Processes are the bones of an organization. Everything gets done by passing through a certain process, whether it’s official or unofficial. In the key account management process, efficiency is everything. Without being efficient, you can lose a lot of money, time, and effort while you’re going through the long-term sales strategy.
Optimizing the key account management process helps you ensure you’re not just reaching your goals, but reaching them in the best way possible with as little wastage as you can have.
Why Process Optimization Is Necessary
The process used to accomplish goals means just as much as the people doing the work or the quality of the goals themselves. Even if you have the right people and a solid set of goals to pursue, your process can determine whether you’ll succeed or fail. Process optimization looks at how you do things and finds what you could be doing better to accomplish your goals more easily and to be more efficient.
Without a well laid-out process, key account management becomes more difficult and may not have the huge impact it’s meant to have. By observing the process for weak spots and making corrective changes, you can optimize your key account management process to become more efficient and yield better results in the long run.
Evaluating Your Position and Goals
Before you can know where your process needs to be, you need to observe to see where you are, where you want to be, and what you need to do to get there. You can’t skip this step or you won’t have a good bearing on what to do to optimize your process. It’s not viable to make assumptions and act on those. Instead, evidence based on thorough evaluation will help you pinpoint what problems you’re facing now in your process so you can look for ways to improve it.
Evaluate the path to your goals. Will you accomplish your goals on your current timeline and with your current process as it stands? Even if the answer is yes, is there a way to do it better? Examine the issues that you’re facing that may be slowing down your progress towards your goals as well as the challenges you’re facing in keeping your process running smoothly (if it’s running smoothly at all).
Make sure your goals are actually reasonable with the resources and capabilities your company has available. If goals are not realistic, no amount of process optimization can help you get there. Re-write your goals if necessary to better reflect what you need to be doing and what you’re capable of doing.
Consider All Stakeholders
Key account management is its own department, but it’s often affiliated with a wide array of other moving parts in your own company and your customers’ companies. All of these moving parts are stakeholders of some time that you need to think about when you’re adjusting your process. Each one could be affecting the process in a negative or positive way, and each one may also be affected by changes you make to the process.
It helps to map out your current key account management process first to see who is connected to each part of the process. This way you can look at the potential effects to each part involved and how you can minimize any negative effects.
Connecting people to the process also helps you look at how each person is aiding or hindering your key account management department in reaching goals. Changes are not always related to what people are doing, but who is doing the action. If a person or group or people is causing strain on the process, evaluate your options to ease that strain while reducing the amount of negative consequence for the others involved. Optimization is not meant to make each person’s job more difficult, but to ease the whole process by utilizing people’s strengths and compensating for their weaknesses.
Emphasize the Reasoning behind Changes
Once you’ve found areas that could be improved and you’ve seen changes you need to make, you should be prepared to justify those changes to others. It’s natural for most people to resist changes in the beginning, but when you focus on communicating why the change is necessary and how it will improve the process you may be able to counter some of the resistance.
You really need to emphasize the reason why the change is necessary. It’s not about focusing only on the benefits, but also pointing out the problem and how the suggested changes will fix that problem. Optimizing your key account management process requires you to know exactly why a change should be done and communicating that to all the stakeholders involved.
Look for Better Buy-In
Getting buy-in for process changes can make everything smoother for you. Large and small transitions both require buy-in from many different stakeholders if you it to go as planned. Without buy-in, you’ll have a tough time making any changes at all, and it may take longer to get the process back on track towards your goals.
If you want more stakeholders to give their buy-in, you should start looking for feedback about your findings and the results of your evaluations. Ask people at all levels of the organization for input about the undertaking to see if they understand the reasoning and are okay with the changes. This is a good way to make sure people understand what’s going on before it happens and to help them get more involved in updating the process.
In many cases, you’ll find that someone else in the organization has a good suggestion about how to optimize the process even more, based on their unique perspective of the issues. Even when this isn’t the case, seeking out feedback and input before implementing process changes will give you a better chance of higher buy-in from all around the organization. This buy-in will make it endlessly simpler to implement changes when the time comes because you’re more likely have advocates working with you.
Keeping track of your process is easier if you’ve got a program already set up to keep track of what’s going on, who’s involved, and how it’s going. Process optimization cannot be a one-time exercise that remains static the rest of the time. Using a program like Kapta can help you as a key account manager to get a good handle on your process and how it’s affecting your company and your customers.