The title may make it all sound easy, this process of setting up Key Account Management as a process in 9 easy steps, but you and we, both know it is not easy. However, the sooner begun, the better done. Let’s cut to the chase and start knocking out the 9 steps easy and quick. In this part I, we will look at the setting up part. In Part II, we will look at running and the review part.
- Portfolio vis-à-vis profits: Every business decision needs to be weighed and analyzed for its ability to make a profit. Similarly, the portfolio that will come under the purview of the KAM process needs to be precisely analyzed. You need to make sure that the business sectors, lines that you are in, are deliberately chosen; you need to know why they are chosen and whether they are there for their profit-making capabilities. In business, there is no room for happenstance or chance. Every decision has to be a deliberate one.
- Understanding the customer in-depth: Dissecting the customer on a whiteboard is a good idea. This will help you know who your customers are? Who is good and who is bad? What makes them so? What are their needs – specify them? What are their loves and pet peeves – professionally and in terms of your products? How much are they worth to your business? Detail their behavior patterns when they make key decisions regarding your product or category- new buys, renewals, moving to a competitor? Why do customers buy from you? What are their deepest fears, issues, and challenges? Remember, God is in the details!
- Relationship X-ray: A relationship scan is always good to maintain the health of the relationship or improve it. Where does your relationship with your customer (Key Accounts) stand? How is it seen within your department and within the organization? Do you have the right talent mix within your team to service these customers? Can you accurately or at least closely put a number on the longevity of the relationship, are you aware of the issues involved and the history? How are your key accounts distributed percentage-wise, in your total share? Do you have data and insights on possible opportunities for developing more business?
- Draw up a KA plan blueprint: This blueprint should clearly state the main direction, opportunities, and priorities for each Key Account. It should have a direct link to customer information and should be built as a collaborative effort between internal and external stakeholders. This should then be made available and accessible to all involved in the account. It is a good idea to check if you have had the customer involved and if he has been cued into this plan. You will also need to be clear which information is important and which is not; and also be clear about the source of this information and the source of having it regularly updated and in real time if possible.
In the next part, Part II, we will see how to run and review the KAM process. See you soon!