AKAM 'Technical' workshop on Metrics in KAM

17th October, at IESEG, Paris


The role and importance of metrics was highlighted by Professor Patrick Godfrey of the University of Bath, who said “Measurement closes perception gaps and enables us to demonstrate the value we add.”

This was the first of a new series of AKAM 'Technical' workshops or masterclasses which answer a demand from KAM professionals who want to find out how to apply in reality some of the tools and concepts that work in key account management. This four-hour session explored metrics across almost every aspect of key account management, drawing on an action research project conducted with a cross-sector group of companies. While that group had a great many metrics already available to them, these companies didn’t feel that they were informative about KAM, and felt they needed something different.

Dr Diana Woodburn, leader of this workshop and that research project, emphasised that measurement starts with purpose. Different metrics have different purposes, like:

  • Making the right strategic decisions
  • Aligning implementation with strategy
  • Improving efficiency and productivity (already more than enough, normally)
  • Learning and improvement
  • Gaining visibility

Most people believe in ‘hard’, data-driven metrics, but there is evidence that ‘soft’, judgement-based metrics are often equally important in influencing decisions, internally and externally. Unfortunately, they are often neglected or ignored, and so a great deal of good information is lost. Diana also warned that adding targets or incentives to any metric will always warp it in one direction or another, so it ceases to be ‘true’. Bad target setting has a lot to answer for, and is all too common. While targets and incentives may still be a good idea, companies need to recognise that the particular metric no longer reflects reality.

The workshop was organised in four sections:

  • Measuring key account management top to bottom
  • Metrics for managing key accounts
  • Key account profitability - the ultimate metric
  • Measuring key account managers

The workshop material is most readily viewed by clicking on the green tab below: the yellow tab is provided for members who want to download the slides and use the material in their own work.

Diana Woodburn, BSc MSc MBA PhD FCIM, is also AKAM Chairman