We’re seeing an increasing demand from sales leaders to develop their sales teams into value adding Key Account Managers. It’s a logical step, but for many salespeople it’s a big one which requires a better understanding of how customers buy and how their competitors sell as well as an increase in their account management skills.Given the market pressures and demands exerted on customers by:
- Their direct and indirect competitors
- Potential or new market entrants
- Their channel partners or distributors
- The ultimate customer or consumer
the Key Account Manager is, potentially at least, in a unique position to seize the opportunity to add value to the relationship with key customers at a time when competition has never been tougher. This is predicated on the ability of the Key Account Manager to understand the pressures specific to each customer and to qualify and quantify what each major customer means by “added value”.
The potential relationship levels can be characterised as:
Achieving the position of at least preferred supplier status and then building a reputation which allows the customer to perceive suppliers as partners in the total business process is the ultimate purpose of Key Account Management.