I've said it once and I'll say it again that key account management (KAM) and global account management (GAM) are two of the most challenging sales roles on the planet. To my knowledge there isn't a role that requires as much extensive internal collaboration, communication, influencing and cross department management than KAM and GAM.
I'm making this week the week of global account management. I'll be looking at some of the real challenges many in GAM roles face including myself at one time. Today I've picked out three mental shifts you need to make in order to approach your global accounts with the right strategy and then the appropriate action to get success.
You don't have to speak a second language - I've seen a number ofglobal account managers get blocked by the barriers of language. With the exception of English which has become a business must I also learnt German. Although I don't speak as much today I recognised in the early part of my career the opportunities there when you do have a second language. But, this is not a prerequisite to GAM success. I've come across many successful GAM's who speak a moderate amount of English or hardly know a word of another language. The difference is they recognize this challenge can cultivate these three disciplines.
- Acknowledging the potential challenge of communication helps build greater understanding and patience with yourself and your customer conversations.
- It forces you to take out all unnecessary colloquialism or to think about the most effective and clearest possible way to communicate a message.
- It causes you to listen more deeply as you have to be much more present and customer focused to understand what the other person is saying.
Embrace the differences in accent, language and culture. It's in this difference that you can become an even more effective global account manager.
You have to become a master collaborator - Sometimes engaging and coordinating with our own business can be more complicated than our clients. This is for almost every organisation one of the top reasons for conflict or not fully delivering on global results. This is no excuse not to try or give up on the first hurdle. You have to pursue and craft this skill of working with, mobilising and persuading others. This is not something you just build over night. Here are three traits you can begin to cultivate to become a collaboration master.
- Don't make it personal make it - Great collaborators check their egos at the door. They’re more interested in helping everyone achieve the mutual goal than they are about getting credit for any part they play in it. It's about the goal and the goal is customer success.
- Give trust and become someone trustworthy - A team needs to feel safe about sharing their thoughts, ideas, and work. The moment they feel they're just being taken advantage of it'll be hard to win them back. Great connectors help create and maintain an environment of trust necessary for a team to thrive. They give their trust freely and expect to receive trust in return.
- Show up and deliver - Collaboration isn’t about doing the bare minimum, but occasionally going above and beyond in unexpected ways. When people know you’ll step up when needed, collaboration is much easier.
Embrace being a leader - This isn't spoken about at all in key account or global account management. In your role you are leaders. You may not have the title but you sure are expected to deliver on those qualities. You should take that seriously. You not only get the results of what you do but also of who you are. Here are three leadership qualities you should think about this week.
- Don't waiver on the right thing - Great leaders and great collaborators are passionate about their work and know what a successful outcome looks like. This doesn't mean they push other ideas out the way. They're not concerned with who's right but what the right thing to do is to get the goal accomplished. Leaders like this can be empowering to others. Don't be afraid to do what you know is right. You’ll earn much respect along the way.
- Listen like your outcomes depend on it - I don't want to overstate the obvious. We all know listening is important. Sometimes we need a reason to listen. I often come back to a phrase 'listen like your outcomes depend on it'. Guess what they actually do. Your success as a leader, the potential options and decisions you can make and the impact of the collaborations you'll make.
- Be willing to enable others to win - In sales we want the glory and accolade. In the end you do because the financial results come back to your pocket in commission. Remember people on your route to achieving the goal. I saw some great examples from past colleagues who would celebrate by taking their finance and customer services manager out for lunch. Recognise others in your success and you'll always win.
If you're a key account manager, account manager, manager of key account teams or solopreneur take the next step and connect to get more great insights. I'm here to help you have even more profitable client conversations and help you grow your existing customer sales and have fun in the process. Just click on the link www.jermaineedwards/signmeup look forward to helping you succeed this year.