5 Bad Habits of Key Account Managers That Are Keeping You from Reaching Your Potential

We all have bad habits in our lives; whether it’s skipping your workouts, biting your nails, or procrastinating on spring-cleaning (that yard work isn’t going to do itself!). But when it comes to your role as a key account manager, bad habits might impede your work and hold you back from reaching your full potential. You owe it to yourself and your customers to be the best account manager that you can be. If you aren’t aware of the bad habits you commit each day, you could never reach the next level.


Today we’ll look at the five worst habits of key account managers that plague the industry. Nobody is safe from committing these bad habits, but few actually take the necessary steps to break the habits. There’s nowhere to hide today, and if any of these following bad habits ring a bell, now is the best time to start breaking them. Let’s get started!


  1. Being Too Reactive

Do you feel like you spend the majority of each day putting out fires and responding to customer emergencies? If this is the case, you are practicing reactive account management rather than proactive account management. While it’s true that any management role in any industry is fraught with risks and problems, you shouldn’t have to spend each day fighting them off.

When you’re reactive, you end up spending way too much of your time and energy dealing with problems as they arise and taking the blows as they come. If you were to switch to a more proactive management style, you could see much more benefit for the time you spend on the job.

Proactive managers will plan for surprises before they have a chance to happen. You have contingency plans in place, and you’ll see problems from a mile away before they have a chance to do any damage to your customer relationships. Think about the risks you’ve ignored in the past and come up with a plan today to mitigate the damage.


  1. Do you think tactically or strategically?

The words “tactics” and “strategies” are often used interchangeably, but knowing the difference between the two can boost your performance as a key account manager. Tactics, for instance, are much more short-term and don’t do much in the long run to improve the success and performance of your key accounts.

Strategies, on the other hand, are long-term focused and think of the bigger picture. Ideally, key accounts should work with your company for years to come, which is why you need to think strategically. Failing to do so may cause you to fall into the trap of using simple tactics for a quick sale rather than mutual success.

Kapta can help you overcome this bad habit. The best tool built-in for this is the Action Plan. This feature helps account managers break down their customer’s strategic goals into easy-to-follow plans. With the platform, you can build the plan, and then organize and track each of the necessary steps along the way.


  1. Relying on Email Only

This third bad habit is a doozy and plagues more than just key account managers. How often to do you hear your customer’s voice? If you’re like many account managers, you might see email as the quicker, more logical way to communicate. This is a terrible idea. Here’s why:

When you email back and forth with a client, a lot can get lost in text translation. You can’t hear the tone of this voice for instance, and simple phrases can mean completely different things depending on the voice you hear in your head while reading.

Second, and probably the most important failure of constant email contact, is the lack of immediate follow-up. As a key account manager that is (hopefully) proactive, you need to ask follow-up questions to your customers. These questions help you get to the heart of their problems, and prepare for any potential risks. Email, although convenient, isn’t as instant as talking to someone on the phone.

So, the next time you need to get ahold of your client, put down the keyboard and pick up the phone. They’ll appreciate the personal touch.


  1. Not Asking the Right Questions

Do you ask your customers the right questions during Voice of Customer (VOC) interviews? It’s a tricky question to answer. After all, how do you know if you’re asking the right questions? Well, for one, you shouldn’t feel like you can’t see the forest through the trees, so to speak.

We’ve talked about asking your customers the right questions in the past, but to recap, your questions should do the following:

  • They should be direct, with no room for miscommunication.
  • They shouldn’t lead your customer to an answer. You want to know how they really feel, not how you want them to feel.
  • They should uncover their short and long-term goals.
  • Provide you with a new insight you didn’t have before.


  1. Not Knowing Your Customer’s Goals and Outcomes

This last one is a crucial bad habit we’ve seen time and time again. During your day to day work, it can be hard to focus on your customer’s goals. Instead, you might focus entirely on your personal career goals. This is a huge mistake and can lead to disastrous consequences for your accounts!

Key Account Management is almost entirely based on the principle of mutual success. When your customers do well, so does your organization. You want to be their trust partner in their success, and with your help, you’ll make them the office heroes of their organization.

For this reason, it is vital that you know their goals and outcomes. The best way to do this is through a well-planned VOC interview. If you plan your questions well, and really try to learn more about their goals, you can provide them with better account management services in the future. You should also know their ideal outcome. What does success look like to them? Each account will have a different answer, so make sure that you ask each of your customers about their goals and ideas for success.



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