Key Account Management IndicationsThey then stated “we don’t care about the price; it’s all about quality and reliable delivery”. They quickly caught themselves and said “well, we care about price but I can’t run out of your product”. If anyone has a better client indicator for Key Account Management, please share, because in my book it doesn’t get better than that.


Customers are not normally going to raise a red flag like the example above. However, there are signs that the “need” is there as well as criteria to be considered that assist with segmentation and selection of potential Key Accounts. Not every client wants to opt into a Key Account program; it’s a partnership that requires responsibilities for both parties. Treat the key account opportunities as a completely separate segment in your business. If you view the opportunity through this type of lens; it gives it the perspective it deserves.


Customer indications you need a Key Account Program:


  1. We’re developing our product road map; “can you provide some technical feedback?”
    1. Includes product alignment requests
    2. Request for short and long term planning
  2. Client or prospect has high growth potential but minimal account penetration (wallet share)
  3. Little differentiation & few competitors for the product: they may go with 2 vendors but one always has the lion share. Is it you?
    1. Large client consolidating vendors; don’t be the odd man out!
  4. Provides a disproportional amount of your revenue / potential
    1. 5% of customer base and between 30-50%+ of the sales
  5. Centralized purchasing
  6. Consumes 70-100% of your product / solution set
  7. Buys on competitive price but values the quality, service, and support
  8. Your product / solution  is essential to their success
  9.  You have similar company cultures


Key Take Away: Go talk to your clients that fit into the criteria above that should be in a Key Account Program. Start with: ‘we’re looking at putting more resources on your account, how would that help you?” If you aren’t having the conversation with these accounts, your competition is. In my next post I’ll be discussing one-to-one marketing within your Key Accounts.




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.


Read full bio >