Leading Indicators for Key Account Management Success

A large percentage of the work for key account management is spent tracking and measuring outcomes. You want to ensure that the work you’re doing is actually helping your key accounts reach their goals. If not, something in the strategy isn’t quite working. With this in mind, how do you track your own success as the account manager? What key performance indicators do you use to tell that your work is successful?

Very few account managers stop and think about their performance indicators for key account management success. They simply assume that if the customer is happy, they must be doing something right. Today we’ll take the confusion out of account management success indicators and give you the three that we often use. By understanding your own success indicators, you can better control your customer’s outcomes, leading to a more proactive management style.


Knowing Who’s Who in the Account

Do you have a functional organizational map for each of your key accounts? If someone asked you who the decision-maker for Account A was, could you provide them with an answer? What about the gatekeeper for Account C?

When you know who is who in an account, you can save yourself time when you have questions or need to speak to an important member of the organization. Instead of having to call around and go back and forth when you need an immediate answer, you can simply find the person on the organizational map and dial the phone.

If you are actively managing your key accounts, it’s a good sign that many of the areas in your key account management performance are working well. Having an active and updated map of your key accounts also ensures that you are proactive in your approach. If you already know who is who in the organization, one of the emergencies is taken care of already. If your account maps aren’t up to date, Kapta can help you! Try the platform and use the innovative Relationship Mapping feature to map not only the people within your account’s organization, but you can also track and manage their goals over time, giving you a proactive plan for customer success.


Asking the Right Questions

Are your Voice of Customer (VOC) interviews productive? Do you leave each interview with a new perspective on the account’s goals, challenges, and ideal outcomes? If the answer is “no” you have some work to do.

A big part of this unsatisfactory outcome comes down to not asking the wrong questions so to say, but instead failing to ask the right questions of your key accounts. We wrote a blog post about the types of questions that you should ask of key accounts, but to summarize, your goal with each interview should be to learn something new.

You need a plan before you conduct every VOC interview. Questions should be direct, get to the heart of their problems and goals, and you should avoid leading them in any way. Even if you think they might provide an answer that isn’t ideal, you should face the challenges head-on rather than avoiding them.

Another element of this success indicator is asking the right questions of the right people. The gatekeeper won’t know the exact decision-making process for their organization but the decision-makers will. This also why it’s crucial you have an up to date relationship map for your key accounts. Make sure you’re asking the right people the right questions to gain new insight, and save time.

If your VOC interviews are top-notch, then you know that you’re doing well as a key account manager. If not, Kapta’s VOC Insight tools can help you get your interviews back on track.


Long-Term Thinking

Are you thinking long-term with your key accounts, or just trying to keep them successful for the next week? Successful key account managers follow a defined strategy for each of their accounts based on the client’s goals, ambitions, and ideas of success. You want to see your customers work with you in the long term. The longer that they work with you and the more success they see with your services, the more likely they’ll bring in more revenue for your organization.

How far ahead have you planned each of your accounts? Three months? Six months? Three days? Ideally, you should know where your key accounts will be in 2019 and beyond. It might seem far off, but by realizing these long-term goals today, a year in advance, you can create smaller objectives and tasks along the way to help them reach their goals. This long-term strategy will also shift your focus from reactive management to a more proactive approach.

Think about the future of your relationships, and you’ll find that reaching their goals is much easier.


Why These Indicators Are Important

So, after hearing all of these indicators, you might still wonder why they’re so important to your role. As long as you do your day-to-day duties correctly and stay in contact with your key accounts, you must be doing your job well, right?

Well, as a key account manager, there is only so much that you can control. You can control your behaviors and actions to ensure you’re on course for success. There’s only one thing you can’t control, your account’s outcomes!

These outcomes all depend upon your work as the key account manager, but they also depend upon a number of external factors that are out of your control. When you focus on the things that are in your control like the VOC interviews, your long-term strategies, and the relationship maps of accounts, you can stack the odds in your favor.

Focusing on the performance indicators for your role, even if your bosses don’t ask you to, can help put you in the proactive mindset. A more proactive account manager is a more successful one. Try shifting your focus, and you’ll start to see immediate effects on the performance and success of your key accounts.

CEO at Kapta
Alex Raymond is the CEO of Kapta.