The toughest problems are not solved in isolation they're solved with others
Among the top skills for key account managers one which I believe is underrated and unappreciated is the ability to collaborate and lead teams to solve big problems faster, create more value than any other business for their customer and help their company build a culture that is focused on genuinely help each other to win.
You might read this and think. "Jermaine my company is nowhere near this." “We can’t even agree on what coffee should go in the office let alone how to manage and solve problems with our key customers.”
I say “ye of little faith” there are different ways to approach better collaboration and team work in your business that will empower you, enable greater internal power and resourcefulness to achieving bigger things.
“Teamwork is the ability to harness the skills of 2 or more people collectively to a common purpose to achieve better and greater results faster”
There are a number of different tools I use when supporting organisations, sales leaders and key account managers particularly in getting targeted results faster. One tool I’ve begun to integrate into my consulting and training is Tim Sanders great book Dealstorming.
In Tim’s words he describes Dealstorming as a process
“Designed to solve sales challenges, but it also forges a culture of collaboration across the entire company. This is because the Dealstorming team includes diverse players from several departments. When they win, it sets a powerful example that usually reverberates through a company, leading everyone to team up on problems, be they marketing, operations, product or process.”
Very few would deny that businesses in the B2B world today have to deal with fundamentally more complex process and respond at the speed of Netflix to provide solutions for our customers
These challenges can’t possibly be solved by one single person. They have to be led by a few but owned by everyone in order to best serve customers at the highest levels possible.
Before you get to total ownership you have to build what I call ‘super teams’.
Although Dealstorming examples are primarily used in the new business sales cycle. This seven step process can be augmented and use to enhance key account selling.
Rather than simply summaries what you can read in the book. Here are three big takeaways from the approach I take using the Dealstorming process. You can apply these ideas immediately when thinking through how you start powerful business collaboration to achieve greater results.
Understand the value of the problem you’re trying to solve
The most important part of qualifying isn’t just about the people. This is about understanding the problem and value of the problem you’re trying to solve. Not all problems are equal and need to be allocated the same resources.
I use seven questions to best understand the value associated with solving the problem. This doesn’t make a problem less important but it will dictate what resource we put towards it.
1. Have you or any other colleague or contact you know solved this problem before?
2. Has this problem been something that recurs often?
3. Who else in the business does this problem impact?
4. What is the realistic timeframe needed to solve this problem?
5. Who in your business or outside your business will need to be involved in this problem?
6. What resources do you have to solve the problem?
7. What relationships do you need to engage with to get the support you need?
Be prepared to lead
There is no “I” in team but there is an unseen “L”. This is the person who LEADS the team. The key account manager and account manager is the one that needs to step up to the challenge.
Three steps to lead
- Clarity – It doesn’t matter how senior the person is. Or how senior you feel you need to be. Those you're working with will be looking to you for what you want them to do. They want clarity.
- Confidence – This is not about whether you have all the answers. It’s about knowing you can access the internal and external resources and relationships needed to help you achieve your goal. Being confident in knowing your strengths and weaknesses will enable you to know when you need help and who to ask.
- Consciousness – Being aware of the people, skills and feelings around you and using this to improve your ability to communicate effectively. Knowing yourself and knowing others is at the heart of great leadership. Spend time observing and getting to know those around you. Make note of those you see demonstrating skills and qualities you know could be of value and acknowledge them.
Make sure you’re all committed to the same outcome (everyone needs a win)
The reality is the problem you want to solve will have a different meaning for others you work with. No matter how small or large the group everyone wants a win and to be acknowledged for their contribution.
Three steps to consider
- Get to know what’s most important to those you're working with (demonstrates your care and concern)
- Find common ground (look for the power intersections that will drive emotion to accomplish the goal)
- Get them to agree their own commitments (we’re more likely to follow through on public commitments we make than what are given to us)
Three Next Steps?
- I’d highly recommend reading the book listen to an interview
- You can read more about strategic advantage of collaborative teams with KAM – HERE
- Book a call with me to discuss how we can accelerate your key customer results. Book the call HERE and select 'key account conversation'
Key Account Growth Guide
Helping you to create plans and build skills to deepen client relationships and grow predictable sales.