One of the core principles of key account management (KAM) is to build long-term, sustainable relationships that are not only beneficial for your company but will also see your client achieving their goals through your products or services.
To better build these relationships, you must keep in touch with the client through continuous relationship management, conduct meaningful interviews that answer both the client and account manager’s questions, and successfully create maps of each of the relationships for account managers to leverage.
Unfortunately, many key account managers overlook this essential step of mapping the relationship. In this post, we’ll discuss the steps you can take to create successful relationship maps that you can then leverage for success in your organization to improve customer retention, reduce churn, and grow your key accounts.
It all starts with asking yourself the following questions:
- Who do we know?
- What do we know about them?
- How can we make them a hero?
- Who influences whom?
- What promises or commitments have we made?
It might be hard to come up with an answer quickly off the top of your head, but if you dive into your accounts, the answers should become readily apparent and help in your map construction. Let’s take a look at each of these individually.
It’s All About Who You Know
Within any key account, there’s the gatekeepers, the decision makers, and the people that really have no sway on any decisions. To grow your accounts, you need to make sure that you’re talking to the right people. Before you can narrow down the right questions to ask, you need to have a roster of all of the contacts for one specific account.
Platforms such as Kapta contain easy tools for you to track and manage every contact within one account. Additionally, you can also rank and sort each of these contacts by their importance so you can at a glance tell who is the most important person to meet with from that account.
What do you know about them?
From the initial list of contacts, you must determine what you know about them. Are they the head of the account or merely a gatekeeper? How long has your company had a relationship with the specific contact? These questions will help you determine the type of approach that you should take in your interviews.
For instance, if one of the contacts has only known about your company for a short time then they are more likely to be skeptical of new products and might not have an understanding of your service at all to begin with! On the other hand, people that have years of experience working with you will know how your product works and are
How can you make them a hero?
One of the ways that you can leverage these relationships is to figure out a way that you can make your contact a hero for their organization. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, but the most important goal is to provide the contact with a practical solution that they can implement using your products or services. When they inevitably achieve success with your tools, they’ll be the hero of their company.
Look for the people that seem like they might have something to prove to upper management. This is why it is crucial that you can organize each of the contacts within an account based on their seniority. Higher-level people are already heroes of the organization; every once in a while, it pays to give someone else a chance to shine.
Who influences whom?
Another critical question to answer, figuring out who carries the influence will go a long way when figuring out the right questions to ask during your Voice of Customer (VOC) interviews. For instance, you don’t want to be asking high-level questions of people that don’t have any say in the final decisions, and you also don’t want to waste your time asking decision makers easy questions that are meant for more day-to-day type of employees.
Organizing your contacts and creating a map of the relationship will allow you to connect each contact to one another to see who influences which contacts and you can then adjust your strategy accordingly.
What promises or commitments have you made?
You want to keep track of the promises and commitments that you’ve made on behalf of your organization in addition to whom you made them to eliminate any confusion down the line. As a business, you want to ensure that you follow through on your promises so you can’t get caught promising or commit to things that you can’t follow through on.
Platforms such as Kapta will enable you to make notes for every conversation you have with a client so you can keep all of your promises and discussions organized so you can ultimately follow through on them.
The Ever-Important Follow Up
This may sound like Sales 101, but the follow up is just as important, if not more important, than the initial conversation. After you discuss the account’s future goals and make suggestions on how they can use your tools to accomplish said goals, you want to be sure to follow up with them to be sure that the tools worked out for them. This will do wonders for building the relationship and tracking and organizing which contacts you talked with will help you bring up the right talking points when following up.
How Kapta Can Help
Kapta is a KAM platform like no other. It combines the best customer insight tools with account planning tools for cohesive experience that every account manager should leverage to develop, nourish and ultimately grow each key account. If you find yourself jumping from one spreadsheet to the next, Kapta might be the solution for you. To give Kapta a try and request a free demo, feel free to contact us and see how Kapta can improve your workflow and account management.