We all know that  important business customers require special attention and nurturing. But how do we know which customers should be treated as Strategic / Key accounts.  Here are a few characteristics of a Strategic / Key account:

  • These customers purchase a significant volume, both in absolute dollars and as a percentage of a supplier’s total sales
  • They involve several people (possibly in different function areas) in the purchasing process
  • Buys for a number of geographically dispersed organizational units (stores, branches, manufacturing plants)
  • Expects specialized attention and services (example: logistical support, inventory management, price discounts, special terms, bespoke applications, customized reports, special support etc.)

Objectives of Account Management

Customer’s Expectation from the Account Manager

Perception Pyramid of Customer

 Account Portfolio Management

In a portfolio, you may have different categories of account.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is useful in determining how much a company may invest its effort, time and money.

Account portfolio strategy should aim to maximize Stars and minimize Laggards      

10 Pointers of Account Planning 1/2

10 Pointers of Account Planning 2/2

Strategic Account Penetration

5P Analysis of Decision Making Unit

Effective Account Management Practices

Skills required for Account Management

The following skills are  critical to a Key/Strategic Account manager’s success:

  • Understand the company: An Account manager must have an intimate, sophisticated & continuously updated understanding of her account’s strategy, market position, finances, products, and organizational structure. She’ll use this knowledge to make business cases showing how her offerings will add value
  • Collaborate: Key/Strategic accounts don’t usually buy off-the-shelf: They want a custom blend of products and services tailored to their needs. With that in mind, it’s crucial that an Account Manger can work across the organization to develop these offerings.
  • Lead: An Account Manager needs leadership abilities to guide his/her team members (which might include a Operations, Marketer, Technical support, Implementation and/or onboarding specialist).
  • Orchestrate and execute: Key/Strategic account programs have a lot of moving parts. To be successful, Account Managers should be capable of planning short-term and long-term plays, carrying them out, analysing the outcomes, and applying those takeaways to their future strategies.

For more details and implementation guidance, you may please contact the author.

Aurijit Ganguli (aurijit@bizwinconsulting.com)