The Role Of The Key Account Manager
Improving the effectiveness of the Key Account Manager. : Our clients sometimes ask us, are our KAMs the right people for this position? At first glance, it seems like a legitimate question, but if we turn it around, before answering this question directly, we should answer other more basic ones such as: What exactly does the organization expect from a KAM?
Different companies have different descriptions of a KAM and these descriptions require different skills and competencies to fulfill.
For example, a globalizing industrial company created a KAM unit to manage global clients. For this, it is necessary to have “globally competent” and culturally versatile people. A food organization introduced the figure of KAM in a highly competitive and mature environment that required people with orientation and experience in sectors with very efficient operating processes and with a clear focus on profitability per customer. In short, there are almost as many types of KAM as there are companies, and this makes it difficult to generalize about the role of KAM.
The Role Of Key Account Manager
In a basic way, the KAM has two roles: the implementation of client-to-client business objectives and the creation of relationships with the objective of facilitating the development of the client’s business.
It means analyzing customer needs and making decisions about business propositions within a company strategy.
It means developing relationships that facilitate and enable implementation. It goes beyond the establishment of a pure person-to-person relationship. It requires the facilitation of cross-relationships between the functional areas of the two companies and even with third parties.
The KAM must maintain an exquisite balance between these two functions, remembering that the mere creation of relationships does not, by itself, generate business results. But on the contrary, in many cases the sustainability and growth of the business in said client is not possible without the establishment of a deep network of relationships between both organizations.
The role of KAM is also determined by the company’s own strategy and specifically by the vision of each client. Clients who are assigned a profitability strategy should be treated differently than star clients. The KAM must adapt to these circumstances.
The client’s defender inside the house.
As the figure of the KAM has a high degree of penetration in the client’s structure, both parties (supplier and client) have different views about the role of the KAM. In part, the success of KAM depends on it being perceived as beneficial by both parties.
From the perspective of the provider organization, the KAM should be perceived as having a deep understanding of the customer’s business. A figure who develops a strategy and concrete action plans for the client and who is capable of coordinating the organization to provide the promised service. That it has developed and maintains a strong and lasting relationship with the client and that it is capable of putting different areas in contact between client and supplier to develop more complex business opportunities and improve service.
From the client’s perspective, it must be someone who also anticipates their needs and proposes business opportunities with initiative and promptness, guaranteeing that the negotiated terms will be fulfilled exactly. In addition, he must be perceived as someone who looks after the interests of the client within the provider’s organization.
The strategy with the client. For the KAM Role to be effective, it is necessary to develop a coherent strategy for each of the selected key clients.
The possible strategies determine both the type of relationship to be established and the type of activities to be developed between client and supplier.
These strategies are defined in the account analysis matrix (MAC) that relates our position as a provider in the client’s business with the business potential of the account.
Account Business Potential
It is a measure of the potential of the account to generate profit in the organization. It is a composite of variables including:
- Business volume.
- Customer fee.
- Adequacy between the objectives of both parties.
- Position as Provider.
- It is a measure of the strength of our organization in each account as a partner or supplier.