Being a key account manager is one of the highest achievements that any sales rep can have. You start out on the phones doing the daily sales push, and then you move up to account management. Now, you can exclusively work with an account over time and watch as your work has an impact. You are their point of contact at your organization, and they rely on you.
But key account management is a whole different ball game. In key account management, you’re working with the 20% of clients that produce 80% of your company’s revenue and bottom-line-driven results. It’s a big deal, and if you can attain the title, you must be good at what you do.
With this in mind, being a key account manager is more than just holding the title. There are specific qualities that will make a person a well-suited key account manager. Some of these attributes, abilities, and skills are teachable, and others just come naturally.
Today, I want to take a moment to go over the skills and attributes of a key account manager so you can determine if it’s a good fit for you. Keep in mind that if you don’t have these skills now, it doesn’t mean that you can’t become a great key account manager with some training in the future (Kapta has some great resources to help).
Are you organized?
The first attribute that you need to have to hack it in the key account management game is to be organized. In reality, no matter what profession you’re in, whether you’re a key account manager, window washer, or dog walker, you need to be organized.
In key account management, however, there are a lot of variables and moving parts that you need to keep track of. Remember, your goal is to put your clients on the path to success and lead them along a tailor-made account plan that will help them reach their goals.
This means that you need to know who’s who in the account and keep their contact information in one place. You also need to be able to track and manage the progress of accounts individually. The worst thing you can do as a key account manager is to show up to a meeting in the dark with your facts mixed up with another account. If you aren’t already, start implementing an organization system to keep everything in order to save you time, headaches, and potential embarrassment down the line.
Are you empathetic?
Sales reps are often (sometimes correctly) thought as being soulless. They feed off of the next sale, and they’ll do anything and everything to get there. They just want the client to sign on the dotted line so they can cash their commission check and move onto the next.
Is the client actually successful with the product they just sold? Who cares! As long as they can make the quick sale, that’s all that matters.
Now, let’s look at the key account manager. One of the hats that the key account manager wears is that of the Trusted Advisor. They’re the person that their clients turn to whenever they have a question, problem, or emergency.
As you can tell, if you want to be successful in this endeavor, you need to actually care about your client’s success. KAM’s see their client’s success as their own, and the only way to truly achieve this customer-centric mindset is to be an empathetic person.
So, if you couldn’t care less about if your client’s organization fails or succeeds, you probably won’t get far as a key account manager. But, if you feel for others, then you’ll do just fine, and even excel at it if you can master these other skills and attributes.
Can you engage with senior level executives?
Key account managers aren’t just another sales rep, and since you’ll be working with some important accounts, you’ll need to speak to the leadership at the other company on a semi-regular basis. Not everyone has the moxie to present in front of these important people, and if you don’t, it’s not any reason to worry.
Just like you got over your fear of talking to your crush in high school, you can become a leader in the boardroom with some practice. Just keep in mind that as you aspire to become the key account manager in your organization, you’ll need to be able to interact and engage with senior level executives.
Can you communicate well?
So, you might feel like you work well in an office environment, but how well are you at functioning in stressful situations? Proper communication is key in KAM, and misinterpretations can be the difference maker between millions of dollars for your organization.
To be a successful key account manager, you need to be able to negotiate and present well to anyone, anywhere, any time. The good news is just like many of the other skills on this list, becoming a world-class communicator is 100% teachable, and with some practice and experience you’ll be able to win over a room and own it in your role as the key account manager.
Can you focus on what’s important?
The final and most important attribute of key account management is having the ability to focus on the prize and the end goal. Managing a large account is easier said than done sometimes, and you’ll need to deal with multiple moving parts and changing variables on a daily basis.
Even so, through it all, you need to have your eyes on the things that are truly important to the account. You need to keep your client’s end goals in mind in everything that you do and follow your account plan to a tee. If you can do this, dealing with the multiple variables and extraneous factors will be easier, and you’ll have greater chances of success in the end.
How We Can Help
Whether you have all of these skills or only a few, Kapta can help you take your key account management program to the next level. Stay organized and make more progress faster with our platform. Schedule your free demo today!