Is your company hitting its retention, expansion, and revenue goals? It’s easy to blame the key account management (KAM) team when you fall short of company goals.
The team may not actually be to blame. High customer expectations and a highly competitive market combined with unpredictable market conditions have made it more difficult for businesses to achieve their revenue and growth goals.
As businesses continue to strive to do more with less, it’s necessary to make every moment and action count. Otherwise, you risk missing the mark not only with key accounts but also by burning out a valuable resource, namely your key account managers.
Failure to arm your team with a well-defined repeatable key account management process is more likely the cause. That’s because establishing guidance on what to do when and how enables KAMs to focus on doing their best work without wasting a moment thinking about what to do next.
The process keeps them on track and gives account managers the ability to be more strategic with their customers. This allows KAMs to elevate themselves above vendor status to be viewed by VIP customers as trusted advisors. This is what your key accounts actually want, and it helps your reps assist accounts in achieving their top outcomes quickly and consistently.
Let’s look more closely at why you need a KAM process, the benefits of establishing one, and an example of a proven process.
Why You Need a KAM Process
It’s easy to blame your account managers when you fall short of business goals, but without a process, they are left to their own devices. That’s a losing proposition. You’ve failed to enable a team tasked with supporting, retaining, and growing your most valuable clients.
A lack of process often leads to inconsistent performance across your team. Some team members have likely cobbled together their own process through trial and error. Then others are still trying to figure it out. Regardless of their approach, this is disjointed, inefficient, and ineffective. Nobody on the team is on the same page or speaks the same language. And many team members are exhausted, frustrated, or confused.
Effective key account management is complex, involving many elements that, when done properly and in the right order, boost customer and business outcomes. But missing a step or two occasionally or omitting one entirely could mean completely missing the mark.
So, why not establish a clearly defined, easily replicated blueprint for KAM success that your entire account management team can follow? Plus, there are numerous rewards for doing so.
Benefits of a Standardized Account Management Process
There are many advantages to establishing a well-defined KAM process.
Prevents overwhelm: Account managers aren’t left with a litany of things to do. An established KAM process acts as their roadmap to account management success.
Eliminates guesswork: KAMs no longer waste time and energy prioritizing which task to do next with each client, all they need to do is proceed with the next step for each specific customer.
Boosts efficiency and streamlines operations: Our KAM process is proven to be effective. It includes specific activities and steps to follow for each task.
Ensures no steps are missed: All steps are clearly delineated in an established process so it acts as a guide that prevents missed steps that might happen when there isn’t an established path to follow.
Accelerates customer outcome achievement: Working through a repeatable process helps reps remain focused on essential tasks that drive customer outcomes without dropping the ball on details.
Facilitates analytics tracking and success measurement: Tracking and measuring is a key element of a KAM process and ensures that this detail is never missed. This enables you to gauge progress toward customer outcomes, course correct, and recognize goal achievement.
Achieve consistent success: An effective KAM process enables your account management program to operate like a well-oiled machine that routinely achieves customer and internal goals.
Increases customer retention, LTV, and advocacy: When customers achieve their desired outcomes for using your product or service, they are most likely to continue doing business with your company. This boosts customer lifetime value and advocacy.
Improves business goal achievement likelihood: All of these results add up to successfully meeting or exceeding business goals like retention, expansion, and revenue targets.
KAM Process Framework
Now that you understand the importance, necessity, and value of establishing a KAM process for your account managers to follow, let’s look at Kapta’s proven KAM Process™. Use this as a framework to help you get started as you create yours.
The foundation of this process is its three repeatable stages:
Getting to know clients is the first stage in the KAM process. This is about gathering information and insights about the key account.
Activities leveraged during this stage include:
- Org charts and client profiles to understand client organizations and individual contacts.
- Voice of Customer interviews to learn client needs, expectations, goals and priorities.
- SWOT Analysis to develop a better picture of the situation.
Account managers armed with these details can develop an effective account plan to help their accounts achieve their desired outcomes faster than they would otherwise.
This stage is what differentiates your company from your competitors. Clients appreciate it when your KAMs create action plans based on all the knowledge they gained during the Know stage and follow through on those plans.
These plans are created collaboratively through the participation of team members across your organization and with customer input. They are specific and strategically broken down into clear objectives, tactics, and tasks designed to move the needle to achieve the customer’s goals.
Effective account plans specify customer-preferred metrics for gauging progress and goal achievement. During this stage, KAMs monitor initiatives to ensure tasks are being completed on schedule and milestones are being achieved. This enables reps to recognize the need to adjust or adapt plans accordingly and communicate with the client.
Other aspects that are tracked during this stage include account health and progress toward internal goals as well.
Rinse and Repeat
The KAM Process isn’t one and done. It is a repeatable cycle that is continuous. So, once you’ve measured progress, it’s time to revisit and revise during the Know stage, update account plans accordingly, take action, and measure again. This is how you deliver client outcomes more efficiently and retain these clients on the long term.
Establish a KAM Process to Boost KAM Success
Don’t blame your KAMs if your business didn’t hit your retention, expansion, and revenue goals. You need to arm your team with a well-defined KAM process.
Feel free to use our Know-Act-Measure cyclical process as you get started and adjust it to suit your needs.
This proven roadmap for KAM success elevates account managers to trusted advisor status, drives customer outcomes, and increases retention, expansion, and revenue.
Need additional help establishing your KAM process? Schedule a call with a team member to see how Kapta can help accelerate your progress.