A Roadmap for Key Account Management (KAM) Excellence

Do you have a roadmap for Key Account Management excellence?
Without a roadmap, you risk getting lost or making a wrong turn. You can’t determine where you are starting, where you are going, and what to do next.

A roadmap acts as your compass along the way, providing guideposts and milestones to help you stay on course.

This is what Alex Raymond, CEO of Kapta discussed in his presentation titled, “The KAM Maturity Model,” at KAMCon. He talked about the importance of having such a roadmap so you can plot your course, track your progress, and always know what’s next.

He started by talking about why the KAM Maturity Model was created.

Why the KAM Maturity Model Came to Be

Developing an excellent KAM program is a journey. It takes time, effort, and commitment to make it happen. It’s important to understand what a successful KAM program looks like, and how to start moving your account management or customer success programs in a way that makes a meaningful impact on the business.

If the CEO asks us how it’s going, what we need, or what’s happening, we’re able to show the impact we’re having internally. To effectively do that we need a vocabulary and framework to show people where we are and how we are moving toward. That’s why we introduced this concept of the account management maturity model.

How the Account Management Maturity Model Was Created

The KAM Maturity Model was built on our experience in working with many companies over the years to understand what good looks like in terms of a KAM program. We’ve learned the sustainable best practices and what leads to serious problems. In other words, we have learned what works and what doesn’t work when developing a KAM program.

After working with so many companies, we have a deep understanding of how a program evolves and what the logical steps are as an account management program is rolled out.

This model brings structure, goalposts, and milestones to the process. It provides “clarity to be able to say, ‘We got here! Now what’s next?’” Alex explained. “We celebrate our wins along the way and are able to see the progress that we’re making as an account management team versus just having this amorphous idea that we want to go do it, but we don’t know where we’ve been and where we’re going.” So, the KAM Maturity Model is a roadmap for creating an increasingly successful account management program.

The KAM Maturity Model Explained

We’ve taken the complex account management strategy and broken it down into various elements and phases. Although there are actually five stages in the Maturity Model, let’s look at the three main phases of the journey of developing an effective KAM process.

Phase 1: Beginning the KAM Journey

If you’re just starting out and you’re at level one or level two, you probably don’t have a lot of structure, aren’t doing much training, and don’t have a lot of consistency in what you’re doing.
We recognize this when we hear that a company has 10 account managers on their team and 11 different ways of doing things. They’re all over the place and totally scattered in ways like their reps all have different slide decks, with one using PowerPoint, and another using Excel for the same thing. And it seems like they might need to use duct tape to hold everything together.

At this phase, everybody sees the disarray. Your clients also know when you’re at that phase versus when you’re more organized and process-driven.

Phase 2: Halfway Along the KAM Journey

As you evolve, you start to pick up on best practices and figure out the things that work for you. This is where you’ve started to establish a baseline. For example, you’re using a similar format of QBR across your team and are doing them more consistently.

You’re starting to create account plans and understand what you need to do to help customers achieve their desired outcomes. At this point, you may also be doing some type of account management-specific training.

Plus, you are starting to see how your team is contributing to the company. You can see where you are going as a team and are starting to feel a bit more cohesive.

Phase 3: Applying KAM Best Practices

When you reach phase three, you’re leading the way. There are mindset shifts that are happening, like becoming customer-centric and starting to live it to the point that it’s in your DNA.

You have established a structure and process for account plans. You know what they look like, what’s in them, how often and who needs to review them, and how to leverage these plans.

Your QBRs are dialed in, they happen consistently, and you’re able to report on them, identify gaps, and where one was missed. You also have a segmentation strategy for your portfolios, dedicated training for your account management teams, and you have a clear understanding of how to evaluate your progress.

The KAM Maturity Model as a Roadmap

Regardless of where you are on your journey, it’s okay if you’re committed to the journey and to continuously improving yourself. You want to be able to measure your progress by determining how much you have advanced since last year or two years ago. You want to start to identify your leading indicators for success and how you’ll know you’re making progress. That’s what this maturity model is based on.

There are 10 different comparison areas in the KAM Maturity Model to help you assess which stage you are in for each area. These include:

  1. Process
  2. Team Behavior
  3. Internal Communication
  4. External Communication
  5. Account Plans
  6. Frequency of Reviews
  7. Training
  8. Technology
  9. Leadership Mindset
  10. Customer Experience

Plus, the Maturity Model includes key milestones to help you level up along your journey.

Start Tracking Your KAM Journey

Spend a few minutes scoring your current state based on the KAM Maturity Model. Determine where you are today. Then use this tool to review what’s going on, where you are, and where you have gaps. Don’t worry about where you are in the journey as long as you are seeing progress along the way. Then focus on the areas where you have a massive opportunity to fix something that will have a significant impact on your progress.

It’s important to think about the milestones delineated in the account management Maturity Model as well. They help you determine how you’re doing. They help you recognize when you have arrived at the next stage based on what shifts are taking place inside the team and the level of support you’re receiving from the CEO or C-suite.

Download the full ebook here, and make sure to revisit the KAM Maturity Model routinely to use it as a benchmark to track your progress over time.

Senior Engagement Manager at Kapta
Jennifer is a Senior Engagement Manager at Kapta