The Key Account Manager as Quarterback

There’s an analogy I use all the time when talking about Key Account Managers: they are like Quarterbacks in football.

How is a KAM like a QB?

  • You are a player and a coach. You interact with the customer, your management, and other stakeholders. You have to know how to do Account Planning, organization mapping, relationship development – and more. And you have to work with others in the organization to help them be customer-focused, too.
  • You don’t control all the resources needed to get the job done, but needs to coordinate among many teams. As a KAM, your support team may not officially report to you, so you need to use your influence to get the job done. This means working closely with the rest of the organization in pursuit of customer success.
  • You are the play caller. As the KAM, you are closest to the customer and you know what actions to take. Be strategic, but also be fast – your customer is counting on you.
  • You need to improvise and be quick on their feet. Plans don’t always go as expected, so KAMs need to be flexible and agile. React to what you are learning from your customer and the market. When things shift, it’s ok to call an audible.
  • You must be a master of the game. Key Account Management is your passion and you must become an expert in delivering value to your top accounts.
  • Winning is the only acceptable outcome!

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It’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s a powerful one. KAMs run plays, execute passes and score points for their companies.

What do you think? What other analogies (sports or otherwise) do you use to describe your Key Account Managers?

CEO at Kapta
Alex Raymond is the CEO of Kapta.