Building relationships is at the core of the key account manager job, it is important to consider very carefully how many of this kind of relationship can be sustained, and which customers will be targeted. All of the selected customers in the portfolio are key accounts, defined by the supplier’s categorization criteria, but they should be recognized as being different in nature and hence different in their treatment.
Here are some self-diagnostic questions that can help you to measure your knowledge about your customer:
Do you have an up-to-date copy of your customer’s organization chart?
Do you understand the relevance and importance of each person or their position?
Do you know how each customer feels and think about your company?
Have you looked at the overall picture and identified relationship gaps that need to be addressed?
Are your stronger relationships with people who are really decision makers?
Do you have any poor or weak relationships with people who are important?
Are your relationships balanced across relevant areas of the company, or are there gaps in certain functions?
Do you cover all levels in the customer? Or are you over-concentrated in one level?
Are you missing to get a relationship with certain levels like the C-Level, or the user level?
Do you understand your customer’s buying strategies as well as their business strategies?
Before you start to develop a relationship, you should first decide what stage of the relationship you want to reach and believe it is achievable with the customer. That choice will govern how you approach the relationship, and how much effort invests in it. The relationship level targeted should be included in your strategic account plan and formally approved.