Looking to be a key account manager? This course perfectly sums up the responsibilities of an account manager from the perspectives of both the organization and customers. While this role may vary in different organizations, a key account manager is someone who builds and maintains the relationships between clients and the organization. They are also the ones who liaise directly with the clients according to their needs, be it for sales support or marketing.
With this article, you can better evaluate your skillsets and determine whether you have what it takes to be an effective key account manager.
In this article, we’ll explore the role of a Key Account Manager and review the skills and behaviors associated with it.
The role of a Key Account Manager will vary from organization to organization. However, there are some fundamentals to consider.
The roles and responsibilities can be split into two different perspectives:
The perspective of your organization and the perspective of the customer’s organization. So, let’s start by looking at your own organization’s perspective.
Your organization will probably want you to be the account owner and by that, we mean that you will understand all aspects of the customer’s business, analyzing and determining how you could generate more profitable business for your organization. This will involve building and developing positive relationships with a range of people within the customer organization, from individuals who influence right the way through to the decision-makers.
Your organization will be expecting you to interact and engage with the right people. So, you will want to build a communication engagement plan for when and how often you will communicate with the customer’s organization. You will need to have a system or process in place for keeping your own organization updated on plans and activities. They will want you to develop real opportunities for increased business through a partnership approach.
Let’s now take a look at the perspective of your customer’s organization.
They will want you to be their main contact on a day-to-day basis. They will look for you to fix and solve problems that may occur from time to time. They will expect you to understand their market, their business, their customers, and their competition. They will want you to provide solutions to help them achieve their business goals. They will want a business partner who demonstrates a consultative approach to doing business, not a pushy transactional salesperson.
The essential skills and behaviors to consider are:
- Relationship Building
- Clear Focused Communication
- Sales Skills
- Industry and Product Knowledge
- Influencing and Persuading
- Planning and Organisation
- And Authenticity
How do you rate yourself on some of these essential requirements? Think of it from the customer’s perspective as well as your own.
Ask yourself these questions;
How are my interpersonal skills – my ability to build and develop personal relationships with my key accounts?
Am I good at selling?
Do I negotiate effectively to get successful outcomes for my organization that ensure my key accounts are happy too?
What are my listening and questioning skills like overall?
How well do I represent my organization and the products or services offered?
Am I good at planning my approach to key account management, for example, prioritizing contact, having clear objectives and plans with my key accounts?
And how am I at managing my time effectively?
Use these perspectives and questions to help analyze your own skillset as an effective Key Account Manager. If you feel you’re lacking in some of these areas, then you may be missing out on opportunities to improve your accounts further. So take the time to understand your strengths and weaknesses in the role and then develop yourself to become truly effective.
Action 1: Customer Review
Write down how you think your customers perceive you in your role. Do they see you as someone who is in touch regularly? Are you someone who strives to solve their problems? Be as honest with yourself as possible.
Action 2: Company Review
Write down how you think your company perceives you in your role. Do they see you as someone who understands all aspects of your customer’s business? Are you someone who consistently developing positive client relationships? Be as honest with yourself as possible.
Action 3: Personal Review
Write down how you see yourself in the role of a Key Account Manager. What do you think your role entails? Are you doing as much as you can to meet the expectations of both your customers and your company? Be as honest with yourself as possible.
- How useful was it to define the role of a key account manager?
- What are the key takeaways for you from this session?
- How will you apply this to your role?
- Which key account manager skills & behaviors are your strengths?
- What evidence do you have that would indicate this?
- Which key account manager skills & behaviors are areas for you to work on?
- How will you focus on these areas?
- What obstacles could prevent you from developing key account manager skills and behaviours?
- How could you overcome the obstacles?
- How would your key account customers define your strengths?
- What evidence do you have to suggest this?
- How would your key account customers define the skills & behaviours which you need to develop?
- What evidence do you have to suggest this?
- How will you build a communication engagement plan for when and how often you will communicate with your key account customer’s?
- What system or process will you put in place to keep your own organization updated on key account customer plans and activity?
- What changes will you need to fulfill key account management within your role?
- What will be the benefit to you? Your organization?
- Your key account customer’s?
- What could get in the way of you implementing the learning from the session?
- How will you overcome the possible obstacles?
Check your knowledge
Exam Question 1
What should you understand about your customer’s business?
A. Their values
B. Their yearly turnover
C. All aspect
C. All aspect
You should learn as much as possible about your customer’s business.
Exam Question 2
“You must balance the perspective of both yours and your customer’s organization” – Is this true or false?
Exam Question 3
“Your customers will look to you to solve problems that occur from time to time” – Is this true or false?
- Balance The Perspectives Of Both Yours And Your Customer’s Organisation
- Understand All Aspects Of The Customer’s Business, Determining How You Could Generate More Profit For Your Organisation
- Build A Communication Engagement Plan For When And How Often You Will Communicate With The Customer’s Organisation
- You, Will, Need To Have A System Or Process In Place For Keeping Your Own Organisation Updated On Plans And Activity