Key Account Managers - Overcome Imposter Syndrome to Believe You Belong in the Room with Executives

It’s easy to psych yourself out when preparing to meet with C-suite contacts at key accounts. Looking at titles, university degrees, and experience can make you feel like you don’t belong in the room when it’s time to engage with top executives.

But you aren’t alone. Imposter syndrome affects 65% of professionals, according to a study by InnovateMR. This fear that you will be found out or that you don’t deserve to be at the table is a mindset.

Overcoming this feeling is all about what you do before you attend the meeting or conduct the voice of customer (VOC) interview with your executive contact. Proper preparation enables you to deliver value and a meaningful experience during each encounter. This boosts your confidence to shift your mindset.

Here’s what you need to do to overcome imposter syndrome, so you start to believe that you belong in the room with executives at your VIP accounts.

Do Your Homework

Being well prepared when meeting with C-suite contacts from top accounts is essential to quell imposter syndrome when it rears its ugly head. Review customer details so you’re up to date to prevent any embarrassing surprises and enable you to proactively address any issues that are brewing before the meeting date.

Especially if the meeting is a quarterly business review (QBR), it’s best to conduct an internal account review with the KAM team. This is where you review account information like the org chart, client profiles, previous voice of customer (VOC) responses, and your SWOT analysis.

Then, review notes and check the status of open activities or issues relating to the account plan. Make sure you’re on track to hit key milestones and that no tasks have fallen through the cracks. And remember to check metrics to determine where you stand in terms of customer goal achievement. This is especially important since it arms you with meaningful value-related insights to share with the executive contact.

Prepare Strategic Questions

While reviewing all that account information, you’ll likely identify gaps in account information that you’d like to fill in and details that need to be updated. This can help you formulate some strategic open-ended advanced VOC questions to engage your executive contact in conversation. Then, you can add at least one radically authentic discovery question to the mix to really make your client think. You may surprise them by asking them a question nobody else has ever asked. This will make them take notice and elevate you in their eyes.

Know What You Know

Now that you’ve done your homework, prepared to show value in the metrics, and are armed with strategic questions, you know what you know and what you don’t know. So, when the conversation is focused on something you don’t know, allow someone on your team who knows the topic to contribute.

You can shine by creating meaningful conversations with your strategic questions. Then contribute insights and value based on your research or previous experiences like knowledge of what other similar clients are doing with your product. And these insights are of great interest and value to top executives.

Believe That You Belong in the Room

Don’t let imposter syndrome make you feel like you don’t belong in the room when meeting with key account C-suite contacts. Do your homework so you and your team are completely up to speed on account details. Know the status of activities and milestones in the customer’s account plan.

Be armed with metrics to share with the executive to show him the value of using your product or service. Prepare strategic VOC and radically authentic discovery questions to create meaningful discussion during the meeting. And speak up when you know something of value to contribute to the conversation. Otherwise, allow others to participate in the discourse. Taking these steps boosts your confidence in advance of and during a meeting with executives. Plus, it builds trust and strengthens your relationship with your VIP customer.
Want to boost your confidence further with stronger KAM skills? Register for KAMCon.

CEO at Kapta
Alex Raymond is the CEO of Kapta.