Research methodology:

  1. Identify KAM implementations whereby success/failure of 3 objectives can be SMART
  2. Break down objectives into 4 levels
    • Inputs (key actions steps)
    • Outputs (deliverables)
    • Purpose (program impact)
    • Goals (strategic intent)
  3. Data collection – interviews, rep-ride alongs, data reviews, surveys, documentation reviews, win/loss analysis, observation
  4. Use of Contrast method – success vs. failure

Case Study # 1: Firmographics

  • Industry: Software
  • Revenue: $340M
  • Size: 960 employees
  • GTM: Multi-Channel
  • Age of Key account program: 27 months


Goal / Results:

  • Reduce churn by 50%
    • Result: Key customer churn reduced from 9% to 4.3%
    • Grow key account client revenues
      • Result: Average account revenue up 6.1%
      • Increase penetration of software modules in use
        • Result: Average number of modules in use went from 1.4 to 2.3
        • Increase new module revenues
          • Result: Revenue generated from new module introduction within key accounts increased 13%


Inputs: Key actions taken

  1. Committed 19 Key Account Managers to program
  2. Key account manager to key account support ratio 1:5
    1. 1 Solution Architect
    2. 2 Solution Engineers
    3. 2 Customer Service Reps
    4. Defined Key Account Selection Criteria
    5. Focused Account Plans


Outputs: Key Account Structure

  • Customer
  • Key Account Manager
  • Solution Architect, Solution Engineers, Customer Service Reps


Outputs: Account Attractiveness Score


Key Account Attractiveness Score


Outputs: Total Account Value


Key Account Value


Outputs also included: Quarterly Account Progress tracking, McKay 49 and strategic action tracking tools.


Purpose: Project Impact

  • Specific: Reduce churn, increase revenue per key account, improve cross sell ratio, up-sell new product offerings
  • Measurable: Churn reduced by 4.7%, revenue per account up by 6.1%, cross sell ratio up to 2.3 vs. 1.4, up-sell up 13%
  • Attainable: Deliverables/tools were simple enough that KAM’s adoption was not an issue
  • Realistic: Objectives of modest reduction in churn, revenue per account, number of products in use, and rate of consumption for new  products were set below industry benchmarks
  • Timely: Project duration is 27 months and counting; victories along the way; demonstrated organization patience


Key Account Management Goals:

  1. Improve company revenue performance: yes
  2. Key customer receives differentiated attention: yes
  3. Account managers obtain success with less heavy lifting: yes


*Update* Case Study Part 2 posted here:

Unsuccessful Key Account Management Program


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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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