In a highly competitive business environment, retaining clients is one of the biggest challenges of any business. Formalizing account management in your organization can empower your sales managers and reps with the right tools to service and retain your most important customers.

Trying to implement key account management in your organization can get messy if you don’t follow the right approach. Here are 9 tips that will help you develop and implement a successful account management plan so that you can better serve your strategic clients, build long-lasting business relationships and in turn scale your business to greater heights.

  1. First and foremost, come up with a definition of key accounts specific to your business. Once your team has a clear definition of which clients should be considered key or strategic accounts, it will be easier to draw up an account management plan. While doing this, remember that not all large accounts may qualify as key accounts, which are essentially clients that have a strategic value for your organization regardless of their size.
  2. Come up with a robust KAM strategy for your salespeople to follow. Adopting a formal and clearly defined approach to account management planning will help establish a culture where sales teams will step up to develop winning account plans. Start slow so as not to overwhelm your front runners and to avoid making mistakes in identifying clients that could qualify as your key accounts.
  3. Provide training to your sales reps so that they can not only identify a key account but also develop a neat account management strategy based on a deep study of that account’s exact needs, their performance in the industry, their organizational goals, their biggest competitors and their current challenges. A well-informed and carefully developed KAM plan will undoubtedly deliver greater results.
  4. A core component of key account management is the inculcating of a solutions-driven mindset in your salespeople. Rather than simply pushing products to their accounts, sales reps trained in KAM adopt a more strategic and long-term approach. They’re trained to identify the client’s problems and challenges and offer customized solutions that would resolve those issues. This approach will help your sales department not only achieve its targets but also have a pool of loyal and satisfied clients to fall back on.
  5. Invest in a solid key account management (KAM) software to streamline your internal processes and establish best practices for the entire team working on the same account. For someone working for years at his company managing strategic clients, a good account management solution is an indispensable tool that can drive revenue and uncover new business opportunities.
  6. Ensure that you meet your key accounts regularly. Exceptional key account management is not based on pushing your products. It involves building a long-lasting relationship with your most important clients, and being in regular contact is crucial to this process. Keep in touch with your accounts, have regular telephonic conversations with the important people in your client’s organization and try and meet them on a regular basis. This will help you create a deeper relationship with their business and in turn provide your own business opportunities for growth.
  7. Despite the role of digital tools in the success of KAM strategies, people continue to play an indispensable part in key account management. Your account managers are the real leaders who will drive your KAM implementation, and their personal and professional competence will determine its success to a large extent. This is why it’s important that the role and position of the Account Manager are clearly defined and necessary training is made available to hon your star managers into specialist account managers.
  8. Don’t just stop at a few important clients. With time and experience, you can add more customers to your key accounts list by developing them as strategic partners in mutual success, by addressing their specific needs regardless of how much business they bring you at present, and by vowing their chief decision-makers with solutions tailored to their objectives.
  9. Make it company culture to provide added value to your strategic clients. Going out of the way to offer exceptional customer service is a cornerstone of KAM. Empowered by good KAM software, each employee servicing a particular client can once a while step beyond the scope of his or her responsibilities. When everyone has access to important information about a key account on a single platform, they’ll be better equipped to service that account to their fullest potential.