Key Account Manager: who is it? What does it do and why is it important?
The key account manager is a fundamental part within the company to deal with large accounts, ensure an assertive relationship with the customer and seek not only to retain them but also to carry out upsell strategies.
After all, you know better than anyone that it is easier to sell to someone who is already in the base than to new customers, right?
However, the successful application of these objectives goes through a good relationship – especially with the main accounts of the company.
And when this happens, two things are reality in companies: good results and cost reduction.
More than that, a key account manager – when aligned with the organizations sales goals – is a very important competitive differential. And that needs to be made clear as soon as possible.
But, after all, who is this professional who is so important within companies? What is its role really and what characteristics does it need to have?
Furthermore, how does it work to enhance the commercial process and ensure the best results?
These are questions that, from now on, we begin to answer.
Stay with us.
What is a key account manager?
The KAM is the professional who works directly in the management of key accounts for the company he represents.
The concept of “strategic account manager” dates back to the 1970s, when the need for greater care for an organization’s fundamental customers was realized.
It is through these professionals that the main clients are loyal and, more than that, strategic partnerships are sought to further guarantee the success of each client.
Therefore, we can understand how the key account manager functions:
- Have an understanding of all areas of the business and always provide customers with the best experience;
- Ensure that the company’s goals and objectives are achieved, always identifying new business opportunities;
- Going towards practices and perspectives where both the client and the company win;
- Generate even more trust in consumers, ensuring a lasting relationship;
- Apply upsell strategies and contribute to an ever larger MRR and LTV ;
- Be decisive in the strategic planning of organizations, etc.
We will cover some of these topics in more depth a few paragraphs below.
KAM is a strategic piece in the sales process
For now, have something clear: this professional is decisive in reducing costs within the companies’ sales process.
Selling to customers is fundamental for CAC . And it is through it that upselling is put into practice in a much more efficient way.
That’s because he will know better than anyone the reality of customers, their “pains” that still remain and how the company can help him even more.
But, for this to happen in the best way, it is essential that this manager fully dominates the internal and external processes.
The relationship with the entire ecosystem needs to be good, whether to get partners that add to the solution that the company sells (which can be applied through Porter’s 5 forces ), or to make the customer even more a brand evangelizer.
The qualities of the key account manager to act on a daily basis
The key account manager is without a doubt a proactive professional. And, from that point on, we were able to think of the first – and perhaps most essential – characteristic of liking people.
He needs to be constantly in contact and available to the customers that the company understands as the main ones.
But, of course, these values can only be leveraged by a strategic vision, really focused on the business.
KAM knows how to listen to clients very well, but knows better than anyone to be consultative, especially to impact those c-level professionals , who (generally) have the power of decision making .
He understands how the company can do even more for them – and he will always make that clear when he intervenes.
And then, we enter another non-negotiable characteristic: the capacity to organize.
Broad overview of business
A good large account manager knows that customers want personalized delivery of products and/or services tailored to their realities.
Therefore, in order to have a broad overview of what the company can do for the customer, efficient pipeline management is a basic requirement.
Yes, digital transformation is something non-negotiable for any organization to be able to develop an irrefutable offer for its big accounts.
A kanban-style funnel , for example, ensures that all necessary contact steps are completed, without running over any essential stages.
In addition, other features are important for an even better work routine. Such as:
- Excellent relationship both outside and inside the work environment ;
- Be aligned with the company’s mission, vision and values ;
- Clear vision of the organization’s business and objectives;
- Spirit of leadership and entrepreneurship;
- Knowledge of sales methodologies that make sense for the business;
- Networking and ability to dialogue with partners;
- Manage resources and participate in sales planning ;
- Manage the sales team and ensure best practices internally, etc.
The goals of the key account manager in companies
It’s not because your customers have been with you for a long time that all the work has been done.
But, we believe that at this point, you already have this clearly and understand that the relationship with him always needs to be positive.
Organizing a customer success sector is the starting point, but obviously it doesn’t stop there.
The role of the key account manager is fundamental and he has some very clear and specific objectives within the processes in companies.
The loyalty and evangelization of consumers is a scenario that needs to be pursued daily.
More than just selling to those you already have, referral marketing is really powerful.
Someone delighted with your solution is an excellent propagator of what you sell. New customers come and the sales cycle for them is definitely shorter.
Therefore, you have a reduction in sales costs.
This is something promising and valuable, isn’t it? Therefore, KAM has some important “goals” and, in this topic, we selected some of them.
work with key customers
The first – and obvious – objective is the fact that the key account manager works focused on the key customers that companies have.
It is not uncommon for a small portion of customers to account for the majority of any business’ revenue.
Therefore, focusing on this small group is not just a matter of strategy, it is even a matter of survival.
Therefore, KAM has to work on these accounts, seeking a close, frequent and lasting relationship.
This means being aware of what customers have internally as goals and objectives. Thus, it is possible to understand how the company can do more for them.
How does the product or service you sell allow them to get where they want to go as quickly as possible?
Knowledge of the client’s business and what is in hand is completely decisive for this relationship to be a success.
That’s delivering value to customers. It’s showing that you have a complete and dominant view of the macro and micro factors that make sense to them.
And, above all, the key account manager is consultative and didactic when talking to consumers.
He knows exactly what works for each “pain” and will show it clearly and efficiently so it makes sense right away.
Make a custom delivery
The previous point is directly connected to this one. Nobody wants a generic speech that is vague in ideas and especially actions.
Customers – and especially the biggest ones – want and deserve personalized delivery. Something specific and that makes 100% sense for your realities.
This is non-negotiable. It needs to be that way and it’s critical for them to see you as someone who is really there to help.
“You are eternally responsible for what you captivate.” You’ve heard this phrase at some point in your life, right?
While it has great strength, it makes sense almost as a whole for the business world.
What we mean: KAM, by awakening and earning the trust of its key customers, becomes responsible for their needs.
And they have a lot of hope in you to see problems solved and reality changing for the better – always.
The key account manager needs to understand their role and know that being strategic is essential at all times.
By knowing well the solution that the company sells, together with an understanding of the reality, it is easier to customize a solution for the customer.
Whether it’s a mix of products or customization in the software sold, it doesn’t matter.
The key is to add value and show commitment and ensure the success of the client’s results.
Being innovative inside and outside the company
Go in search of the best practices, trends and innovations for an even more assertive solution to the market and, of course, for the success of customers .
The key account manager is a person who is in constant contact with the market and knows what can complement what your company already sells.
More than that, it prospects partners because of needs already identified in its key customers and develops solutions together.
This is very common in SaaS companies, where platforms that complement each other come together and offer even better services.
This is, without a doubt, a smart, practical and efficient way of thinking about the customer.
Even because, even though there is a strong DevOps culture in organizations, it is not always possible to deliver what customers demand in the time they need.
But only with KAM understanding the needs of its customers and also seeing market opportunities that this reality is possible.
Technology at KAM’s work in everyday life
The organization is fundamental for the work of the key account manager and a good relationship is essential.
Therefore, there is nothing better than a sales system aimed at this, such as CRM .
It is through this that the KAM can have the entire historical record of that customer with the company. Speeding up the submission of commercial proposals and carrying out follow-up actions are the easiest actions to take.
More than that, with alerts and automatic actions, no opportunity is missed for lack of action.
And with LinkedIn lead capture right into the sales funnel, there’s more agility to both prospect large accounts as well as strategic partners.
With integrations with marketing automation tools, you ensure personalized and quality delivery for everyone.
The company’s strategies flow much more assertively through CRM and this will have an immediate and significant impact on its key customers.
In this way, it will not only be possible to generate value for your current accounts, but for the entire ecosystem.
So, how can we help you?
If you have any doubts about the work of the key account manager, or want to know how CRM leverages your strategies, talk to a consultant today .
Enjoy and read two articles that will help you to further impact your customers.
The first talks about the importance of onboarding to delight and start to gain customer loyalty.
The second brings 8 tips to increase sales with the integration between marketing and CRM.