For organisations looking to implement key account management, Mark Davies, visiting fellow at Cranfield School of Management, explains the three different perspectives which need to be covered in your approach.
There are two lenses - the first one is the aspect that the key account manager uses they're developing a strategy for their key account that's critical and it's a pathway they have to follow but equally in fact probably more importantly is how is the organisation structuring itself and developing a strategy and building its internal organisation around key account management. Key account management is a different business model, it's a different way of working, so the leadership needs to be cognizant of this and develop those strategies and push them into the organisation.
- How do you develop a strategy for your key account?
What is your key account management strategy, how does it complement your overall business strategy. It should be seen as being a strategic pillar of the wider business strategy.
- How is the organisation structuring itself and developing itself around key account management?
Think about key account management as a set of organisational standards. What standards do you need to do when you're thinking about building your organisation?
- Have you positioned key account management as a transformational process?
Focus on key account management; it is a different business model. It's a different way of working so it's a transformational process.
The key account management framework really focuses across those three areas but particularly it offers a set of standards that an organization can look at to start thinking about what does it do in year one, year two and year three to start developing key account management capability. Organisations that address the challenges (and opportunities) that come with managing customers and successfully navigate through the pitfalls and obstacles, will be on the path to a successful account management organisation.
Want to find out more? The KAM Framework is covered in more detail in the Kogan Page book Implementing Key Account Management. Take a look to see how supplier companies can improve their key account management programmes.
Our work in this area is critical to achieving successful key account management programs for organisations looking to succeed at managing key account customers. For the past twenty years, Cranfield has pioneered the development of Key Account Management research in Europe through the KAM Best Practice Research Club, working with world leading businesses to adopt new frameworks and best practice to fully leverage key relationships and strategies. This new frontier knowledge is continually integrated into our Key Account Management Programme