Chief Marketing Officer at DemandFarm
As Key Account Management practices head towards a virtual direction, technology takes the center stage. Account Managers and Sales Leaders have to accommodate evolving customer trends and expectations. DemandFarm’s Dr. Karthik Nagendra – Chief Marketing Officer had a one-on-one conversation with Anees Merchant – EVP Global Growth, from Course5i on the Digital Key Account Management journey.
Course 5i is a pure-play data analytics and insights company that focuses on helping organizations drive digital transformation using artificial intelligence (AI), advanced analytics, and insights. The following sections cover some of the inputs from the discussion with Anees Merchant about technology as a key enabler, leveraging multiple stakeholders, transitioning into a digital era of Account Management and much more.
Digital Key Account Management – why is it needed now?
The optimum process to drive sales and client organization involves account management principles and practices. It is important to not only have a large set of accounts within an organization, but also to have good value accounts. When delving deeper into key accounts, understanding their innate capabilities is needed. Account management institutes a process and governance within the organization not only with the sales or client-facing teams, but also with the entire organization. This sort of Key Account Management process helped scale up Key Accounts. Digital Key Account Management in particular has transformed interactions with clients and how to build relationships at a larger scale. In addition, the digital Key Account Management space is also one that is continually evolving. According to Mr. Merchant, “Buyers have changed their behaviors in a significant way. There are many people now who can participate in the buying decision which was never the case before.” Day by day, it is becoming vital for organizations to leverage technology to enable key account management processes.
Challenges when adopting Digital Key Account Management
“We also had our own share of learning challenges along the way. At the end of the day we work with humans and we work with human behaviors and it’s hard to change,” says Mr. Merchant. Here are a few challenges that were encountered when shifting to Digital Key Account Management within Course5i.
- Building processes of governance and reporting so that employees feel that Key Account Management is a part of their job, and not just an additional burden.
- Integrating finance organizations within this process.
- Inculcating a sense of transparency into the process so that visibility into industry benchmark and company benchmark fosters growth.
- Making the Key Account Management process more real-time as an analytics and AI company.
Benefits of adopting Digital Key Account Management
The following are some of the benefits that have come from shifting to a Digital Key Account Management process.
1. Marquee Accounts
Every organization has certain marquee accounts, long tails and recently acquired accounts within key industries. After adopting digital Key Account Management practices, sales leads are able to identify patterns between these accounts and between different verticals that can be leveraged. Marquee accounts are getting bigger and long tails are driving better growth for the company as well.
2. Enhanced customer centricity
Integrating digital tools into the Key Account Management process of an organization has the ability to enhance understanding of the customer for the sales team. The ability to look at an account from various facets and various departments in an organization gives a real insight. Shifting to Digital Key Account Management enables scaling up accounts in this manner.
Things to keep in mind when adopting a Digital Key Account Management process
1. Get the process right:
Think before you act on how to go about before you bring on the technology element. It is crucial to understand, plan and map out how you will be able to go ahead and drive revenue goals.
Involve people within the organization as part of the process from the beginning itself. This helps unburden the process of transition. Additionally, they can see the impact a digital Key Account Management system would make and how it can improve the overall functioning of the organization.
It becomes much more difficult to drive a piece of technology if it does not seamlessly integrate within the existing ecosystem. The transition to adopting a Digital Key Account Management becomes much easier when it can gel with your existing CRM platform.
4. Do a pilot:
Depending on the size of your organization, doing a trial of the Key Account Management processes with a few accounts can bring a deeper understanding when it comes to the hindrances and value that you are able to incorporate.
It is critical to keep all these aspects in mind when evaluating the different platforms for transitioning into digital Key Account Management. This is what makes DemandFarm’s Org Chart and Account Planner stand out. They integrate without any hitches to your CRM platform.
Listen to the complete conversation with Anees Merchant below.