The Objectives of a Key Account Manager
Key account managers are senior members of a company’s sales team. They combine sales ability with good customer relationship and administrative skills, and they are responsible for managing business relationships with a company’s largest customers. The largest customers typically account for a large proportion of a company’s turnover, so it is essential to protect them against attack from competitors. Loss of just one large account could have a serious impact on a company’s profitability and survival.
The overall objective for key account managers is to maximize revenue from each major account. To achieve this, they develop and implement a strategic plan that sets out the revenue targets and identifies the products that will generate sales. They establish customized pricing and discounts to maximize sales opportunities. Managers also use their knowledge of each major account to identify opportunities to develop new products that will open additional revenue streams.
Building the highest levels of customer satisfaction is an important objective for key account managers. They must ensure customers are satisfied with every aspect of the service they receive. Key account managers explain customer requirements to all departments that deal with key accounts and stress the importance of delivering the highest standards of service. They monitor important aspects of customer service, including delivery times, accuracy of order fulfillment and invoices, response to customer inquiries and requests and quality of after-sales service.
Key account managers aim to build strong relationships with all the members of the customer team who make or influence purchasing decisions. Their objective is to build strategic relationships that make it difficult for competitors to break into the account. Key account managers develop communication plans to ensure the company maintains regular contact with all the important members of the customer team. They organize presentations and review meetings to update customers on business developments, and they communicate product information through emails and newsletters. They may also set up meetings between their own senior executives and senior members of the customer team to maintain a strategic relationship.
Maintaining account control is an essential objective for key account managers. They aim to build strong links with major accounts so that customers become dependent on the supplier. As an example, key account managers may recommend that the company establishes streamlined ordering systems and holds dedicated inventory for key accounts. They may also suggest customized products tailored to individual customers’ needs or set up collaboration projects to help major customers reduce costs of doing business.