Thursday, October 7, 2010

LinkedIn Question: Key Account Management: What most often gets overlooked?

The question in detail:

There are so many different KAM courses in which experienced sales people are trained / educated / retrained / re-educated and otherwise coached in how to sell. There's SPIN selling, there's Funnel selling, there's Miller Heiman selling, there's every form of selling imaginable, but still in my opinion there's something missing...

For me it's all about PEOPLE and when KAM courses get hung up on processes and systems, I think that they fundamentally overlook the people dynamic - to sell you have to build a relationship, to build a relationship you have to relate to people, to relate to people you have to understand them, to understand them you have to yourself, etc.

Is it my imagination or should every course on KAM, every book and every YouTube video on Sales not come equipped with a mandatory mirror?

Thoughts, comments and opinions welcome!

Clarification: And of course the answer to the rhetorical question is "understand" in other words what most often gets overlooked is the "understand yourself" piece!


Key Account Management is very different from Account Management. While the overall objectives remain Reach, Extraction and Depth, the Key Account Manager is required to go much further in establishing and building the relationship between his/her organisation and the client, at various levels. He/she becomes the fulcrum around which the service provider engages the client strategically as well as operationally.

This means not just 'better selling', but a whole of lot of changes in the internal systems and processes of the service provider, centered around the Key Account Managers.

Of course the people dynamic is critical to the success of a KAM initiative. But we must understand that KAM is essentially about building systems in the company that:

  1. Take advantage of the people dynamic at different levels in the best possible way, and
  2. Bring stability and scalability to the KAM relationship thus built.

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