Key account management is one of the essential ingredients of a successful account-based growth strategy, alongside account-based marketing, customer success and executive engagement and sponsorship. Recently I attended two events where I was lucky enough to interact with key account management programme leaders and practitioners and share experiences. I hosted an online webinar on account-based growth for the Cranfield Key Account Management Forum and the second was participating in an in-person conference in Dublin held by the Association for Key Account Management (AKAM), of which I am a member.
These conversations underlined how important it is to have an experienced and seasoned account director in place; someone who can bring the best of the supplier to the customer, develop deep insight into what the customer values and lead the internal team to deliver business outcomes in a holistic manner.
This theme is something that Ninian Wilson, CEO of Vodafone Procurement, explains in the first chapter of Account-based Growth: unlocking sustainable value through extraordinary customer focus – a book I collaborated on with Bev Burgess and which was published in November.
For the book we gathered a range of expert views about account management and sales including views from Nick Wilson, a veteran sales and business leader who has worked at IBM, Unisys, CSC, HP, DXC and Micro Focus and Paul Legere, a senior Partner at Deloitte where he has been a leader in Financial Services as well as leading single, global accounts for Deloitte.
I hope that their thoughts, alongside our own experience of the most important elements of key account management and the excellent advice from our friends at Cranfield University, will provide food for thought as you look ahead to 2023 and focus on your most important customers to drive long-term, profitable growth.
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Key account management is just one part of the Account-based Growth Framework, which brings together internal alignment and external engagement, all of which is explained fully in Account-based Growth published by Kogan Page.