The rest of this article talks about how - but the why is very important.
Key Account Management is far more than just selling products to big customers, it is dealing with those customers who have a strategic role to play in the growth of your company. This includes a range of accounts big, small and indifferent that are perceived to be heading in a direction that is critical to your company and provide a good fit with your production/operations function.
There are a series of skills related to account management that are vital to business. The first issue to decide is; what is a key account to your business.
Things to consider :-
- Is the customer or prospect a good fit to what your business excels at?
- Is the prospect or customer an influencer in their market or location?
- Will the relationship be financially beneficial to your business?
- Do they use a disproportionate amount of our resources in support?
Account Management Skills
Time management and priority management. A fully functioning CRM system is very useful to aid with organisation. The relationship is the key.
What do your clients need from you as a company? This is a key part and leads to being able to become less reactive to their needs. You can do the Tiswas thing and give them what they want.
The account manager should not only increase sales with existing clients but also be able to block the attentions of competitors. Frequent contact and anticipation of their needs will block out competitors.
In order to retain the customer and maximise income/cash flow; each client/prospect must be analysed to see what they may require and how to handle them.
Communication: Obviously key - but how/when/what to communicate is key too
Need to know the product well enough to hold a conversation and to answer simple questions. It is important that this function is fully integrated in the company.
Trust in your company or brand allows customers to buy or to buy more without fear. Account management is used to create this trust factor amongst clients so that they can buy more.
Account management is that part of the business which works on the relationship with customers and prospects to make it beneficial to your business. It should be an everyday part of the sales and marketing process.