The role of a Key Account Manager will vary from company to company and from customer to customer.
However, in our experience working with Key Account Managers around the world we have identified eight core competencies that all KAMs must develop in order to be successful in their role.
All Key Account Management Training developed by Sales Is Not Simple is focused on building expertise in these core competencies - whether you are just starting out or are an experienced KAM.
We encourage you to rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 5 and discuss with your manager which competencies you want to focus on as you become a world-class KAM.
Competency #1 - Forecasting Accuracy
Having the right products, in the right place, at the right time is key to your company's success. Not forecasting enough demand and you will miss the sales you need to achieve your business plan. Forecasting too much demand results in inventory building up in your warehouse and means less working capital to spend on driving the business.
Competency #2 - Tight Budget Controls
As a Key Account Manager, you manage a significant piece of the overall expenditures your company spends to promote its brands and products. You have a responsibility to ensure that every penny spent delivers a solid return on investment and is spent in a way the builds the long term sustainability of the brands.
Competency #3 - Creative Business Development
As a KAM you must develop unique ways to grow the business with your customer and provide solutions to management in the face of challenges. If you do what you have always done, you will always get what you have already achieved!
Competency #4 - Thorough Business Planning
You likely manage a complex business with hundreds of SKUs in hundreds of points of sale across the country. Planning is key if you are to execute flawlessly and achieve your business plans.
You must search for the uncovered category opportunity at your customer and build a plan to convince them to “win” with your brands. You also must be aware of potential setbacks to the plan and develop contingencies to overcome them.
Competency #5 - In Touch With The Retail Reality
Stores are where your brands and products come alive. It is also where you are engaged with your competition in a fierce battle for the attention of the shopper. As a KAM, you must be completely aware of what is transpiring at your customers stores. You must feel a sense of ownership of the execution in every store.
You must also have a clear and concise communication with your retail teams in the field. Your success as a KAM relies heavily on their work.
Competency #6 - Strong Customer Relationships
Our customers are our channel to the shoppers and consumers that buy our products. Without them our business model falls flat. Managing the relationship between your company and the customer is a big responsibility. The links that you build and the actions you take will determine our success today and in the future. Treat your customers as partners and challenge them to grow their business with your brands.
Competency #7 - In-Depth Product / Brand Knowledge
Your company's brands should be at the heart of everything that you do as a KAM. They are your company's biggest asset. You should have an intimate knowledge of your brands, their values, positioning, target consumers and personality.
On the other hand, the products are the lifeblood of the brands. Know them, touch them, use them.
Finally, you are representing the brands everyday and how you approach your role should be in-line with the values of our flagship brands.
Competency #8 - Fact Based Selling
You can not argue with fact. Facts are the most powerful selling tool and you must be able to arrange these facts in a way that builds customer excitement and closes the sale. You must also be analytical and go beyond the numbers to find the real insight that will be the key to growing your brands with your customer.