Without the right tools, you can’t be nearly as effective, efficient, and successful. Whether you’re building a house or a relationship, you can’t be your best if your tools of choice aren’t correct. In the account management world, all too often we see that companies would rather jerry-rig their CRM platform to do high-level account management work, and it’s hurting them and their customers in the end.
Although CRMs do have their place in parts of your organization, once the client has signed on, the best way to deliver on your promises and make them successful is to export their data to a different platform. If not, you could be running around in circles, putting out fire after fire, and spreading yourself too thin because your account management system provides little to no insight, and doesn’t allow you to be as strategic as you need to be in a highly competitive field.
Are you still using a CRM platform for all of your key account management tasks? It’s time to stop. Here’s why:
CRMs Have Their Place – It’s Just Not in the Account Management Department
CRM platforms have their place, and a few years ago, they were practically the gold standard when it came to tracking and managing a client or contact as they moved through the sales funnel. What they mostly have going for them is their dead-simple functions that pretty much anyone can log on and start using with minimal onboarding.
Before the sale, when there really isn’t much to track besides a name, phone number, email, last contact, and general notes, CRM platforms are fine enough. If you want to put all of the heavy lifting on the back of the sale rep, having this digital Rolodex can help them make sure they’re calling the right number and speaking to the right person.
What if you want to do more than that, however? What if you want to see how a relationship has grown and progressed over time? What if you want to plan the next steps and future steps after those steps? What if you want to keep track of wins and losses? Well, it is kind of possible with a CRM and a selection of other tools, but it’s not nearly as effective as you might think…
Fixing Something That Will Never Work
More times than not, we’ll see that organizations are using way too many software tools to get the job done. In a way, their key account management department is held together with digital duct tape, which can lead to trouble down the line when it all falls apart, or a client asks a question about something that isn’t in the notes tab. If all you care about is selling the product to the customer and then leaving them hanging until their QBR, by all means, use a CRM platform. If you want to actually become that customer’s Trusted Advisor and learn their business inside and out with the promise of growing the account, cancel your CRM subscription immediately.
The market is very competitive, and you need to separate your company from being just another vendor to being your customer’s Strategic Advisor that they can ask about anything and everything. CRM tools are far too limited to help you attain that title not to mention you’re wasting money on a subscription to multiple platforms jerry-rigged together. The hard fact is the CRM platform is outdated and can’t handle the demands of the modern customer and key account management team. It takes too much effort to get them to work like they are supposed to and account managers end up spending most of their time trying to play computer programmer than their actual role and talking to clients.
Relationships Matter More than Sales
As we enter uncertain economic times, you might be thinking that taking away your sales platform is the exact opposite of what you should do. You need to focus on hunting more and more clients to brace for impact, right? While you shouldn’t ever stop growing, in tough times, landing more brands and clients can be a waste of resources, especially since your strategic accounts can make up 70% of your organization’s revenue.
Strategic accounts are the ones that have been there for you for years, and over that time, you’ve come to know their business, goals, needs, and challenges inside and out. The problem is, if the account management and sales teams are using the same ad-hoc CRM platform, you won’t be able to fully deliver on your promises or make any real headway on the account (at least not as much as you could.)
With a fully-optimized key account management platform, you’ll be able to better manage your accounts and ensure that your key accounts are happy and ready to continue investing in your services. Remember, your key accounts are more likely to buy premium services from you and likely spend more on your services and products every month than other accounts. Take care of them, and they’ll take care of you, and the relationship will always trump new clients.
You Must Be Precise
To take care of your key accounts, you need to be precise. While your strategic clients tend to be more forgiving than newer accounts, you still can’t be sloppy and make mistakes in their account management. A CRM, unfortunately, won’t be very forgiving, and when key account management teams rely on CRM platforms, mistakes are bound to happen. Whether that’s a missed meeting because the platform doesn’t schedule them or a missed note that leaves you unprepared at the next review, your platform can do more damage to your relationships than you might think.
You don’t want to run into any surprises when it comes to your biggest accounts, but your CRM isn’t built to tell the future. It’s built to manage contact information and pipeline data and not much else. Your clients turn to you as their Trusted Advisor so you must understand their business and industry to the fullest. A CRM won’t provide you with the insight that you need to see where you stand with your clients. Instead, you’ll just know that you talked to X person a month ago and they haven’t called so everything must be fine.
A successful key account management department doesn’t operate on uncertainty, so it’s crucial that you know where each account stands at any given moment. While the CRM will tell you basic information and update you about the accounts, when there are better, more in-depth tools available, your clients are depending on you to use them.
Bring Your Account Management into the Future
These days, everyone is online. Whether updating their LinkedIn feeds or looking at funny cat pictures, your clients are always connected. Why isn’t your account management team? Anything can happen at any time, and although we don’t welcome uncertainty, we have to know whenever an emergency is imminent.
Because we’re all so connected, we’ve come to expect it in a variety of areas from food delivery to account management. If your team is using a platform that hasn’t seen any major changes in the last five years, you might as well be using a typewriter to handle your accounts. The modern key account management team requires modern solutions that can adapt and do all of the heavy lifting.
The days of being bogged down in spreadsheets, emails, and pipelines are long gone, and instead, the best teams have autonomous programs handle all of the technical work while they work with people. In a way, by using modern, cutting edge technology, the modern account management team is taking everything back to its roots: relationship building.
Your customers will also notice when you bring the team into the future. You’ll have faster response times, better ideas, and your strategy will be so thorough and forward thinking that they’ll think you are some sort of mind reader when you predict their account’s future. The right tool can do all of this and more.
What the Right Tools for the Job Look Like
So, now that we’ve bashed CRM platforms for almost an entire post, what does a reliable, effective KAM platform look like? Well, there are a few uncompromising attributes that you need.
First, it needs to be easy to use. If it isn’t easy to use, the account management team won’t want to use it, and you’ll have a hard time convincing them to abandon their suite of CRM and other platforms. Getting the buy-in from the whole team is crucial, but if they can try it out and experience the workflow for themselves, they’ll soon come to your side.
Next, it shouldn’t be just a one-trick pony and should instead combine all of your favorite features and tools into one. Kapta includes many features that account managers use daily including the Account Planning tools to help make the process a breeze, Voice of Customer Insights, along with visuals so you can see the information that you need at a glance.
The platform should also foster collaboration and help you build relationships first and foremost. Being a successful key account manager means that you work well with others, and you can practically weave a strong relationship with somebody out of thin air (given enough time). Many CRM platforms, although called customer relationship management, aren’t very relationship-driven. They are more there to see how much money someone has spent and whether they are worth your effort—that isn’t good key account management.
Your key accounts always deserve your time and attention, that’s why they are your key accounts, and your KAM platform should reflect these priorities. In addition, you should build relationships with people on the rest of your team and collaborate to improve the workflow, processes, and results of the entire department. A rising tide raises all ships, so if your platform has room and tools to collaborate, it’s the way to go.
Having the right tools for the job can be the difference-maker in your account management duties. The problem is, too many organizations assume that the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” strategy applies to everything, including their department. Look, CRMs have their place, and sales teams across the world use them daily to great success. But, a KAM team has different needs, and their customers deserve better.
Bring your account management team into the future with a platform that was made for you, by account managers that know the common challenges and pain points of the modern-day key account management team.
How Kapta Can Help
Kapta is an all-in-one enterprise key account management platform that enables you to do more for your biggest clients. Rather than being stuck switching between app to app, Kapta offers all of the tools that key account managers need in one place. With this convenience in mind, by integrating Kapta into your daily workflow, you can spend less time bogged down in spreadsheets and more time talking to your clients and building and nourishing your relationship with the people that matter most to your business. Built for key account managers by key account managers, Kapta takes the CRM model and elevates it with premium features like Voice of Customer (VOC) Insights and the account health score feature, so you know where you stand with your accounts at any moment.
To try a free demo of Kapta, schedule one here.