I've had people around the world ask what is the Hack system you've created?Well have you ever wondered why there can be such a difference between the success of some key account managers to others. I wondered this for years and decided to investigate.
I have a great respect and appreciation for the great academic work in Key Account Management but I'd read it all and was tired of the endless overly academic stuff I was reading. I wanted to get to the raw behavioural data and replicate those results.
It was this investigation into the skills and behaviours of highly successful key account managers that led me to my book the Key Account Hack.
This was as much a learning and discovery for me as it would be for the key account managers and consultants I would train shortly after.
The Key Account Hack is the lens into the skills, behaviours, strategies and tactics of 150 of some of the highest earning and most successful KAMs across 7 different industries while survey 200 customers.
The results were fascinating and I'm still getting to know the impact of them today. This is all about a framework of thinking that transforms customer relationships and creates predictable sales growth with your high value clients.
It's very easy in Key Account or Large Account Management to focus heavily on strategy. We can be overtaken by academic research and bombarded by SWOT analysis and strategic planning that we miss an important consideration. Key Account Management is all about three areas of engagement with your customers: Relational, Strategic and Tactical.
To have explosive sales and relationship results from your key clients you need to be congruent in all three areas. They're all just as important as the other. However the relational and tactical engagement is what actually drives the sale and relationships you forge forward. The strategic engagement helps you to know where you're going. No one has really tackled the implications of this in practice. Before I get to this let me explain what I mean by Relational, Strategic and Tactical engagement.
Your ability to connect with your clients and deepen trust & influence.
Many miss this in account management. We’re told we need to build relationships, which is critical to customer success. But what does that actually look like? How will you know things are working? What will you use to build those connections, amplify trust and deepen those relationships important to you? this is what relational engagement is about. The considerations of what you want your relationship to look like and how to get there with your client. Without a focus on this you limit your ability to grow your influence and opportunity.
Your ability to align yours and your customer’s goals to one or multiple mutually beneficial outcomes.
This is all about planning, analysis and forecasting. The things you and your managers can spend a lot of time on. Making specific account plans, cost/benefit analysis, SWOT analysis etc... It's also where you'll set expectations with your client on how you’ll work best together. This includes your business growth goals. It may also include plans to connect with what I call 'Power Connections'. Connections with key influencers or stakeholders that move your strategy forward. Strategic engagement ultimately helps give you a clarity on where to go and where the potential opportunities are for present and future success with your customer.
Your ability to deliver on the right things to win consistently.
This is the area thought about the least in Key Account Management. What are the daily and weekly tactical implications of every strategy or plan set with your client and internally with your business? In other words how will you actually deliver on the goals and plans built with your customer? What are those daily activities you will need to do to realise success and overachieve? How will you decide to build relationships, how you align the rest of your internal departments to support customer success? And how will you execute growth goal promises with your board and account management team. If not considered carefully and without a clear process for how you execute on strategy. You may still have wins but you'll have very few business transforming client successes. That's what I want for you and believe every KAM can have with their existing customers.
If you haven't considered all three areas of engagement today. Now is the time!
Here are the eight critical steps I discovered that if you pay attention to will see you greatly accelerate your key account growth success. You need to:
- Get Clarity of Expectation (powerful pre commitments to cooperation and collaboration)
- Amplify Trust (Have a system and strategy for building trust and influence with your key customers at all times)
- Reduce Risk (become a master risk remover to get to the truth of every conversation)
- Make Power Connections (the currency of the right relationships far outweigh the cost of a comfortable one. You have to find those people most important to the success of your contacts, company and your sales)
- Create Value that matters (You need to know how, why and what results you want from the value you deliver. Adding value - what you can do / Creating value - what you do with your customers insight, their skills and resources)
- Shape for future Commitment (You're ability to connect and get stakeholder consensus and find mutual and common goals for scale)
- Map for growth (presenting the insight of your customer and their journey with you as the guide)
- Build a super Team (being able to lead, collaborate and identify the right people to add value to your customers)
Want to know more grab hold of the book or get connected with me directly.
If you're a key account manager, consultant or sales leader who recognises the importance to deepen, differentiate and grow your key client relationships. Get access to the client growth 3 part email series HERE
Founder of the Key Account Hack System - New Key Account thinking that transforms customer relationships and creates predictable sales growth.