Key Account Management, or KAM as it is called, is not a transactional activity. It involves larger stakes and requires a buy-in from all stakeholders who are involved. After all, it is not a single activity we are talking about, but a whole relationship that we are putting on the table. Essentially KAM Sales is a much wider term than sales will ever be.
Typically, there are certain challenges that arise with KAM Sales every now and then, such as, short-term interest wins over long-term goals. Secondly, overpromising. This often leads to mishaps and even fatalities of Key Accounts, especially in cases of overpromising and under-delivering. When everyone at the organizational level is not looped in, there could be a rise in confusion, chaos, and inefficiencies.
But all these probable gaps can be taken care of if certain things are seen to:
Every Account can’t be categorized under Key Account Sales
Identifying key accounts is crucial. Strategic and complex organizations, which are inclined to participate in collaborating and co-creating value should be adopted as Key Accounts. These Key Account Sales should have potential and considerable long-term possibilities to ensure maximized lifetime value.
The contract should be drawn on a study of past data
Key Account Management Sales does not mean jumping into an engagement that may turn out to be lopsided, one way or the other. Once the potential is identified, it pays to study past data to understand the dynamics of the account in areas such as product, pricing, service- gaps if any and growth potential. Based on this, a mutually beneficial contract can be drawn.
Find and train the right people for KAM Sales positions
Key Account Managers may not be your best salespeople and vice versa. KAM Sales needs a unique skill set. It is more of an overarching function like that of a Project Manager. This is a CFT, a cross-functional team that will come from top to bottom in the hierarchy and left to right, across functions. It is integral to have the right team who knows what the stakes are and what they have to do for their accounts to grow exponentially.
Track, Measure and Build
The true measure of a Key Account is in the lifetime value of that customer to your company and the value-added to the customer’s bottom line. This is what one needs to track and measure regularly and build a KAM Sales program that evolves with the customer’s or rather, the Key Account’s evolving needs.
The KAM Sales team should comprise of people who can identify customers that can be moved up to KAM status. The alignment between marketing and sales will define the success of your KAM program. It is all about collaboration and co-creating success.
This is how we feel KAM Sales can be a fruitful endeavor for any organization, please comment below if you have any thoughts to share on this topic! I’d love to hear from any reader who’s been inspired by this blog.