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It may also be important to identify: where a market is growing where you have opportunities to grow your market share where you need to protect your high market share where you have a customer with growth potential for you where competitors are strong where competitors are weak The result of presenting your short-list and having an informed discussion should be a list of between 5 and 20 customers, whose accounts have been identified as key to your business strategy.

Once these have been agreed, this completes one of the most important stages in your preparation.

The 6 Skills Every Strategic Account Manager Should Have

Probably the next most important decision is: who will be your key account managers? To make that decision, you need to know what skills are required. This is covered in the next section. From your business perspective, the role of the key account manager is to: be the main communications link with that customer on all issues this could include contract management, invoicing, operational problems, complaints, quality of service. In fact, there could be best practice and innovative ideas that come from the customer, if the KAM is skilful enough to recognise them and the opportunity for your business arising from them.

Whilst from your customer s perspective, the role of the key account manager is to: be the one-stop contact for all communications to your business, so that they do not have to search around your business for the relevant person to speak with about any issue.

Reflect on this template, along with the details in the lists above, then complete the following to check your progress and understanding of what is required and what you need to do to get going with Key Account Management. In particular, key skills and qualities would normally include: ability to develop and build strong business and personal relationships excellent communication, listening and presenting skills excellent understanding of your markets, products and services familiarity with business strategy and wider industry knowledge consultancy skills and ability to sell diplomacy, negotiation, problem solving and conflict resolution skills planning and organisational skills ability to be proactive and seek out opportunities ability to operate as a team player and, independently, to be focused, have broad vision and be tenacious and flexible.

Selecting your key account managers. Job Description Main Requirements of the KAM role Objectives and measures if appropriate Person Specification Key skills and abilities required More detailed description When selecting your Key Account Managers, it is important to remember that you may not be able to find people inside or outside your organisation with all the key skills and abilities, but you will need to determine which ones are critical to the success of the role and rank the criteria for selection accordingly.

Equally, some may have the skills and abilities but not the business or industry knowledge and vice versa. It is likely that training will be required to bring all your KAMs to the necessary level of skill, knowledge and understanding of the role in order for them to be effective. Training, together with other important organisational issues, are covered in the next section. All those involved in the project, including support staff, should have sufficient training so that they can understand: why you are setting up Key Account Management use material from Section 2 how it fits with your overall business strategy use material from Section 2 what Key Account Management involves systems and procedures see remainder of this manual what their specific role will entail and how it fits in the whole process In particular, when you have selected your Key Account Managers and their support staff, they will need comprehensive induction training to ensure you start with a skilled and motivated team who have a consistent understanding of their role and the objectives of the programme.

It is likely that if you are setting up Key Account Management in your business for the first time, in which case you may not have a reservoir of people with the necessary skills ready to take on the role of Key Account Manager. It may be that you have had some managers working in sales, marketing or customer care who have some customer orientation and experience of understanding customer needs. You may also have capable managers in strategy, finance or operations, who have some of the relevant personal skills and qualities, such as ability to build relationships, knowledge of the industry or consultancy skills.

Equally, when you select your KAMs there may be some who are experienced KAMs in other industry sectors who need to learn more about the postal industry.

In each of these examples, the individuals may start with some relevant knowledge and skill but need to be trained in other areas. For this reason, when you design the training programme, it is likely to be most effective if it is modular, so that it can be tailored to the specific needs of individuals with different backgrounds and experience. Alternatively, it may also be considered necessary to give everyone the same training. This way, relevant previous experience and knowledge can be cross-fertilised and, at the end of the training, everyone will have been through all the topics, to the same level.

Giving attention to this and to the group you need to train, use the following exercise to begin to develop the modules you need. Training topics Key skills and knowledge Ability to develop and build strong business and personal relationships Communication, listening and presenting skills Understanding your markets, products and services Familiarity with business strategy and wider industry knowledge Consultancy skills and ability to sell Diplomacy, negotiation, problem solving and conflict resolution skills Planning and organisational skills Specific goals and objectives of training e.

There are also a number of forms and tools given as examples. Crucial to the success of key account management is the ability and discipline of keeping a customer database of all the key accounts updated and accurate. All these support systems will need to have well-designed and well-documented processes and procedures. An essential part of the planning and preparation is therefore to design and develop these systems, tailored to your particular needs.

Please refer to Section 4 and the forms and tools which come with this guide and then build your own system, with the aim of keeping it simple and robust. Organisation As Key Account Management will need to be integrated into your business as a regular activity, so it will need to fit into the right place in the organisation.

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However, as most restructuring or organisation tends to be disruptive and distracting, it is recommended that this is introduced with a lot of thought and the least amount of disruption. Key Account Management organizational structuring Decide the scope of the KAM ambition Expected outcomes and programme Ambition should be in line with resources and capacity Upgrading of ambition can be incremental Upgrading of ambition must be achieved along with upgrading of capacity and capabilities Identify and Nominate the Champion to lead the structure and advise on Additional KAM members The ambition and scope will impact on the size of the KAM Team People-fit in terms of qualifications and required skills is crucial Right-shape the key roles and match key accounts with KA Managers Design the structure to manage KAM functions.

Define its position in the organisation and align success factors Incremental strengthening of the structure may be implemented Position in the Organisation should assure that full potential of KAM is attainable Reporting line should be short enough to assure proaction and quick reaction to key account requirements Author: Alassane Guiro, UPU Copyright Universal Postal Union.

All rights reserved As described in Section 2, all members of the Board, across all functions, should have a close interest in, and be directly supporting, KAM activity. For this reason, it could be argued that the Director of Key Accounts, to whom the KAMs would report, should be on the Board or report direct to the Board.

This would reflect the business-wide significance of the key accounts to the future profitability of the business. It would ensure that issues arising from key account customers were discussed at Board meetings and in strategy sessions. However, when the business organisation may only have one director with responsibility for market or customer issues e. Director of Sales and Marketing then it is also quite logical for the KAMs to report in directly to this role. An important consideration should be to look at the positions of the KAMs from their customer s perspective.

If they are being used as a single point of contact to your business which is a strength of the KAM role then they will need to be in a strong enough position in the organisation to resolve problems with invoicing or finance, or operations and interface processes.

Whichever option is chosen, it is essential that the KAM role and activity is championed or led from the very top of the organisation. It will not work if it is buried down a number of layers in the bureaucracy. This is one of the first things that will need to be agreed see the chronological checklist in Appendix B. In order to be successful, the implementation of KAM activity for your business will require the allocation of a budget and appropriate resources.

Below you will see a short check-list. It is worth doing a quick exercise at the outset to estimate the likely level of budget required, along with other resources such as office accommodation so that this can all be agreed at the planning stage. IT development costs e. At the beginning of this Section 3 we considered what the overall project goals and objectives should be.

It is worth remembering the other disciplines of project management, as so many initiatives fail when this is done badly. Project Item Details By whom and by when Agreed the Project Initiation Document PID Appoint project team Appoint project board Project planning and design Communications plan Project undertaken in defined stages Project completion Project implementation review PIR This should include the agreed specification, purpose and goals of the project, with SMART objectives and timelines Project manager and others as required Key stakeholders for the project to agree the PID and project plan First task of the Project Manager Key part of the project plan Regular reviews of the project should take place at the end of each key stage with the project board This should coincide with launch and implementation This review should take place normally within 6 months of project completion To be effective it needs to be planned and managed in a structured way, in order to meet the desired goals and outcomes.

The Key Account Plan is probably the most important tool with which to build and maintain effective key account management that works efficiently and delivers added value to your business. The Key Account plan will be the foundation and reference point for all activity in relation to that key account, whether it be for strategy development, communications, new sales or monitoring day to day activities in relation to the account. The first step is to draw up the Key Account Development Plan. This is usually done on an annual basis and sets the direction for the rest of the key account plan.

This is where the main objectives, strategies and tactics for each particular key account are set out.

The Strategic Account Manager – How do you Compensate This Critical Role?

It would normally be written by the Key Account Manager, in line with the business strategy and the strategic marketing plan. Key Account Manager Key Account Name The Key Account Plan will incorporate all the relevant information on that account. Some of this is information about the customer which can be gathered at the outset, including details of the customer, their contracts and your account team.

The rest of it includes all the information about any activity between your business and that key account customer. This includes comprehensive records of visits, calls, customer complaints, sales of products and services, customer satisfaction.

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It is essential, if key account management is to be maintained and work effectively, for all the information in the key account plan to be regularly checked and updated, particularly after any new contact or visit. Apart from the Key Account Development Plan, mentioned above, the remaining information can be documented on Forms 1 10 which are in the appendix to this guide. Structured plan that should include objectives, strategies and tactics for the year and for the longer term relationship see example above Name of person who compiled the Plan Dates: When completed When approved When last modified or updated This should include title, function, contact details for KAM and supporting team, with their direct responsibilities for this account, listed clearly.

This would also list team improvement plans, specifying responsibility.


Also, main products and services currently used by the customer, with details of contracts, trends and forecast or targeted projections for future business See Forms 3 and 9. There may need to be a section highlighting the history of this customer s relationship with your business and previous sales activity where it is relevant to the current relationship. This section should include detailed and accurate information on all contacts with the customer, including visits and calls, whether made by your business or by them.

This is the heartbeat of the business relationship and it is vital that all details are noted in this section, so that all concerned can be fully informed about any issue involving your relationship with the key account customer. It would also include planned or scheduled visits and calls See Forms 5 and 6. This should include all known information about your competitors and the segment of the market in which the key account customer operates. Any information about your competitors and critical success factors for your customer is helpful in order for you to review and determine the strength of your position with this customer See Form 4.

This should include all information about any customer complaints, including what occurred, what action was taken and how it was resolved, including who was involved in the case and any lessons learnt or recommendations to improve things for the future See Form 8. This should include a record of the level of customer satisfaction the key account customer has with your level of service, responsiveness and so on.

You can adapt the UPU Model customer satisfaction survey to be used on a regular basis with this customer. It is particularly important to follow up any items they have concerns about and to analyse trends and maybe to set targets for achievements and improvement See Forms 10 and This final section should include a comprehensive key action plan, summarising for each quarter or review period who is due to take what action, by when, and with what objective.

There should also be a review of each action and activity to note any lessons learnt or improvement opportunities. Ideally, the review should be undertaken by someone from outside the KAM team. Executive Summary 2.

Key Features

Introduction 3. Background 4. The vision for communications 5. Strategic objectives 6. Early priorities. How to Measure a Loyalty Programme s Return on Investment Managing information and transactions securely Introduction Successful programmes have longevity because the overall benefits clearly justify the. Section 1: Introduction 1. It is critical for any organization to keep. Please note: This document has been created due to requests from some of our customers for an off the shelf solution.

It represents a very basic outline of the type of offering s we provide - and should. Introduction p 3 a. SNH: corporate aims and objectives b. SNH and communications.