The influence of senior management in KAM
This topic attracted a strong response! Over 40 key account managers, programme directors, academics and consultants hotly debated the issues that arise from the involvement of senior management in KAM. Is it essential? Basically yes: and Dr Lesley Murphy demonstrated research on why. Too often, senior managers seem to think they can simply give their approval to KAM and leave it at that, which doesn't work for many reasons. It isn't what key accounts expect, for a start, and it leaves key account managers battling to get the commitment they need from the rest of the company to implement any of the benefits key customers have been promised. Being caught between 'a rock and a hard place' can leave key account managers demoralised and stressed, and Doug Gordon pinned the responsibility for their welfare firmly on senior managers.
Is senior management engagement always a good thing? Not necessarily, though certainly the right kind of involvement is very powerful: senior managers can be coaches, advocates, high-level ambassadors with customers, barrier removers and boundary spanners. But they don't always want to take on these roles, and sometimes they don't know how - and sometimes they seem to want to be the 'super kam' themselves. For Dominykas Cibulskas (from Walmart in the Balkans), senior management's role is to foster the right culture for KAM across the company. He's clear that successful KAM isn't a one-man show, or even a one-octopus show!
You can download the presentations from the day below and the outputs from the discussion groups, so you can see what participants made of the issues raised in the presentations..