The Real Challenge for KAM is What Happens After the Sale?
Key Account Management is a challenging function in an organizational setup, alright. Because although it is not responsible for direct sales, it is responsible for nurturing the customer after the sale is done, for as long as is possible. The nurturing is not as easy as the Key Account Management has to work with the customer as a partner would. The Key Account Manager has to understand the customer thoroughly, understand their problems, especially the not-so-obvious ones, and work out win-win solutions to resolve the problem or fill the gaps.
Like any relationship, this is one key relationship that an Account Manager has to work on continuously, without letting up. For this, a CRM alone simply won’t do. The Key Account Management needs a specialized system tailor-made for the role of a KAM.
This system provides an overall view of the entire account, the people involved, the multiple roles they play, their influencer-potential, the stakes that a complex account brings with it and customer dynamics, in order to take the right action at the right time. The new system takes into account the existing CRM and builds on it.
Focus on the Accounts from which you can derive maximum value
Organizations need to identify Key Accounts and help their Key Account Managers to focus on them. There is no point in spreading the Key Account Managers overall accounts. Key Account Managers have a lot of work to do within their Key Accounts. They need to be clear about:
- What their customers are trying to achieve and how they can help them.
- Whether they are aware of and know the customer’s corporate objectives and personal goals? How well they understand their customer is important
- Whether they and their strategy is in sync with the customer’s goals and can lead them to success.
This way, the Key Account Managers can lead their customers to success, which is a win-win. A Key Account Management Software helps the managers fill in the information with the knowledge they have gained about your Key Accounts. It helps them monitor, control and manage their Key Accounts centrally.
It is a reservoir of all that is important to their customer – his goals, objectives, current plans, actions, future plans, concerns, risks, updates, the strategy, the impact, the failures, the measures are taken to correct if necessary – everything is held together in a central place by the specialized system for the Key Accounts.
This bank provides a single-window knowledge to an organization’s Key Accounts and provides deeper insights into the customer relationship. It helps the manager be on the same page with his customers about the actions being taken and their impact and future plans being made jointly by both.
With the right system for KAM technology, the Key Account Manager becomes a trusted partner to his Key Accounts. They can see that he is more than a vendor to them. They know that he provides value for every step planned, every action taken.
The system also provides transparency and clear accountability for both, so that everything happens in time and there are better chances of success when both partners are in it together. This system with its knowledge and information bank about all stakeholders and influencers at the customer level ensures that he is not left high and dry when his first contact leaves his job. This system takes care of people’s movement which is a natural phenomenon in an enterprise setting.
It accounts for the fact that a relationship is between two organizations, and people may come and go, but the trust factor and knowledge built painstakingly over a period, is taken good care of. Key Account management allows the Key Account Managers to take on the challenges of his role while achieving success with his key relationships for the long term. If you found this blog insightful, you can also read our blog on Account Management or Explore the complete guide to Cross-selling and Up-selling to identify unexplored opportunities for your business as well as your clients’ business and grow better in 2021.
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About the Author
CEO & Co-Founder, DemandFarm
Milind is CEO & Co-Founder of DemandFarm. Having practiced and evolved the ‘account farming’ principle for over a decade he established DemandFarm and is passionate about delivering the best B2B key account management tool to serve the needs of key account managers. Milind also serves on the Board of LeadEnrich & is a Strategic Adviser.