully future proof of the client. So from sad stories let’s move onto success stories!
Boeing 787 Dreamliners are quite literally the dream of airline manufacturers across the world. They are fuel-efficient and long-range jets that bring down the cost of air travel. But to make it fuel-efficient, it was integral to bring down the weight of the aircraft.
Nordam, a maker of aerospace parts and systems worked together with Boeing for 18 months to create a composite window frame that was 50% lighter than traditional aluminum frames. By this collaboration Nordam was able to increase its revenue share from Boeing and Boeing was provided phenomenal external R&D capabilities that it may not have had internally.
Sintex Industries- French Manufacturer
Sintex Industries, a leading Indian plastics molding company was able to team up with a French manufacturer to develop plastic components for high-speed trains. This strategic partnership allows both parties to innovate together to build world-class products for end-users. What could be better?
Some collaborations that are so unique that they have to be saved for last! Timberland a leading clothing manufacturer teamed up with Omni United a tires manufacturer for a line of tire that can be turned into footwear at the end of their life.
The two companies killed two birds with one stone! They brought down their production costs and took up a CSR initiative in one fell swoop! It’s this kind of cross-industry collaboration that fuels the life of a key account manager like me. The ability to impact the environment positively while bringing down costs is what we all strive for. The Key Account Manager who dreamed of this idea is sure to be extremely proud of his achievement!
There is no debate about the fact that businesses have changed the way we humans are interacting with one another and the planet. With strategic collaborations, they can do much more with much fewer resources.
In this context, key account management needs to be strategically strong, dynamic, and future-focused to ensure that no opportunities are missed. An opportunity missed could be the difference between bankruptcy and resounding success! Please comment below if you know some influential examples and if you have any insights to share.