There is nothing worse for an executive to meet his peer on the customer side and to show up unprepared. Has your team prepared you an “executive briefing” for each of the key Accounts? Did you receive the briefing with enough time to read through it and ask questions. Are you planning any preview meetings with the Key Account team to ask questions?


Too often executives show up at the meeting with no agenda, no questions and no value other than the typical meet and greet. Don’t be slug, invest the amount of time propositonal to the value the Key Account’s provide. Not sure, determine what the business would look like if you lost just one.


Besides the 10 questions attached, make sure the account plan is updated and included as part of the briefing package. Confirm it includes both internal activity and external. As an example, has your peer (s) won an award of any type? Been promoted? Had a baby? Has one of the kids graduated from college, recently divorced? Whatever it is, you need to know and be prepared for the environment your walking into. It’s your teams job to prepare you. Don’t let them manage you. Don’t get the update in the car on the way to the meeting.


If you’ve successfully answered the attached 10 questions, combine the gaps into a call plan and preview the material with the Key Account team. After the preview you should be in great shape and your peer will appreciate it. If your team is managing the key account well, your counter part will be equally prepared.


You have 3 goals with your Key Accounts:


  1. Maintain your competitive advantage
  2. Continue to provide the level of service that creates long term customer loyalty
  3. Grow the Key Account profitable


Do you have your Key Accounts top 3 objectives for your relationship? If you don’t know, find out. Here’s some examples of what they may be looking for in a strategic partnership:


  • Quality
  • Competency
  • Preference orientated products & services
  • True partnership behavior
  • Collaboration
  • Sustained value
  • Effective supplier relationship management
  • Security of product supply
  • Price, rebates, adherance to opt-in contract terms
  • Global capabilities
  • Ease of doing business with
  • Access to the best and brightest resources on your team
  • Value outside of your core responsibility


Review my blog on Key Account Growth and Retention that addresses the impact of losing a Key Account. Also referenced are 2 great examples of how Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca Cola  and Andrew Sobel  explained how experienced companys made critical mistakes within there Key Accounts.


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John Staples

Leads teams of highly qualified experts, all relentless in their pursuit of helping you make your number.

John is the global leader of SBI’s account management business unit. As such, he and his team help clients across 19 verticals drive top line growth and operational efficiency in sales and marketing.


John’s marketing, sales and product expertise span a multichannel strategic approach. He has an unyielding focus on strategic and key account development, which enables strategic alignment between all functional team members in order to reduce acquisition cost and increase lifetime value.


His broad experience in sales, marketing, product and engineering allows him to bring a unique problem solving approach to his team and clients. As he has discovered through decades of experience, clients are often distracted by the symptoms of a larger problem and overlook the root cause of it.


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