Our KAM Process: Deep Dive into ACT

Our KAM ProcessTM is a proven methodology for building customer engagement and transforming customer relationships. Here’s what it looks like:

  • Know more, so you can plan better
  • Act strategically and effectively to drive meaningful change
  • Measure that change across multiple endpoints

We’ve already taken a closer look at the Know phase: Understanding your client, their organization, and their goals, as well as any strategic advantages or disadvantages they face in their marketplace. This is where you start to build the subject matter expertise (and client rapport) you’ll need to add more and more value moving forward.

What you learn about your client in the KNOW phase becomes the starting point for the ACT phase, which is what we’re going to cover in today’s post. There are 3 main components to the ACT phase:

  1. Build an action plan. Think strategically and specifically to move the needle on your customer’s goals.
  2. Track your progress. Stay on target, on deadline, on budget, and on strategy—and make sure your client is on board along the way.
  3. Collaborate. As the quarterback of your team, you make sure everyone who’s working on the account, including the client, is on the same page.

Kapta makes the last 2 pieces of this puzzle pretty effortless—after all, that’s what technology is for. Kapta aggregates data from multiple sources to give you real-time status updates on timelines, budgets, contracts, and even client satisfaction. Kapta also syncs with various project management and CRM tools for seamless collaboration between multiple players. So for now, we’re going to set aside tracking and collaboration and focus on the hardest, but most important, piece of the puzzle: Building an action plan.

Don’t get us wrong: Kapta also has tools to help you build an action plan. But whereas our platform automates tracking and synching (essentially doing those things for you), building an action plan is a joint effort. Our technology prompts your thinking, support your process, and captures your planning—but it can’t (and shouldn’t) make an action plan for you. You still have to do the strategic thinking, creative problem solving, and client communication.

Luckily, Kapta is more than just an app. We’re also a roadmap. Below you’ll find best practices and a step-by-step guide for making an action plan that can really make a difference.

Put Customers First

Remember, Key Account Management is all about putting your customers’ needs first. If you do this right, you’ll achieve growth and success for your organization, too—but you have to stay oriented around your customer’s goals as you work out your action plan.

Work Big to Small

At its core, action planning is about translating big ideas into discrete action items. We do this by moving incrementally:

  1. Goals: The big picture growth your customer is trying to achieve.
  2. Objectives: Specific milestones along the way.
  3. Actions: Tactical initiatives to help you reach those milestones.
  4. Tasks: Discreet action items you can assign to individual owners on your team.

We’ll look at each of these in more detail now.

1) Identify Big Picture Goals

By now, you should already have a pretty clear idea of what your customer is trying to achieve. If you don’t, stop. Go back to the Know process. Spend the time there first, so you’re ready to build a relevant action plan.

Once you’ve uncovered your customer’s goals, assign specific numbers and dates to those goals. Here are some examples of strong, specific goals:

  • Increase revenue by 30% over the next 3 years
  • Onboard 25 new customers over the next 6 months
  • Launch new product by Q3 2025

Of course, the exact numbers you assign to any goal are going to depend entirely on your client, their product(s) and service(s), and their market. Working out these numbers with them is another chance to strengthen your relationship, and to add value by listening closely, questioning assumptions, and adding your own expertise and perspective.

In addition to quantifying goals, you also need to prioritize them. This is where your SWOT analysis (from the Know phase) is very helpful. Look carefully at internal and external factors facing your client. This will help you decide what’s most pressing, and what’s most possible, so you can land on a few top priorities to work with.

2) Set Your Objectives

Goals are intentionally big: They can’t be accomplished overnight with a single action. So the next step is to break them down into smaller units, starting with objectives.

Another way to think of objectives is as milestones along the way. Many account managers break this down quarterly, and that makes sense in some cases. But setting objectives isn’t just about dividing 12-month goals into 3-month increments. It’s about thinking strategically: How are you going to achieve this goal? Is there “low-hanging fruit” you can capture early on, while you lay the groundwork for ongoing growth?

3) Think Tactically

Now that you’ve divided your client’s big growth goals into smaller objectives, you’ll determine the actions it takes to get there. Some people call this tactical planning. The best way to explain is by example, so let’s look at a hypothetical client. You’ve already established a quantifiable goal and a reasonable objective along the way:

  • Goal: Onboard 1,000 customers to the new platform over the next 12 months
    • Objective: Convert 100 customers from competitive product with head-to-head campaign (Q3 and Q4)

So, how do you convert customers from a competitive product? You’ll need to understand what they love about their current product—and what they don’t love. You’ll need to communicate to them how your client’s product addresses their pain points better than the competition. You’ll need to create a mini-campaign and messaging, and you’ll need to target them.

Start by gathering your internal team to brainstorm ideas. Then, bring those ideas to the client to get their feedback and buy-in. (Remember: It’s easier for your client to react to something that exists than to come up with solutions out of thin air.)

Here are some Actions that might come out of this thinking:

  • Action: Conduct focus groups in Q1 to understand customer needs, wants, likes, and pain points
  • Action: Develop segmented messaging for customers using competitive product (Q2)
  • Action: Launch a targeted switch campaign for users of the competitive product (Q3)

These are tactical initiatives designed to achieve the objective of converting competitive customers. They are much more manageable than the goal or objective, but they are not quite yet a task. That comes next.

4) Assign Tasks

Tasks are the smallest unit of the action plan. They have an owner and a deadline. They can be assigned to a person and crossed off a to-do list.

Let’s follow the example above:

  • Goal: Onboard 1,000 customers to the new platform over the next 12 months
    • Objective: Convert 100 customers from competitive product with head-to-head campaign (Q3 and Q4)
      • Action: Conduct market research in Q1 to understand customer needs, wants, likes, and pain points

Here are some tangible, assignable tasks related to our Action above:

  • Task: Schedule kickoff call with market research vendor by Jan. 31st
  • Task: Draft R1 of market research questions by Feb. 15th
  • Task: Book moderator, participators, and facilities for focus groups in Chicago, Los Angeles, NYC, Atlanta, and Dallas by March 1
  • Task: Provide initial readout by March 31st
  • Task: Deliver final report with key takeaways by April 8th
  • Task: Kick off messaging by April 15th

As you assign tasks, make sure you ask yourself: Is this something we have the capability to handle internally? Or do we need to get additional vendors on board? If so, what does that do for our timing and budget? Work closely with your PM and internal teams to help make sure you assign the right tasks to the right people, with the right deadlines.

Execute Your Plan

Action Planning moves from big to small: Goals, Objectives, Actions, Tasks. But executing your plan works in reverse: Completing tasks helps you complete actions, which meets objectives and, eventually, achieves goals.

Kapta helps you work in both directions. Our Action Planning templates support you as you break down your customer’s goals into manageable units. And our automated tracking tools make sure you’re getting where you need to go, one task at a time.

Get Engaged

A strong action plan has the power to build customer engagement as well as internal engagement. When people know what they need to do and understand why they’re doing it, they bring more energy and focus to their work.

If you’re still piecing together ad-hoc tech solutions, you might have your SWOT analysis in a powerpoint on the server, your customer goals in notes from a meeting, your timelines in a Gantt chart with a project manager, and a million email threads with client and internal feedback along the way.

Kapta puts this all in one place, so everyone can see who the customer is, what they’re trying to do, and why you’ve built the action plan the way you have. This creates clarity and unity as you move forward, and maintains a direct connection between even the tiniest task and the big, exciting thing you’re helping your customers achieve.


Action Planning isn’t easy—but it’s essential. Once you understand how it works, you’ll find yourself building meaningful action plans that engage and excite your customers and your internal team.

As always, Kapta can help. To see how we use our technology to support this process, schedule a personal demo.

Meantime, stay tuned. We’ll dive into the Measure part of Our KAM Process next week.

Key Account Management Specialist at Kapta
Lesley is a Key Account Management Specialist at Kapta.