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Discover the top 6 dysfunctions of account management that can be eliminated with a concerted effort to deliver the desired value. For more information, download our free eBook, “6 Dysfunctions of Account Management.”
Key Account management is the practice of providing customers with service, support and improvement opportunities to increase their consumption of a product or service and maximize retention, cross-sell and upsell opportunities within the customer base.
With the rapid evolution of SaaS platforms, the existing benchmarks of success are being replaced with new ones that better reflect the intrinsic value of functions and businesses in the eyes of stakeholders and investors.
Some of these transformations are:
These shifts are radically altering how the key account management function is structured and more importantly, how it is supposed to operate.
The biggest change that key account management has had to factor is the convergence of 3 key factors:
The key account management process can be best summarized in these six simple steps:
However, this is easier said than done. Most key account management plans do not yield the desired results, not because of black-swan events but because of a simple set of failings that could be eliminated through concerted focus and keeping the customer at the center of the process.
The most common dysfunctions that have been observed to ail account management are elaborated in the subsequent sections.
A rigid approach to account planning
The silver bullet syndrome encapsulates an approach where an account plan once defined, is deployed across the board for all types of customers. But is this approach useful?
In most cases, this doesn’t yield the desired results despite generating a ton of activity. A good account plan needs to:
Planning in isolation without key data points
Account plans, however, need to stay current and relevant given the changes in the operating environment and parameters.
This, unfortunately, rarely happens because:
This results in great initial ideas that are not sufficiently validated by empirical data and do not get updated given a change in account status. Worse, they often paint a misleading picture of how an account needs to be nurtured.
A lack of stakeholder transparency
Effective Key account management needs active participation from all functions – Customer Success, Account Management, Engineering, Product, Finance etc.
Account plans, by extension, need actions to be carried out by stakeholders from all relevant functions.
This calls for:
An emphasis on activities vs. outcomes
To build scale, appropriate processes are deployed. However, an over reliance on mere compliance with the processes brings about a mindset of completing “tasks” without evaluating their efficacy.
Activity and task tracking is a good first step but does not always lead to the right behaviour.
There is a need to:
Tying activities and outcomes at the hip allows the conversation to move from “Are we executing the plan?” (The answer to which is invariably always a “Yes”) to “Is what we are doing working?”
Lack of rigor & focus on plan reviews
As the adage states, “The path to hell is paved with the best intentions”.
Similarly, it’s not enough to define a great plan full of bright ideas.
It is equally important to:
In the absence of sufficiently objective evaluation, there is every chance that the focus of the exercise (and thereby its effectiveness) may be diluted resulting in sub-standard results.
Inability to build deep customer relationships
A deep customer relationship can be said to have been built when the customer looks at your organization as a partner that will help them deliver on their business goals.
The ability to build deep connects mandates that account plans go beyond focussing on the transactional connects and instead on the following:
Once the success of key stakeholders is established, it becomes imperative that the stakeholder interactions be managed in a way that appropriately showcase the outcomes.
With that, we come to end of this eBook which was meant to provide a quick preview to all the insights we have on the topic. Hope you enjoyed browsing this as much as we enjoyed putting it together.34
Reach out to email@example.com to learn more.
Ritesh has over 20 years of experience collaborating with customers and adding value to their organizations. In his prior role as head of healthcare practice for a high growth US healthcare tech organization, he built a centralized knowledge house to drive customer-centric delivery.
Published February 22, 2023, Updated August 03, 2023
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