How Successful Key Account Managers Continually Build Their Skillsin Strategic Account Management, Account Management, Key Account Management /
Successful Key Account Managers (KAMs) are always learning—developing their skills and knowledge to keep driving forward. They recognize the pace of change and never get complacent.
Continually learning gives these KAMs a competitive advantage, making them proficient, and productive. They stay current with the ever-changing marketplace and the latest, most effective KAM practices.
Don’t wait for your employer to spoon-feed you the latest techniques. Although they should be offering training opportunities, you need to take the initiative to incorporate continuous learning into your regular routine so you never fall behind.
There are many ways to continually build KAM skills. Here are some options to help you get started.
Reading has always been an excellent way to expand your knowledge and learn new skills, techniques, or thought processes. Books and blogs are a terrific way to incorporate reading into your continuous learning plans.
A search for Key Account Management books on Amazon yields a wide selection, but here are a couple of suggestions to put on your reading list:
- How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie is a classic. Originally published in 1938, this book is still relevant today and deserves to be on your list.
- Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi has endured the test of time. Originally published in 2005, this book has been updated and expanded. It explores an essential KAM topic: the power of relationships.
Check out this post for an additional book suggestion.
Account management blogs are an excellent way to read current industry information published by experts in the KAM field. Here are a few to help get you started:
- Rain Group—offers loads of useful information to incorporate into your daily routine including strategic account management tips and ways to improve client relationships.
- Account Manager Tips—Warwick Brown’s blog is dedicated to delivering account managers and salespeople tips and tricks to excel in their roles and advance their careers.
- Kapta—Our blog is your destination for the latest KAM tips, tricks, and insights to boost your proficiency and productivity. 😀
You can find additional blog suggestions here.
Podcasts are a great way to incorporate learning when you’re on the go, relaxing, or even exercising. Here are a few to put on your listening list.
The KAM Club Podcast, hosted by Warwick Brown is created specifically for key account managers. There’s a new episode released each week, covering practical tips, tactics, and advice on how to build a successful career as a KAM.
The SAMA Podcast is created by the Strategic Account Management Association. This podcast features top companies and thought leaders in key account management, focusing on sharing best practices to boost your success.
Jenny Plant's Creative Agency Account Manager podcast is a must if you're in the agency world. This podcast is for you if you are managing day to day client relationships in a creative agency and want to boost your skills.
David Ventura hosts KAMCast, a show focused on sharing techniques for business leaders. In these episodes, you will learn how to protect your most important customers from competitors.
Webinars are an excellent way to learn new techniques, thought processes, and approaches to managing key accounts. We have a broad selection of past free webinar recordings on topics like account planning, QBRs, and KAM skills development.
Ask for help
You don’t need to do all your learning alone, even if you are creating your own skill-building opportunities. Here’s a few options to consider:
- Learn from peers—pair up with a colleague who’s proficient at something you’d like to improve at. They can teach you everything they know about that skill or topic, and in return you can teach them something you excel at. Teaching enables you both to expand your skillset while strengthening your current knowledge base.
- Practice—is a great way to build proficiency. You can do this by role-playing with a colleague or manager. You can also record your calls and review them to see what’s working and where you need improvement.
- Get coaching—from peers, your manager, or an external pro. This enables you to get objective feedback and guidance for continuous improvement.
Leverage LinkedIn courses, KAMGenius, KAMGenius Plus, or other training courses to expand your KAM skills and knowledge. The classes you select will depend on where you are in your professional journey and which skill or knowledge areas you’ve identified as weaknesses to strengthen.
Join a community
You can join professional organizations, like SAMA, that offer resources to help you continue learning and attend KAM-specific events like KAMCon. This is where you can interact with other like-minded KAMs and exchange ideas while building your skills.
Continually building your skills is the best way to advance your career and boost your success while maintaining a competitive advantage. It’s best to leverage a variety of learning methods to facilitate incorporating it into your day-to-day routine. Start with one or two methods, then expand from there.
Boost your skills and knowledge with KAM training. Register for KAMGenius Plus, the only online video course taught by KAM experts in easy-to-consume bite-sized videos full of actionable tips plus 5 live sessions and certification.
Jennifer is a Senior Engagement Manager at Kapta