67% of businesses are prioritizing customer retention over new customer acquisition. If your business is making this shift, you’re likely interested in identifying the best tech to support your key account management team.
As companies strive to do more with less, it’s common to explore using the software you’re already subscribed to. You may be cobbling together a tech stack to support your account management team. On the other hand, you may be considering whether you should build a solution from scratch or buy one.
Putting together a tech stack or building an account management solution is tricky because the key account management process involves a series of essential elements. The perfect solution for key account management needs to intuitively support the entire process for maximum efficiency and productivity.
Otherwise, you’re putting up to 80% of your annual revenue at risk by hampering your account managers’ ability to protect and grow your top customers. Leaving them constantly toggling between various disjointed applications or causing them to design all their own process templates is a losing battle that reduces their efficiency and effectiveness.
Key account managers need one cohesive solution where they can complete all tasks and communications in one place. This helps them stay on track, boosts their productivity, and enables them to optimize processes and customer outcomes.
With the stakes so high should you build your perfect key account management solution or buy it?
The Key Account Management (KAM) Process
Let’s start by reviewing the KAM process.
Successful account management teams follow a repeatable process like our KAM process™ which stands for Know, Act, Measure. It is cyclical and involves the following stages and activities:
This foundational stage is about getting to know clients by gathering insights and information through activities like:
- Building robust org charts and client profiles to understand individual contacts and the inner workings of account organizations.
- Conducting Voice of Customer conversations to identify customer needs, goals, priorities, and expectations.
- Preparing a SWOT Analysis for a deeper understanding of the situation.
These details enable account managers to create effective account plans to drive client goal achievement promptly. This is key to account retention.
This stage is where action plans are created to drive customer outcomes. These plans are crucial for successful customer retention and lifetime customer value because they delineate the steps and activities to achieve desired customer outcomes.
Preparing and successfully implementing these plans involves continuous internal and customer collaboration and communication.
Once account plans are implemented, it’s crucial to monitor customer-specified metrics to track progress toward client outcomes. Account managers make sure all tasks are completed and milestones are achieved on schedule. Then adjust plans as needed, keeping the client and team members abreast of progress.
Account managers also monitor account health and risk factors to address issues as they arise.
Build Versus Buy
Should you build or buy your KAM solution? Consider these factors as you make your decision.
Design and development costs for custom solutions add up quickly regardless of whether you are using internal staff or an external source. And, remember to take into account the opportunity costs associated with using internal staff for design, development, implementation, training, support, maintenance, troubleshooting, and upgrades.
Do you have a deep enough understanding of what’s needed to fully support the KAM process? If you’re new to key account management, you may need to hire a subject matter expert to help you establish a process and ensure all elements are supported properly by your custom solution.
The perfect KAM solution includes functionality for each element throughout the account management cycle. This allows key account managers to have one source of truth and one tool to complete all their tasks. Plus, the ideal account management solution acts as a roadmap to keep reps on track so they never miss a step without thinking about what to do next.
Ease of Use
Is the solution intuitive or difficult to navigate? You don’t want your account managers to waste valuable time trying to work through complex processes or switching between applications to complete their work. The solution should be a seamless, all-in-one solution that simplifies the many behind-the-scenes operations managed by key account managers.
It’s important to consider how you’ll onboard your team on your solution. Whether it’s a cobbled-together tech stack or a custom-built software program, your team won’t use it at all or in its entirety if they don’t know how. They simply don’t have time to figure it out independently if they’re managing a portfolio of top clients.
Whoever you have assisting the KAM team with usage questions and issues relating to the solution should also have a deep understanding of the ins and outs of key account management. Ideally, support should be designed to help your reps continually improve and get the most from the software solution.
Reliability & Maintenance
Excessive downtime or glitches are disruptive. Unreliable software is not going to boost the productivity or effectiveness of your account management team. An effective solution functions properly with minimal problems because the bugs are worked out before it is released to your team. Any issues are proactively detected, and patches are applied without impacting the account managers’ workflow.
Your Perfect KAM Solution Already Exists
Don’t reinvent the wheel. The perfect KAM solution already exists.
This platform acts as a command center where your account managers can complete all their tasks. Within this solution, your reps can manage projects, communicate internally or externally, and monitor essential metrics.
This solution leverages a proven KAM process and provides a roadmap that guides account managers, so they always know what’s next for each client in their portfolio. This prevents them from missing a step, potentially putting a client at risk as a result.
This system includes all the essential tools KAMs need throughout the account management process like:
- Interactive org chart and client profiles
- Voice of Customer and SWOT Tools
- Customizable Account Plan templates
- Collaboration Hub
- Customer metrics
- Account Health Score at-a-glance
- QBR management tools and automations
- Easy reporting tools for clients and C-Suite
Plus, this solution includes essentials like training, implementation and success support, best practices, new feature releases, and maintenance.
This allows your account management team to efficiently complete all their day-to-day tasks without having to toggle between various tools, search for data in multiple systems, and waste time trying to figure out what steps to take with each client. This enables them to block off time for critical strategic planning and customer engagement for greater customer outcomes and retention rates.
Don’t Put Your Key Accounts At Risk
Businesses are shifting their focus to customer retention. Successful key account management requires a proven KAM process supported by a purpose-built KAM solution.
Anything less puts your account managers at a disadvantage, hampering their ability to drive customer outcomes. This puts your top accounts at risk.
Don’t reinvent the wheel by building your own KAM solution. Buy a proven KAM solution.
Learn the latest key account management best practices. Register for KAMCon.