Managing Key Accounts doesn't have be hard or time consuming the key is knowing what tasks must be accomplished to drive revenue and success. As a Key Account Manager there are 8 fundamental tasks to manage key accounts, after all you are the quarterback for the account.
Setting a Goal and Objectives for the key account.
First of all, you have to know the customers goal and objectives before you can complete yours.
The goal can be defined for a year, semiyearly, or quarterly. The key is to ensure your objectives map back to your goal. Every objective must move you closer to achieving your goal. The goal has to be measurable; for example, revenue target, net new users, x amount of revenue growth and so on.
The goal and objectives must be agreed upon by the team and management. However, each member of the team may have different objectives to meet the goal. For example, an Sales Engineer’s objectives could be different then marketing that’s OK because everyone is focused on success.
Identify and Track White Space (Initiatives)
An integral and key component in key account management is uncovering White Space to position products or solutions. Identifying white space provides 4 tangible results:
- Can you position in advance your products or solutions before competitors?
- Does your current products or solutions set meet customer requirements?
- Do your competitors have a better solution?
- Can you position a partner’s product or solution to meet requirements?
Identify and Manage Key Stakeholders
It’s just not enough to identify key stakeholders, you have to manage them. You have to know their role and stance (opinion). It’s critical to have an organizational map that includes this information and it has to be dynamic because their organization will change. Key questions to ask yourself regarding stakeholders:
- What meetings have they attended?
- What has been their stance in those meetings and how is it trending?
- Has their role changed in the course of meetings they have attended?
- Have they every bought or signed off on a project for your products or solution (have you ever sold them anything)?
- Are they a Champion for a competitor?
- Who is at the top of the food chain,
- Are projects approved in a committee or single person signing off on projects?
- What is their budget authority (amount)?
Build a solid SWOT Analysis
A solid and up to date SWOT Analysis is a must, it has to include the following:
However, a more robust and useful SWOT Analysis must include:
- Red Flags
- Competitors (strengths and weaknesses)
Setup a Cadence and Milestones
Determine a frequency to meet and call upon the customer and the key stockholders. When creating your milestones, it’s critical to assign them to the correct team member and a date to be completed.
Knowing and Following Up on Help-desk/Service Desk Cases
Nothing can derail a key account as fast as open problem tickets. If a customer is not feeling their issues are being worked on and fixed that will bubble to the top of the food chain very quickly. It’s imperative you know which, cases are open and for how long. They have to be addressed with the customer.
Review Your Plan With and Get Sign Off From Management
This goes without saying, management has to agree with your entire plan and support it.
Review, Refine and Modify Your Your Plan
Setup a frequency to review and manage your plan. Your plan has to be as dynamic as your customers.
We use Strategy Mapper to build and maintain our Key Account plans, it’s 100% native Salesforce and ensures we realize value from Salesforce. It allows us to build key account plans within Salesforce.