Just came back from four amazing days in Singapore where I met with many CEOs, MDs and AsiaPac Commercial Excellence Leaders. My key takeaway from this visit was that the most common sales related challenges being faced in the region is how to optimize the performance of their Key Account Management (KAM) teams in order to generate incremental sales growth, particularly as large accounts continue to have an increasing importance on the organizations overall sales performance.
When looking to develop Key Account Management teams, there we also a number of common challenges that I observed. These challenges included:
- Capturing real customer needs and pain points (questioning and probing skills).
- Shifting the mindset away from using price as the main differentiator, to increasing the focus on a value solution platform (negotiation skills).
- Capturing and sharing of customer information (teamwork, horizontal communication and CRM usage).
- Changing their sales personnel's mindset from being "farmers" to that of "hunters" (mindset change and coaching).
In my 25 years of experience in Sales Training and Consulting, I have seen that although most companies have some form of KAM program in place, usually these programs produce results not as expected due to the lack of implementation platforms. A company could have the best KAM program with superior systems, forms, templates and methods, but if these programs are not implemented and supported by field personnel with the necessary skills sets to deploy these sophisticated programs, the KAM programs will fail to achieve the results they we design for.
For those looking to maximize the output from KAM teams, I highly recommend you ensure that your Sales Managers are devoting adequate time to supporting and developing their Key Account Managers' selling skills and ensuring they are able to use the tools and processes as designed. This must include the Sales Managers observing the Key Account Managers in live selling situations, not just based on theoretical discussions in the office. By doing this, not only will your Key Account Managers be in a better position to maximize the potential of their key accounts, your Sales Managers will have a much better understanding of what your clients are really looking for, rather than relying on second hand information from Key Account Managers.