As part of his executive development Scott Anderson of Luxfer Gas Cylinders, attended Cranfield’s Key Account Management Best Practice programme, so we spent five minutes with him to discover his thoughts on the programme.
Executive Education: Welcome Scott, can you tell us about what encouraged you to join the Key Account Management programme?
Scott Anderson: Our company started with a key account management programme about a year and a half ago. We identified four companies as strategic partners that we must have as part of our business portfolio, and that we wanted to make an extra effort to take care of those customers. Part of that effort within our company, they assigned global key account managers to each of those accounts and found the Cranfield management development programme to specifically develop our capabilities.
EE: Did you have any specific goals that you wanted to achieve?
SA: We did have a few specific goals we wanted to achieve on this programme. We first started with one team that was worldwide with about 10 members. It was really difficult to get everybody on the same page, so we made the decision 6 months ago to split it up into 3 teams (Americas, Europe and rest of the world). Part of what we wanted to achieve on the programme was to find some frameworks and structures that we could really apply to help us deploy our resources much better around the world and really take care of our customers, not only where their home base is in North America but around the rest of the world.
EE: What are your key takeaways from the Key Account Management programme?
SA: The key takeaways for the key account programme for me will be the structure that the programme offers. It gives you so many different resources and frameworks that you can truly apply to your business. It also gave you the perspective of your customer and you could identify what sort of value you can bring to the customer, that will eventually lead to more value for your company. So, I think the programme has been a huge achievement for us.
EE: In which ways were the programme benefit you as a Senior Sales Manager and your organisation?
SA: I think it will truly benefit us in a multitude of ways. One is we'll get better buy in internally with our own company. We already had the key account management initiative but now that they can see we're really taking it seriously, getting structure to really apply to our teams, all the tools we need to really develop a full encompassing programme that will be a key account management plan. It'll be a contract between us and the business and us and our customers to ensure we are doing everything we can to maximise and exploit every opportunity we have to help our customer, help them grow and ultimately help us grow as well.
EE: Would you recommend the programme to others and why?
SA: I would absolutely recommend this programme to any company that has customers that they would truly have a tough time living without. If you see value in a customer and you see potential to grow that customer, I think it’s absolutely vital to devote the proper resources and time into that customer, so that you A. maintain them and B. retain them and most of all if you can grow them that would be most beneficial.
EE: What advice would you give to anyone that’s considering the programme?
SA: The advice I would give if someone was considering this programme is to talk amongst your leadership in your business units, find out what’s important to them, see if they truly are believers in key account management. If not, that’s ok. You can come to this programme and start thinking about what the business case is for having key account management, why would you deploy this and use these extra resources from your company and what’s the benefit you’re going to get out of it. Because if you come to Cranfield and you take this course, you’re going to get quite the business case to take back to the leadership in your company for key account management and you should have no problem deploying it and you'll absolutely see the value in it.
- Malcolm McDonald’s Ten guidelines for Profitable Key Account Management
- The Key Account Management Framework
- World Class Key Account Planning
- Adopting Key Account Management – 12 Mistakes to Avoid