Our KAM Process: Your Roadmap for Building Customer Engagement

We’ve talked to a lot of companies about Key Account Management, and we often hear some version of the same objection: “This would be great for our organization. But where do we even begin?”

Change is hard, and it can feel daunting to establish, expand, or improve your Key Account Management function. We understand, which is why we offer more than an app—we also offer a roadmap. Our KAM ProcessTM is a proven methodology for transforming customer relationships through Key Account Management: Know more, so you can plan better. Act strategically and effectively to drive meaningful change. Measure that change across multiple endpoints.

When you implement this process, you’ll build engagement, reduce risk, standardize processes and drive growth.

Know More, Plan Better

The better you know your customers, the more strategic and effective you can be for them. That means going beyond names and titles to understand your their personal and professional goals, as well as their motivations and expectations. Here’s how we break this down in Kapta:

  1. Understand the dynamic. Start by identifying key customers. Who runs the day-to-day? Who makes key decisions? Who are the stakeholders? Kapta provides a dynamic org chart to show you the full structure at your customer’s organization: Who you know, who you don’t, and who you should.
  2. Understand the objective. This is where you start to understand what your customer is trying to achieve. What are their big picture business goals? What are their team and personal goals? How do they expect you to help? And most importantly: How can you go beyond those expectations so they engage you for even more work in the future? Kapta’s Voice of Customer tool helps you ask, answer, and save these questions so you have the information you need to make a great action plan.
  3. Enter the SWOT team. Get a clear sense of the factors that will contribute to your customer’s success, as well as anything that might hold them back. Kapta includes a SWOT analysis tool to guide a constructive conversation about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats—and capture what you’ve learned to guide decision-making along the way.

Make Action Plans that Make a Difference

Now that you know what your customer is trying to accomplish, you can help them get there. This requires strategic thinking, creative problem solving, and an approach that puts customers first. Here’s how we approach account planning:

  1. Think strategic. Be specific. Account planning is basically the process of breaking down big, strategic goals into manageable action items for your team. Kapta’s action planning tool helps you move seamlessly through this process. When you plan this way, you ensure everything you do serves the bigger strategy, and you create clear purpose and expectations for your team.
  2. Stay organized. Now that you have a plan, you have to stick to it. Kapta helps you track budgets, timelines, and status updates for individual projects as well as for entire accounts. Our dashboards make it easy to see what’s working well, and what needs attention.
  3. Work together. It takes a team to move the needle. Not only your internal team, but also your client teams. Kapta makes it easy for multiple collaborators to contribute to a project, synching to tools like Slack to make things even more seamless.

Measure What Matters

It’s not enough to do the work—you have to show your work. Our real-time data tracking and dynamic reporting tools help visualize results for your clients and your C-suite. They also help you learn from your efforts, creating even more refined and effective action plans the next time around.

  1. Measure specific KPIs. Kapta tracks pre-determined metrics of success to ensure your action plan is proceeding as planned. And if it’s not, Kapta helps you course-correct quickly by raising the flag before it’s too late.
  2. Measure overall account health. It’s not just hard numbers that matter. It’s also less tangible, but equally critical things like client satisfaction, client engagement, and overall health. Kapta gives you “one score that matters:” an at-a-glance score to gauge the strength of any given account relationship.
  3. Measure internal success. Here’s the beauty of putting customers first: Their growth is your growth. Their success is your success. When you help your customers reach their goals, you make it easy for them to renew contracts with you, and maybe even increase their scope of work. Kapta helps you visualize the organic growth you drive through your efforts, and gives you an excellent benchmark for performance reviews, no matter which side of the table you’re sitting on.

Rinse. Repeat.

Our KAM Process is intentionally cyclical. When a client is truly engaged, they’re going to keep sending you work, and that means you need to use what you’ve learned to keep making the work better. What you’ve measured from one action plan becomes part of what you know for the next one, so you can act even more effectively. Keep working through the full KAM Process, and you’ll keep making yourself indispensable to your clients.

Get Started

We developed Our KAM Process to give our clients a clear path forward on their journey in Key Account Management, whether you’re establishing, expanding, or improving your internal process. In the spirit of clear paths, here’s what you can do now to learn more about Our KAM Process, or even start implementing it in your organization:

  • Learn how Kapta can support Key Account Management in your own organization.
  • Download our Big Book of KAM for a longer, more comprehensive read into this process as well as Key Account Management in general.
  • Stay tuned: In the coming weeks, we’ll be doing a deep dive into each part of this process: Know, Act, and Measure.

Transforming Your Client Management is About More than just Software

Too often in the client management space, organizations will think that once they get the right software platforms, then and only then will their relationships spring to life with results across the board. The truth is, just like the new driver you’ve been eyeing for a few months, the tool alone won’t improve your results — it’s how you use that tool that will make all of the difference.

 

So, while you might get the best client management software platform, that’s just the start. If you want to really start driving results and improving the engagement your customers have, you need to implement a few practices, behaviors, and programs into the client management program.

 

Today, let’s take a look at a few distinct ways that you and your team can take your key account management program up to the next level and really kick your B2B customer engagement into high gear.

 

Start with a Plan

Just like any great initiative, you need a plan of action that covers all of the bases from the very beginning. Before you even install a new software platform on the office computers, you need to create a plan that covers a few distinct areas.

 

First, your plan should include software. Having a cutting-edge platform to manage and track your B2B customers is crucial, but it shouldn’t be the only component of your key account management. To make sure you’re doing the right things with your key account management, you should clearly plan for specific actions that account managers will take.

 

These actions can be situation-specific or just general. Along with these actions, you should set behaviors too, which are the automatic actions your account managers will take such as contacting clients on a semi-weekly basis, tracking their account progress, etc. Along with actions and behaviors, you need to plan for change management.

 

Implementing new policies and procedures is bound to disrupt some existing company actions, so managing the transition is a must. Finally, once you have your client management program in place and have established the actions, and behaviors of your account managers, reinforcing these principles will help the program stay consistent and deliver real results through customer engagement.

 

How Will Your Business Transform?

When you put this new plan into place, you should focus not only on the end goal and what this software and key account management program will deliver but you should also focus on the “how” in the equation as well. How do you think that your business will transform? What is the best case scenario and what are some mistakes that you should avoid at all costs?

 

By planning not only for the success of the platform but also any inadvertent failures, you have a better chance of getting the results you desire. Think specifically about your goals with the program and the metrics that you want to track. Essentially, you want to define success as a specific idea for your organization and your organization alone.

 

If you’re trying to achieve more connection with your customers, then your emphasis should be on how often your account managers reach out to customers, and the software platform that you select should enable seamless communication across the board. Look for platforms with built-in tools like Voice of customer Insights so you can track how often you speak to customers along with account management features that track every contact in the account, so you know who to speak to for specific questions.

 

If you want to improve engagement with your customers, your new platform should track the health of the relationship. See when you last spoke to them along with the solutions that you can provide that will enable you to become their Trusted Advisor by delivering real results for their company.

 

If you want better business results on your end, you should foster a Customer Success program where your account managers are trained to become the Trusted Advisors of their clients, improving not only their results but driving revenue growth for your business as well.

 

Whatever your goals are, think about how they will transform your business and shift your company culture. Once you have the how nailed down, then you can start going after the what.

 

Assemble Your Team

Once you have an idea for how your business will adapt, it’s time to assemble your team and coach them to success. Every successful key account management program is made up of highly-skilled individuals that follow specific actions every day to make their customers more successful.

 

These actions can be voluntary, but more times than not, some of the most important daily tasks are behaviors and automatic in a sense. You can’t install a software platform and expect the program to take care of itself, so having a highly-adept team trained in the art of key account management will ensure that they’re using the tool to achieve results rather than relying on it to show them the way.

 

Software Does Matter, but It Isn’t Everything

Keep in mind that software is important. Without Word, we’d still be using typewriters to write blog posts. Without Excel, drafting spreadsheets would be a tedious task. Technology isn’t the problem here; it’s how you use it that can be the problem.

 

You should think of your technology like a screwdriver or a hammer. It’s simply a tool to make the job easier, but it isn’t going to do it all by itself. In essence, it’s just a piece of your client management program, but you should not treat it as the end-all-be-all. Focus on your team and their skills and competencies first, and then how you can better serve your customers. With those things in perspective and at the forefront of the client management program, you’ll have a better chance and driving real results.

 

How Kapta Can Help

Kapta is a client management software platform that works like the Swiss Army knife of your client management program. It’s an intuitive application that helps your account managers stay on top of their customers without getting in the way or hindering your work. If you want to see how Kapta can elevate your client management efforts, request your free demo today.

 

 

The Software is Just the Start: How to Kick your B2B Customer Engagement into High Gear

B2B customer engagement is complex. Unlike in B2C industries, B2B customer engagement involves more people representing each company. You and your team are likely to interact with multiple people or teams rather than just one person. This means you’ll want a solid, well-rounded strategy to help you make consistent progress.

 

Software Isn’t Enough

You can’t rely on any one tool or action to make customer engagement happen. Excellent customer engagement comes from a combination of different inputs. Many excellent tools exist to help you, including software like Kapta, but they only work as part of a complete plan. Software alone cannot make customer engagement happen.

What else do you need to think about to improve engagement? A complete B2B customer engagement plan includes at least 4 other inputs:

1) Actions

The right software and tools will help you know when to act and what actions to take, but you still have to make it happen yourself. Customer engagement is easier when you’re actively involved with the account instead of operating with as few touches as possible.

Make your actions count. Don’t do busywork with your customers. Each touch should be effective and should have a distinct impact on the client. Too many actions without much to show for it means you’re operating very inefficiently, which could damage your relationship with the customer down the road. Use software to guide your actions and add more value to the customer.

2) Behaviors

Customer behaviors are changing. If you don’t keep up, you might be replaced by a company that will accurately meet the needs of the new customer. Your organization’s behaviors need to easily accommodate your customers and make it incredibly simple to engage with you.

Your customer-facing teams need to prioritize value. It’s not enough to just provide the product or service the customer is buying from you. Fantastic customer engagement happens when you habitually focus on going the extra mile for them. Create organizational behaviors that naturally add value to your customers.

3) Change Management

Change management isn’t just an internal practice. Any time you make changes, you will have to lead your customers through those changes as well. Some changes don’t result in a dramatic shift for the customer, while others do. Your customer engagement plan must include procedures on how to lead your customers through any organizational changes that come up.

Learn about the challenges they see from their perspective and respond accordingly. Analyze your customer interactions to understand every point at which they connect to your system, and how that’s likely to be affected by the change.

This part of your customer engagement plan can really benefit from complementary software. You can keep updated metrics, collect usage data, and get a clearer picture of how, when, and why your customers interact with your business.

4) Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool to promote customer engagement. Having an immediate benefit for customers who are actively engaging with you can keep them coming back and encourage other customers to improve their engagement. The type of reinforcement you provide depends on your industry and business environment.

 

All of these pieces work together to make a more complete customer engagement plan. You need a strategy in place that considers actions, behaviors, change management, reinforcement, and software together. Focusing too much on one component, especially the software, will leave you with an incomplete plan.

 

Define Your Business Transformation

To make the step from where you are now to better customer engagement, you need to define what that looks like in your context. What are you hoping to achieve by transforming your business?

Know what you’re looking to achieve before you make any changes to your customer engagement plan. You need to be able to measure your progress in order to know if you’re making the right changes or not. Without defining what you want first, you’re gambling that you’ll be able to reach a goal you can’t clearly identify.

As a B2B company, your success is directly tied to the success of your customers. How you engage with customers and how you encourage customer engagement should tie into mutual success for both of you.

 

 

How to Reach Your Goal

Whatever you want to accomplish through improved customer engagement, the goal is to first kick that into high gear. There’s a balance that you need to get within your own team to make it happen. You need to have the right people with the right skills exhibiting the right set of behaviors.

Sounds vague, but you’ll fill in the blanks when you know what you’re trying to accomplish. The right team of people will look different in your organization than it would in another. But, picking the right people is an essential part of getting everything else right. If you don’t have a good team working with you, your efforts to refine your process will be fruitless.

Choosing your team takes time and decisive action on your part as the team leader. Prioritize the skills you need, remembering that your team will be directly customer-facing.

Crafting behaviors in your organization requires you to know what you want to accomplish and how you want to get there. Behaviors are made by reducing your goals and the paths to those goals down into actionable steps that you do all the time. The behaviors your team exhibits should be pushing towards greater customer engagement at all times.

Once you’ve got the basics build-blocking, you can add in software to give your performance and all your efforts a boost. It’s vital to build on a pre-existing foundation instead of counting on the software to do the heavy lifting for you. Create something scalable, then scale it exponentially with software that can help you improve customer engagement.

 

Conclusion

Kapta has helped B2B companies around the world to improve customer engagement and create lasting partnerships. But, no software can solve all your problems on its own. Without your efforts to put together all the other pieces of the puzzle, it can easily fall flat.

We recommend a more thorough approach to improve customer engagement. Take time to focus on improving each part of your customer engagement plan before introducing software that will elevate your entire effort.