Why are Key Account Management skills important?
As a result, what once may have been a simple sale between one sales representative in the selling organisation and one buyer in the buying organisation, has now become more complex. Now we have many people in the buying organisation who are involved and have influence in the final buying decision, but who are not directly involved in the „solution and/or product” that has been „bought”. Now the challenge is not only that there are a lot of possible outcomes or variables that may or may not happen, but the challenge now is getting to the right people who make (or break decisions) at the right time. The stakeholders are increasing and decisions are being made by users and non-users; these non-users may be far away from the operational delivery of solution and/or product.
„Traditional” selling skills are still important – but they are only the starting point in today’s market. The Account Managers who are now required will need to use a robust and continuous sales process and apply appropriate sales strategies at all levels of the buying organisations they will be dealing with.
Did you know that 80% of your sales probably come from around 20% of your customers? The Pareto Principle is well known and one that applies to most businesses. It is usually this top 20% of customers – those with the potential to generate the greatest Return on Investment (ROI) – a business will typically define as its Key Accounts. Consequently, organisations must pay particular attention to nurturing, growing and retaining these valuable accounts. Needless to say, a skilled Key Account Manager plays one of the most important roles in protecting a business’s prosperity. Account Managers need to continually develop the skills needed to have the essential edge in an increasingly complex and competitive business environment!
A good Key Account Manager with a sound strategy and well planned tactics will win 90% of the time
Who should consider developing Key Account Management skills?
Anyone responsible for managing significant clients, or those who aspire to develop into a Key Account role. Also, commercially focused managers from other disciplines who have responsibility for liaising with customers as part of an account management team, and who have to support the Key Account Managers.
What is needed to be an effective Key Account Manager?
Key Account Managers need to understand the planning process required for their complex key accounts, and to develop strategies for penetrating, winning and developing significant prospective customers. They will need to understand and influence different personality types found in the decision making process within your customer organisations. And to be able to analyse and understand all aspects of your account’s decision and key players. Finally, they will need to understand and apply Key Account Planning that maximise opportunities and minimises threats.