Focus: Your Secret Weapon as a Key Account Managerin Key Account Management /
Focus on Only 3 Things Per Account
It’s probably incredibly easy for you to feel like you should be more productive. With common workflow styles, most professionals find themselves trying to find ways to maximize every minute that they spend at the office.
There’s nothing wrong with this – after all, staying productive will help you push your clients forward and achieve their goals.
There is a pervasive problem throughout corporate culture in the U.S. however – too many people confuse staying busy for making an impact. In other words, you’re choosing to run on a treadmill to get you where you want to go. While you are in fact running, you’re not getting any closer to your client’s goals.
For this reason, I always suggest that Key Account Managers take a more focused approach and eliminate any goals, tasks, or actions that will have little impact on the client as of now.
Here are a few of my favorite tips that will help you abandon the busy work mindset and start making more progress by doing less.
What is Impact?
So, I mentioned that staying busy doesn’t equal having impact. What exactly is impact? Impact can be anything that has a measurable effect on the account. Impact will help you reach your client’s short and long-term goals. To determine if what you’re doing has impact, ask yourself, “Will I remember this specific action two months from now?” Any action that has impact on the account will have effects later down the line, and if it doesn’t, you should put it on the backburner for now.
What Matters Most?
To better understand if your actions today have an impact on your client’s future success, you need to focus on the three things that matter most to your customer. Just as every key account has a different definition of success, every client will have three main priorities.
Whether it means they care most about sales, reducing churn, etc., you need to get to the bottom of their priorities and find the three needs that they can about most.
Finding the Answers
So, how do you find these three priorities? Don’t solely rely on intuition, and instead communicate with the client. I recommend that you conduct a structured Voice of Customer (VOC) interview to get to the heart of their priorities. Now isn’t the time to talk about their overall hopes and dreams, but rather the specific goals you can help them with. If they’re like most clients, they shouldn’t have a problem providing you with the answers you need to hear. If you are having trouble getting anything clear and actionable, try probing for more information.
Ask questions about their worst fears for the account and work from there. If you know not only what their definition of success is, but also their definition of failure, you’ll be able to figure out what you can do right and what you might be doing wrong.
Align Your Goals
Once you have figured out what your clients’ priorities are, you can then get to work creating a plan of action. Remember, one of the core principles of Customer Success is aligning your goals with your customer’s. This means that their success is your success, so you’ll work extra hard as if the success or failure of your key account will reflect on your own success or failure as a Key Account Manager.
I also recommend that you communicate your new focus with the client. It might seem counterintuitive to tell them, “Hey, just so you know, I’m only focusing on three things.” After all, most people will want you to focus on the entirety of their account. With that being said, if you reassure that you are committed to the account and that by focusing on less you’ll be more productive, they will understand and be enthusiastic about your commitment to their success.
Avoid This Mistake
You don’t need a list of 10 > just focus on the top 3, and keep them top of mind for your customer and your company.
It’s easy to think that anything and everything related to the account will have an impact. While you’re making a list of the top three things that are important to your account, you might start adding more and more until you have a priority list of more than ten things.
Don’t do this!
Having too many to-do tasks, goals, and options can lead to analysis paralysis. Basically, you’ll have too many options to choose from, and you’ll have a challenging time choosing your top priorities, leading you to spin your wheels.
For this reason alone is why I strongly encourage you to focus on only three things for each account. Think about the actions and goals that will actually move the needle in the positive direction the most and ignore the minor actions for now.
The final tip I have for you is to be more consistent. If you are able to narrow down the three most essential elements to focus on, that’s great. The problem is, if you aren’t consistent, the list you made will have little impact.
Every day when you get to the office, keep these three elements at the top of your mind. With everything that you do, make sure that your actions are affecting these three main priorities. It might be hard to get used to this focused mentality at first, but as the days, weeks, and months progress, it will feel automatic. Once you’ve achieved these three goals, you can then begin looking at other elements to focus on.
How Kapta Can Help
Kapta is a robust account management platform built by Key Account Managers for Key Account Managers. You’ll find unique tools that will automate many tedious tasks, so you can spend less time in spreadsheets and more time focusing on the three main priorities of your key accounts.
If you want to see what Kapta can do for your Key Account Management program and how it can help you improve your client focus, request your free demo of the software today!
Lesley is a Key Account Management Specialist at Kapta.