Some questions to think about when considering a key account relationship:


  • Why are you better than the competitors?
  • What are you planning to do for the key account?
  • How does the key account realize the value you’re providing?


Download the Key Account Compatibility Assessment Here and determine where you fall compared to your competitors.


The compatibility assessment starts with the top 10 criteria your key accounts value most from a supplier or strategic relationship. These are not the same for everyone. The best way to answer this question is to sit down with the potential or current key accounts and ask. I’ve included 10 criteria examples in the model. You’ll need to replace the criteria with what is most important to your key accounts.


If you’re customers are reluctant to sit down and be interviewed to determine the evaluation criteria, consider either of the following:


  1. A win/loss analysis conducted by a 3rd party or
  2. An anonymous survey or a 3rd party 1-1 survey


Clients are typically more willing to share the criteria with someone they perceive is not there to sell them something.


key account alignmentKey Takeaway: The result of the assessment is a better understanding of where your strengths and weaknesses are relative to your competitors. The ability to leverage your key account strengths and offset any weaknesses will support better alignment with your key accounts.


Improved alignment with your key accounts supports increased program opt-in results, increased cross sell / up-sell opportunities and a better understanding on how to defend those current key accounts from the competitors.





If you’re new to the VP of Sales position consider downloading the free eBook “VP of Sales: The Year One Toolkit” to get started. Begin with Chapter 1 and the “3 ways to assess the Sales Strategy’s Effectiveness”.  This will help you build the foundation for a successful Key Account Management program.


Follow @JohnStaplesSBI


Follow @MakingTheNumber




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 >