key account management growth

How do you measure the value provided and received from your Key Accounts?


How do your Key Accounts measure your performance?


What would be the impact of losing just one of your Key Accounts? What if you lost several?


I recently came across a great interview with Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca Cola and one of the major points that came through for me was the arrogance that can be developed when dealing with our Key Accounts. Muhtar pointed out how Coke had developed a huge ego and they lost focus on customers and partners.


Every Sales organization starts off hungry for the opportunity, willing to do whatever it takes to win a Key Account. Over time we lose focus on the Key Account, become complacent and allow the competition to open the door. We then find ourselves battling to maintain the Key Account.


Think about what you’re company is doing right now to take a Key Account away from a competitor. Think about the level of effort your spending to win just a small deal in the account. Guess what; your competitors are doing the same thing to you right now.


Your competitors are constantly trying to work their way into your key accounts. Trying to explain why your client should switch providers or in many cases where the business is split, take all or a greater share of the business.


Andrew Sobel recently posted a blog titled: Relationship Breakthroughs: Get Clear Feedback. He explained how IBM experienced a similar problem with a key Account. They were neglecting a Key Account and fortunately for them they were able to save the relationship.


You have 3 goals with your Key Account Management:


  1. Maintain your competitive advantage – don’t let the competition open the door
  2. Continue to provide the level of service that creates long term customer loyalty
  3. Grow the Key Account profitability


Call to Action:


  • Arrange meetings with all your Key Accounts to determine how they would evaluate the relationship, continue the meetings quarterly
  • Develop a joint score card that each company agrees to review every month by the sales team and every quarter with the executive team
  • Remember how hard you worked to get the Key Account, don’t slack off
  • Calculate the impact of losing the Key Account, don’t let the door open to your competition
  • Determine whether you have enough resources supporting the Key Accounts


In many cases, Key Account Management loses the customer when they felt the relationship was rated an “A”. Don’t let this happen to your Key Accounts. Please share your stories with us in the comments area below if you have ever experienced anything similar.


To learn more about what new environments are emerging in Key Account Management, consider participating in our research tour: Designing Your Sales Strategy for 2012




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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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