Growing a strong account management team requires more than just good salespeople. It also requires solid account management software to support your team. While CRMs have taken the place of account management software for as long as it has been around, it’s time you give your team the tools they need not only to succeed in their role, but to excel.
Account management software has the tools to take your account management team to the next level. With account health reports, SWOT analysis tools and the ability to integrate with other software platforms, account management software gives your team a seamless all-inclusive experience. Keep reading to learn more about account management software.
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Table of Contents
1. What's Missing in Your Customer Success Software
2. Customer Success Platforms vs. Account Management Software
3. The Key Account Strategy Template for B2B Businesses
4. Underutilized Account Management Tools and Techniques
5. The Future of Automated Account Management
6. 4 Steps to Creating a Successful Key Account Management Program
7. Automation and Relationships: Choosing the Best KAM Software
What's Missing in Your Customer Success Software?
Account management requires more insight and visibility than the typical sales position, which means, your software does too. While CRM’s provide valuable tools, they miss key components that can help your KAM team reach the next level. What tools does KAM software offer that your current customer success software is missing?
1. Data Management
Data management is an integral part of key account management. It allows your team to manage their accounts proactively rather than reactively. Proper data management tools will give deeper insight into account health and developing trends. They give you the ability to pull reports from different perspectives so your team can ensure they don’t miss out on any potential opportunities.
Additionally, proper data management will also help secure your client's data and make it more accessible to everyone on your team. This can streamline the process of identifying clients needs and will help alleviate weaknesses such as:
- Silos: When your team has to input information into multiple systems, this data can be restricted from other parts of your team. This results in disorganization and miscommunication throughout your organization and can make your KAMs job harder.
- Retroactive Management: Without proper tools, it can be challenging to get a full read on the health of an account which in turn makes it difficult to properly diagnose an account’s needs.
A problem that plagues the key account management industry is disparate technology. Isolated systems pose significant setbacks for your KAMs by forcing them to input information multiple times and potentially miss key information because it didn’t transfer over to another software platform. Different employees use different software. However, having technology platforms that can integrate to provide a seamless user experience will save everyone time and frustration.
While different employees use different software, having technology platforms that can integrate to provide a seamless user experience will save everyone time and frustration. It can help reduce the pain points of:
- Repetitive Data Entry: Entering the same data across multiple platforms is repetitive, time-consuming, and ultimately costs your organization money. Having synchronized systems allows your team to enter data one time and automatically update across all systems.
- Manual Multi-Step Processes: Many software systems today can perform complex workflows, which takes these typically manual processes off your team’s hands to focus on building relationships with clients.
- When all of your systems communicate, it reduces the potential for human error and helps your team save time and, therefore, money.
- There are plenty of tools that will help your account management team make the most of their time. To learn more about these tools, check out this article.
3. Organizational Hierarchy
Problems that arise due to disparate technology and poor insight include a lack of organizational communication. This can lead to poor decision-making and fragmented teams because key data may be hiding just out of view.
It is essential to break down barriers between internal teams to eliminate as much confusion and miscommunication as possible. KAM software can help make the organizational hierarchy clearer and straightforward, so it is easier to communicate throughout the organization.
Organizational transparency also gives your account managers a better structure for approaching upsells. A clear hierarchy tells them when and who within their organization they should reach out to in these instances. This helps streamline the process, so your team doesn’t miss these lucrative opportunities.
Basic customer success software misses the mark on many tools and abilities that help account managers guide their clients. For more information about what else is missing from your current software, take a look at this article.
Customer Success Platform vs. Account Management Software
The terms “customer success” and “account management” are often used interchangeably. However, there are distinct differences between these two strategies and even greater differences between the software used for these different objectives.
Key Account Management vs. Customer Success
While the goal to build and maintain client relationships is the same between account management and customer success, the way in which the goals are accomplished and measured varies. Here is an in-depth look at exactly how these two strategies differ.
1. Client Focus
Key account management focuses on a very small number of clients within an organization. These accounts are the most important accounts to the company in terms of potential growth. Key account managers within a company usually don’t work with more than 3-5 accounts at a time.
Customer success is a much more widespread effort that focuses on retaining the highest number of customers. It focuses on interactions with all clients rather than just the top-performing customers.
A significant difference between customer success platforms and key account management software is the ability to advocate for your clients. While customer success platforms organize your data, KAM software also provides real-time account health scores to help you make informed decisions, can expand project management capabilities, and offers specific key account management planning capabilities.
2. Relevant Industries
Companies within the B2B industry can take advantage of a key account management strategy. However, the same principles can’t be applied in the B2C industry. Customer success is limited to a subscription-based service and can be applied in either B2B or B2C.
3. Customer Lifecycle
Depending on the specific account, key account managers may not accompany the client throughout their entire lifecycle. If a new client is being brought in that has the potential to become a key account, a KAM may be assigned to them early on. Similarly, if an existing key account moves out of this position, the KAM will be removed.
Customer success has no role in bringing in new clients, and their sole focus is retaining existing customers. During the lifecycle, customer success is typically only present after a sale.
3. Level of Interaction
Key account management requires frequent and personalized interactions with their accounts, whereas customer success interactions with clients are usually not as demanding. Because of these differences, KAM software requires more specific tools to manage these in-depth relationships, unlike customer success programs that may only track when a contact was reached out to.
4. Measuring Success
The way KAMs measure success is based upon each client, unlike customer success, which typically measures success by how well customers can use your product to reach their goals, such as lower churn rates. Customer success measures success for their customers as a whole whereas, KAMs focus on each client.
Despite a few similarities, customer success and key account management have varying differences, and the tools needed for each job should reflect these differences. To learn more about these distinctions, read this blog.
The Key Account Strategy Template for B2B Businesses
Creating a B2B strategy for all of your key account managers to utilize will help streamline processes and ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to managing these significant accounts. With a structured roadmap strategy, each KAM can make personalized adjustments based on each client’s needs and goals. This strategy should be well organized with a clear structure that will empower your managers to create the strongest relationships with your key accounts. Build your strategy around the following steps:
1. Define Key Accounts
Your leadership team should identify which characteristics distinguish a key account from a regular account. This will help differentiate your current accounts and future accounts early on in the development process.
2. Implement KAM Software
KAM software fills the gaps in your CRM. This type of software focuses on cultivating strong, long-lasting relationships, whereas CRMs focus on the typical customer lifecycle. Look for software that gives your team structure, will integrate with your existing tech stack, and help your managers streamline their processes.
3. Build Key Account Plans
Your KAMs should implement unique key account plans for each client at this point in the process. The plan should focus on your long-term objectives, key contacts, and what steps the manager needs to take to reach their goals.
4. Focus on Relationship Building
Your KAMs number one goal should be to build strong relationships with their clients. Having the right software and tools implemented will help them with this process.
Having a solid strategy in place will help your KAMs be as successful as possible. For a more in-depth look at how to build a key account strategy for B2B businesses, check out this helpful guide.
Underutilized Account Management Tools and Techniques
Once you establish a strong foundation for your key account managers, it is equally important to provide them with tools to set them up for success. With the right tools and techniques in place, your KAMs will be able to build strong, lasting relationships with their clients for years to come. Here are some of the most underutilized tools and techniques for account management:
1. Strategic Account Plans
As we touched on above, strategic account plans can streamline the process of onboarding new accounts and help your managers determine how to manage their accounts. It serves as a roadmap AMs can utilize to put together a plan for each client, so they don’t miss any necessary steps and all of your managers can remain consistent with organizational policies and procedures.
2. Pinpoint Your Client's Strengths and Weaknesses with a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis will help you gain greater insight into what your client is good at, what they need some help with, what opportunities there are, and what threats there are. This will help your AM develop a plan that is individualized to each client’s specific needs.
3. Create an All-Inclusive Customer Profile
A customer profile should include detailed information about each client. This information should include their basic contact info along with:
- Goal tracking
- Details about each contact within the client organization
- Notes about what does and doesn’t work with a specific client
- Details about competitors
A KAM platform will automatically keep track of all these items, plus a lot more. This information will help each client profile become a helpful guide that each AM can utilize to manage their accounts proactively.
To learn more about the most underutilized tools in account management, read this article.
The Future of Automated Account Management
Account management is all about building relationships. However, with 71% of reps spending too much time on data entry, do the day-to-day responsibilities reflect the same sentiment? The simple answer is no. AMs are spending too much time on tasks that can easily be automated, leaving the relationship-building to the wayside. Here are ways AMs can find more time in the day to get back to what account management is all about, building relationships.
What is Automated Account Management?
Account managers are in charge of many daily tasks that range from reaching out to their clients, predicting future needs, inputting data, and generating reports. While some of these responsibilities require a human touch, many of them can be automated by software systems. For example, account management software can automate:
- Account health reports
- Prompt reminders for AMs to reach out to their clients
- Handle the transfer of information across multiple software systems
Account management software isn’t limited to only these basic tasks. They can also handle more dynamic tasks such as setting up appointments and prioritizing outreach based on account performance.
The Benefits of Automated Account Management
There are many benefits to automating certain account management duties. These include:
- Saving Time and Money: By taking monotonous tasks off your AM’s plate, they are left with more time to focus on the human side of account management, building strong relationships. It also helps increase productivity and reduces human error which helps your organization’s bottom line.
- Make Better Projections: Account management software can help your team make better predictions based on past and current account behavior and trends. This helps your team stay one step ahead at all times, allowing them to manage proactively rather than reactively.
- Ease of Use: Software systems are growing increasingly easier to learn and use. While it used to be a tedious process onboarding new systems and teaching everyone how to use them properly, now the process is easy and straightforward, saving your company time while benefiting from the new system.
Workplaces in every industry are turning to automated software because of the benefits it provides. To learn more about automation in account management, read this helpful guide.
4 Steps to Creating a Successful Key Account Management Program
One of the biggest mistakes companies make when implementing a key account management program is trying to make a one-size-fits-all plan, when in KAM especially, your programs need to be adjusted to fit each individual client. Here are some considerations for developing a successful key account management program.
1. Change Your Perspective
KAM is not a sales technique, it is a perspective shift. It is the promise to work differently with your highest-priority clients. The implementation of a KAM plan should be led by someone within upper management of your organization. This is because a KAM program needs buy-in from the highest level of management to be fully accepted by everyone within the organization. The companies with the highest success rate understand that it must be a transformation of how they do business as a whole.
2. Identify Which Accounts Are Highest Priority
Identifying which accounts qualify as a key account is one of the most important steps to creating a successful KAM program. Once you identify how to determine which accounts are key accounts, start by promoting only a couple. This will help you and your team ensure the process works without being overwhelmed and having to backtrack.
3. Select and Train Key Account Managers
Key account managers require a very specific skill set in order to be successful. They need to be more hands-on and proactive, willing to learn about their client’s needs, and put together a holistic strategy that will help them achieve their goals. These are qualities that your average salesperson may not have, so it is important to fully understand the qualities your KAMs need to possess before hiring or promoting them.
4. Assess and Monitor Your Success
Highlighting the metrics your team will use to measure a key account’s success is a vital step to this process. Otherwise, you won’t be able to track whether or not your program is working. Because KAM requires long-term relationship building, tracking only revenue simply will not work. You should be focusing on customer success, NPS scores, VOC, and lifetime value.
Looking for more tips on how to create a successful key account plan? Keep reading by visiting this blog.
Automation and Relationships: Choosing the Best KAM Software
Now that we have covered just about all there is to know about key account management, how do you choose software that will help you accomplish all of these goals? It first helps to understand exactly what KAM software is.
Key account management software goes above and beyond what your average CRM can do. It focuses on the in-depth information and tasks needed for key account success. Every key account is different, and KAM software understands that by giving you flexible software rather than a cookie-cutter program.
Do I Need KAM Software?
KAM software is essential for any business hoping to focus on customer retention. Here are some advantages of KAM software:
You are able to build out templates, roadmaps, SOPs, and other actions, so your managers have everything they need at their fingertips. It also integrates with the rest of your tech stack so your team can do everything they need from the comfort of one single database.
Once a team member makes a change to a contact profile in the KAM software, it will make the change throughout all the systems the company uses. This way, your manager only has to enter the data one time, not multiple times for different platforms.
Helps Your Team Build Stronger Relationships
The number one goal of key account management is building relationships, which is exactly what KAM software focuses on. It automates mundane processes that take time away from your managers so they can refocus on doing what they do best, building relationships.
How to Choose the Best KAM Software for Your Business
Just like every client is different, so is every key account management team. It is important to break down exactly what you need to focus on finding software that is the right fit for your team specifically.
1. Identify Your Goals
You need to understand what you and your AMs need in a software system, which entails knowing your end goal. Without knowing this, you won’t be able to break down exactly what you need in a program.
2. Create a Plan
After identifying your goals, you need to create a plan for reaching these goals. This will help you establish what steps need to be taken and what barriers currently exist that will impede this goal.
3. Identify Useful Tools
Similar to how you identified blockers, you can now determine what kind of tools would help you reach your goals. Does your team need SWOT tools? What about in-depth analysis tools for your clients? Choosing tools will help you identify which platforms will benefit your team and which ones won’t work.
4. Find the Software That Accommodates These Elements
After following these steps, you should have a clear understanding of exactly what you need in a KAM software tool. Now you can start your research phase to find the perfect program that will fit all of your needs.
Kapta is the perfect, all-inclusive KAM software program. Our goal is to provide a software system that will benefit teams with varying needs and goals. Our intuitive system makes it easy to manage your accounts proactively so your team can focus on building long-lasting relationships with their clients. For more information, request a demo here.