Having goals is important. If you don’t have a measurable and trackable goal, you’ll never make any progress and when it comes to business and key account management, failing to reach your goals can cost your organization big time.
So, did you hit your goals last year? Why or why not? You might not know the answer quite yet, but today we want to take a look at some ways that you can optimize your key account management program so you can hit your goals and exceed your quota once you do your annual review in 2020.
Step 1: Be As Strategic As Possible
Key account management isn’t a short term game, and you must prepare and plan ahead for the future. It’s essentially a long drawn out chess game where the only person you’re playing against is yourself, and you must do everything possible to propose the right solution and the right time to your client, so they feel valued and trust more in your product or service.
An essential part of being a strategic key account manager is becoming a proactive key account manager. Don’t sit around and wait for the phone to ring. If your customers are calling you instead of the other way around, then that means they might be calling other vendors as well.
Your account plans should be so detailed, and up to date that should any problem ever arise, you know the exact solution to put into place. By being more proactive, you can spend your days find new ways to make your customers happy (and drive new revenue) rather than running from fire to fire trying to keep the account above water.
Step 2: Become Their Trusted Advisor
The second step in hitting your goals and exceeding your annual quota is to become your clients’ Trusted Advisor. The worst title that you could ever hear your clients call you is “just another vendor” because it means that you and your organization don’t have anything unique or groundbreaking to bring to the table. You’re just like all the rest and the moment that they feel your service is too expensive or your product doesn’t meet their needs fully, they’ll kick you to the curb.
Becoming their trusted advisor takes a good deal of doing, and you need to manage your reputation with clients proactively. Think about what their ultimate goal is and the quotas that their organization needs to meet at the end of the year to put the account plan in perspective. Remember, a trusted advisor isn’t just looking for a new way to steal money out of the customers’ pockets. Instead, they are the person that clients go to when they need guidance and want expert information. If you’ve done your job well thus far, you should know their organization and its problems inside and out, so you’re ready when they run into an issue.
Step 3: Trust the Process
Transforming an account and reaching the coveted Trusted Advisor role takes time and you’re bound to run into new obstacles and hurdles along the way. Be patient. You can’t do this thing overnight and remember that it’s the annual goals that you’re trying to reach, so if it feels like you didn’t make any progress the next day, learn from it, and try again the next.
Work the “process” of key account management and put in your maximum effort each day to talk to clients, learn more about their company and their needs, how you can make them the office hero, and if you are consistent and proactive in your approach, the results will come.
With that being said, it also helps if your organization is using a powerful KAM platform. Kapta is designed to help get account managers out of spreadsheets and complicated CRM systems so they can spend more time working with their clients. The tool has Voice of Customer Insights functionality so you can easily track the health score of a customer over time and determine which ones require the most attention at a glance. If you want to give it a try, request a free demo.
The Data to Back it Up
Every year, CSO Insights conducts a Sales Performance Survey among nearly 900 global sales leaders to get a pulse on how account managers across industries feel about their work, their progress, and their goals. Their latest report shows some surprising statistics worth paying attention to.
The first is this: in 2018, there was a 15-point (31%) difference in Quota Attainment between companies where account planning “needs major redesign” and “exceeds expectations.”
The second statistic shows that there is a 20-point (50%) difference in Win Rate between companies who are considered Trusted Partners versus Approved Vendors.
What does this tell us? For starters, based on the first statistic, if your account planning isn’t solid, you won’t achieve your goals at the end of the year. This is primarily based on the old adage of “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Every successful account management team has their account plans down to a tee. They plan for the unexpected and constantly talk with their customers to keep the plan up to date so instead of working off of last month’s information, they’re proposing solutions based on the customer’s current needs.
Also, being a Trusted Advisor is crucial to the success of not only your clients but your organization as well. A 20-point, 50% difference in Win Rate isn’t anything to ignore, so you should do everything you can to avoid being “just another vendor” to your clients. Even if you’ve had a relationship with them for a decent chunk of time, if you aren’t going beyond the transactional relationship, it might not last forever.
Hitting your goals and exceeding your quota might seem like a lofty achievement at the start, but if you buckle down, get your account plans up to date and keep them that way while also being more proactive, it’s possible. Don’t become “just another vendor” and find new ways to stand out from the pack.