Milind Katti

Milind Katti

September 21, 2019

The 3 Skills Every Kickass Key Account Manager Needs in 2021

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We’ve gone over the fact that 80% of your key account revenue comes from 20% of your accounts. Thus, the key account manager who manages this 20 % of accounts plays a key role in the ongoing success of your business.

He/She needs to nurture your company’s most valuable customers and build a long-term relationship with them, not just as salespeople but as trusted advisors. This key account manager can have such a huge impact on the fortune of a company is in a very influential position. The responsibilities and expectations may be many, but the time on their hands is very less and hence certain skills are needed to do the job well.

Here are the 3 Skills that every Key account manager Professional should have to do his job amazingly:

#1. Effective Communicator

Key Account Managers are in a unique position where they constantly interact with people within the client organization who have extremely powerful roles and positions. Communicating with such high flying corporate executives is not easy. They need training on the specific key account they are handling.

Key Account Managers must strive to constantly keep communication flowing to establish themselves as trusted advisors. The client touchpoints should feel that they can reach out to their account managers with any question/concern and that they will receive a helpful and thoughtful response.

In order to be a successful key account manager, he/she should be indispensable to the client in every way. It is truly an art to keep clients engaged without being intrusive.

#2. Proactive Key Account Management

The biggest mistake that Key Account Managers do is thinking that they don’t need to rock the boat too much. They believe that their job is just wine and dine clients and build a relationship mapping through this. A Key Account Manager must proactively glean insights from the customers about how the product model is functioning for them, if there are gaps in product fitment and if there is any reason for them to be unhappy.

This description can allow him/her to proactively put out key account management fires, even before they arise. This information can be used for new product development to address any gaping need, as spoken about in this blog.

#3. Empathizing with Customers

A Key Account Manager must, of course, have research and analytical bend of mind where he/she understands the client’s goals and expectations deeply, but it is also important to understand any problems that they may be facing. Key account managers must collaborate with customers to create a plan of action to work towards business goals. If the KAMs follow through with those plans while adjusting for market conditions they stand to demonstrate the real value of their company.

A true Key Account Manager will consistently help clients achieve their end goals while remaining in a fiduciary position. When a client can show its senior management that a Key Account Manager positively impacted their bottom line by putting their blood, sweat, and tears in there is bound to be a lasting collaboration.

#4. Challenging The Key Account to Use Optimal Strategies

Look for opportunities to educate your key accounts, or even challenge them with a new way of thinking when appropriate. If they’re asking how to do something a certain way, and you know of a better way, use that chance to educate them for everyone’s good. When a key account asks you how to do something, seek to understand why they want to do that. By understanding their motives and reasons, you’ll be able to recommend an alternative course of action.

Your job as a key account manager isn’t to make friends with your key account, and not even necessary to “satisfy” them. Your primary job is to push your key account, challenge them, and get them to think, in order to make them generate more revenue.

#5. Becoming a disruptive growth key account manager

Nevermore has there been a better time for key account managers to reposition themselves by taking charge of the disruptive growth agenda. Such initiatives by managers are often the most creative and have the biggest revenue potential.

Key account managers that want to do their job well and reach their potential and move into a disruptive growth role in 2019 can do so by:

  1. Breaking the barrier: The manager that can best articulate a disruptive growth strategy will be king of account management. As most companies look to grow, key account managers should be the ones to step forward to create the platforms that will catapult their key accounts forward into new business possibilities.
  2. Data Monetization: While traditional key account management activities continue to be important, more focus can be allowed to drive disruptive growth initiatives that present data visualization and analysis. New tools and initiatives in mining data can help the key account managers to take necessary actions towards monetizing it.  
  3. Competition analysis: The landscape of competitors is always changing. Every day new competitors enter the market. It is necessary to watch out for innovations your competitors are bringing up to stay aligned with the trends in the industry. Only a few key account managers believe defending their key accounts against new competitors that have not traditionally been part of their industry is a priority to their key accounts today. Key accounts can avoid being disrupted, but only if they can see what’s coming.

As a Key account manager, you are now at an inflection point in 2019. You have a clear opportunity to step up to the plan of growth and expansion. So far, most have missed the opportunity, resulting in others being in front of the line for the role. Currently, the plan is ripe for the taking, but opportunities such as this one have a shelf life. With swift, sure action, key account managers can capitalize on their window of white space opportunity.

Do you have what it takes? Does the high salary motivate you? Is your resume going to reflect these skills?Let us know in the comments below if you would like to add any more required talents to this vastly redacted list!

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Milind Katti
About the Author

Milind Katti

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.

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