Are you involved in global account management? Do you want to be? Our next workshop will give you the chance to find out about the ups and downs of GAM, some of the pitfalls and unintended consequences, and what you might do to mitigate or avoid them.
We’ve recruited a brilliant set of experts for this workshop to get you thinking and talking together: an academic who did much of the original research into GAM: a practitioner turned consultant who has been through the pain of implementing GAM; and a senior global account manager who is actually doing the job. So you can get a good look at all sides of this aspect of key account management. Of course, it has many similarities with ‘normal’ key account management, but some elements are heightened and become critical when global organisations and global customers are involved, together with the added scale and complexity of the business. Global customers and therefore global account managers are high profile - the rewards are great, but then so can the risks be!
Come and join this workshop at the Planetarium in Amsterdam in February – it could kick off the next phase of your career, whether as a GAM leader or as a global account manager. This is the place to start networking! Hosted by the Sales Management Association in the Netherlands. See 'Next event' for full details.
What happened at AKAM's 1st Annual Conference
15th November 2017
Response was overwhelmingly positive - so much so that 95% of delegates would attend another AKAM meeting (74% definitely and 21% probably)! Fifty delegates, split almost equally between key account managers and KAM programme directors and others, listened to practitioners and academic/expert speakers sharing their experience of KAM in different companies, and learned more about the principles and tools that underpin practice. Half the delegates were already members and 90% of the other half said they were likely to join AKAM afterwards!
Rainer Schroeder, Global Account Manager ABB Semiconductors (based in Germany), insisted that a ‘lone wolf’ approach to the KAM job is bound to fail in a complex environment. The Global Account Manager, as director of the orchestra, must be able to form a virtual team to work with him/her and be very specific on the contribution and tasks expected from each team member. In return, all team members must be treated as equals and receive a regular flow of information.
Many industrial firms have moved from products to offering bundled products and services, redefining the notion of customer value, which is no longer about fulfilling predefined needs but exploring issues with the customer and defining the best answer. Professor Jakob Rehme (Linköping University, Sweden) explained how this approach requires a major change in terms of Account and Key Account Management, from selling to collaboration. He also demonstrated how compliance with sustainability-related criteria has become a key component of how the buying company evaluates the solutions acquired from suppliers.
AKAM has made great strides forward during 2017. The AKAM website now has a unique body of resources to support members seeking timely help with their KAM initiatives. Richard Ilsley, AKAM Board Member, described the growing AKAM network, progress with the AKAM Diploma, and launched the Key Account Managers of the Year Awards (large companies and SMEs).
Conor O’Maley, Regional VP SMB at SalesForce in Ireland, presented the framework of processes, tools and behaviours used to manage their sales team. Their Account Management is based on combining a high focus on sales and a good customer experience to generate the customer’s loyalty. He focused on sales management and sales efficiency which, although they are not the critical issues in KAM, was still of great interest to delegates.
Feedback from the March meeting requested a session on KAM frameworks and processes, presented here by Diana Woodburn, AKAM Chairman. She offered wide range of devices, most of which act first as diagnostics and then as decision-support tools and management action guides that convert into processes. Frameworks demonstrated included customer selection/categorisation, through risk assessment to key account prioritisation processes.
At Dublin Airport KAM is driven not by single Key Account Managers but by a team of Key Account Managers, each of them being an expert of his/her field and coordinating a complex set of interactions with their counterparts on the airline side. Edel Redmond, Head of B2B Marketing, emphasised the importance of clarity in roles and tasks as well as efficient sharing of information, based on simple processes and tools. Dublin Airport’s engagement with airlines to develop new routes and grow traffic has a major impact on the local economy.
For Marco Reijntjens from Tenacity Europe in the Netherlands value lies at the centre of retention in service businesses. As services are intangible, their value depends more on the customer’s perception than does the value of products. The perception of value erodes with time unless the supplier is very vigilant in creatively renewing it the eyes of their customer. A change of key personnel in the customer can represent a danger point, and suppliers need to work rapidly to establish their future value as well as their current offer – failure at this stage has proved painful for some companies!
Delegates gave a us a rich list of topics they’d like AKAM to discuss, so we have plenty to work on in future meetings!
Olivier Rivière, Deputy Chairman
Launching Key Account Managers of the Year Awards
30th October 2017
Do you feel that the role of key account manager is poorly understood, underrated and overlooked? We've been thinking about how to change this perception, and the AKAM Diploma is an important step in rectifying the situation. But, in addition, we reckon that celebrating the achievements of the great key account managers who are out there should also help. Not to mention that winning such an award is bound to help their careers as well.
We understand that while KAM objectives and approaches are pretty much the same across any sector, even the public sector, company size can have a significant effect on the challenges facing key account managers. Smaller companies may not be able to offer the support and resources that larger companies can although, on the other hand, they can also be less complex and consequently more agile and that's appealing to customers.
So there will be winners in two categories – large companies and SMEs (fewer than 250 employees). The criteria and process for application is already up on the website, so start thinking about entering now. If you think you're a good key account manager, why shouldn't it be you?
And as a small bonus, you get to keep the award which will be engraved with your name, so you can show it in your office and demonstrate to everyone what a great key account manager you are. Click on 'Key Account Manager of the Year Award' now to find out more.
Dublin Airport completes 2nd November conference line-up
With key customers like Aer Lingus and Ryanair, Dublin Airport's approach to KAM has to be really powerful and illuminating for us in terms of how to handle the pressures from key accounts in a fast-moving, high-profile environment. Communication and flexibility must be critical, but how does that work in practice? Head of B2B Marketing Edel Redmond will share some insights into their way of working with key accounts and what they have learned along the way. With Salesforce's Conor O'Malley on board for a session at the conference too, we have a really strong agenda with something for everyone in it. This a a truly European conference with speakers from Germany, The Netherlands, Ireland and UK, and delegates from across the rest of Europe. Go to Events/Next event to see the full agenda and to sign up.
We'll be launching the Key Account Manager of the Year Award 2018 at the conference too. It's a rare opportunity for you to gain recognition for your expertise and professionalism as a Key Account Manager, and not just for KAMs in big companies - there are two awards, one for KAMs in big companies, certainly, and one for KAMs in SMEs. Click on the tile on the home page and find out how to enter.
Salesforce joins 2nd November conference at DIT Dublin
Salesforce's Conor O'Malley is our latest sign up to present at the conference in November, leaving just one slot with two candidates to fill it! The lineup promises to cover a wide range of KAM topics, so will be something for everyone. We normally theme our workshops so that we can dig into a particular issue, but having an open agenda is participants the chance to ask questions and challenge across a wider front, whatever concerns them most at the time. Take a look at Events/next Events to get the full detail.
Dublin is a very easy place to get to (in spite of Ryanair!) and DIT (Dublin Institute of Technology College of Business) is not far from the city centre and surrounded by hotels at every level. Anyone in Dublin the evening before is welcome to join and meet other participants at an informal dinner in a nearby restaurant. I look forward to meeting you there!
AKAM Bulletin coming out soon
You'll get news of AKAM's latest developments and events, plus expert articles on valuable and tricky aspects of KAM.
So, for example, the first bulletin will tell you about the conference at Dublin Institute of Technology on 2nd November and next year's programme of events in Rotterdam, Vilnius and Paris. You will know about the resources available on the website and other new developments, like the facility for companies to upload their recruitment ads for key account managers or directors who know how to manage KAM programmes.
The first bulletin will carry articles on 'The trouble with targets' in KAM, which is of interest to those who are setting targets and anyone subjected to a target alike. Are targets a good idea in KAM at all? Or are they OK in principle, but normally set so poorly that they have more negative than positive impact?
Following our meeting in Lugano, Olivier Riviere considers the differences between KAM in large and small companies. Are there real differences? What are they? How does that affect where and how you might want to work?
Sign up to receive the bulletin direct to your email (see panel above) and you'll be sure to catch the news about KAM, so you can worry less about remembering to visit the website - though you're always welcome.