Fundamentals of Key Account Management


All B2B and B2C customer propositions require a strategic planning approach that addresses the customer desire for a best in class offer. With regard to managing a significant B2B customer often across an International platform, the need to combine the product and service propositions is increased significantly. The strategic management of any offer will be critical to ensure effective delivery of proposals and commitments made by the Key Account Management (KAM) teams.

Summary of requirement

  • Understand the customer and the anticipation of their needs
  • Appraise their potential
  • Appreciate the sources of risk, cost and profit
  • Develop appropriate strategies for each customer
  • Construct effective implementation processes
  • Monitor actions and improve results


Day to day activities of second tier accounts (80% of customers) can distract from the most valuable clients and their objectives. Therefore it is required to introduce collaborative strategic account management to the customers requiring a customised service (centralised or de centralised) function whilst building long and sustainable relationships to protect against competitor activity through customer loyalty programmes.

The mechanisms that could be introduced are:

Evaluation of the fundamental attributes of each account

The roles and responsibilities of the account managers

Assessment of the client’s organisational structure, culture and it’s fit within the service provider

Research and validation of the client’s financial performance and business objectives

Creation of a client SWOT analysis

Design and management of a KAM plan

Regular mapping of a competitor matrix

Confirmation of all roles and responsibilities to external stakeholders

Establishment of a buying matrix

Networking matrix for the entire account

Supporting Data to enable effective KAM


Qualification of CRM Platform

CRM strategies can vary in size, complexity and scope. Many only focus on the management of sales people and not the interaction of the customer through cross media campaigns.

Below is a simple step by step process on how a CRM platform could be created that can lead to strengthen client retention and improve product offerings by understanding the customer’s needs

Stage 1 Collecting Data

Often unstructured and not kept clean on a regular and mandated timetable. Create a simple working template that requires fixed field data input. Monitoring of activity is also required

Stage 2 Storing Information

Many companies are not able to connect continents or even domestic subsidiaries and identify a link to a shared customer. This does not enable pipeline selling. A web enabled tool is required that immediately allows the organisation to have total transparency on a multi level client relationship status

Stage 3 Accessing Information

Data will be made available with levels of security dependant on the sensitivity of data such as costs / margins / sales performance. This allows management to take a topographical view of their customer base instantly and also on their sales team’s level of understanding of each client

Stage 4 Analysing Customer Behaviour

Using pre determined data mining tools, the organisation can begin to profile customers more readily and in a single format for ease of reference

Stage 5 Enhancing the Relevance of the Value Proposition

The review of the offer by customer segment looking at the profitable V the non profitable package / service / products enabling re evaluation of the position on the offers put forward to optimise a margin position with each customer. This also enhances the life time value.

Stage 6 Enhancing the Customer’s Experience

By understanding the customer’s needs and reactions generically the organisation can be more responsive and agile to drive growth as opposed to the traditional methods of offering products and services and letting the customer decide which elements they want.

Alistair Nash – Print Tribe

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