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How can you improve your key account management?

Key accounts are those that are the most valuable to the business. These are the clients whose loss would make a significant impact, whether that’s purely financial or reputational too. Given their importance to any enterprise, it makes sense to invest time and resources in key account management that nurtures these critical contacts. But how do you make sure that key account management is generating more sales and entrenching longer-lasting relationships, as opposed to increasing cost and lowering margins?

Key account management – the when and how

When you adopt key account management – if you haven’t already – depends on your particular business. You may choose to wait until you have a dedicated key account team or until it’s obvious that your competitors are reaping the rewards of this kind of investment. For key account management to be really beneficial, a relatively long sales cycle is required and this type of programme often works best where there is upselling and cross-selling potential.

It’s important to make the distinction between key account management and selling – sales is often a very short-term perspective whereas key account management is all about prioritising the future. Identifying key accounts isn’t just about revenue. Other criteria may also be important, such as cultural fit, solvency, the possibility of becoming a channel partner and product fit.

Improving key account management

Make sure your team has the right skills

Effective key account management is all about the people who you assign to do it. They should have an in-depth understanding of the client company, from strategy to market position, and able to provide custom services, offers and products, as well as handling both short and long term planning. The right training can make all the difference when it comes to generating real ROI on key account management investment.

Delegate different responsibilities

Separate your key account management team from your sales team. As already noted, the two are not the same thing.

Create a customised key account management plan

The purpose of the plan is to help you identify where the opportunities lie when it comes to growth, what the potential obstacles are to that growth, as well as where competitors present a threat. Key information for the plan includes account targets and strategy, as well as information about the customer, such as business plan and financial health.

Be selective in terms of the accounts that you focus on

Define your key accounts using a set of established selection criteria and regularly review whether these are providing the right foundation. You’ll also need to review the accounts you define as key accounts fairly frequently, as relationships can change over time.

Have an infrastructure

A CRM is essential to ensure that you can keep track of interactions with key accounts and make sure every opportunity for growth is taken.

Track and measure

What you’re looking for is a constant upward trend in terms of the account’s engagement and loyalty. Part of the process will be regularly checking in with the client to get their feedback about their experience with you.

A sound key account management process is essential for any business – our Developing Major Accounts course can help any of your salespeople currently trying to develop skills in this area to deliver more to the business overall.

In-House Training with PTP

PTP stands for Practical Training for Professionals and our aim is to make our training as practical as possible so delegates can return to the workplace with skills they can implement immediately. PTP now delivers training to over 40% of the FTSE 100.

What you get for your money

What is 1-to-1 training?

1-to-1 training can be based on any of the 100 plus courses that PTP provides, it includes an initial telephone conference of up to 1 hour, a 1/2 day (3.5 hours) on-site one to one training session at your premises with one of PTP's expert trainers and then a further telephone conference call of up to an hour within 2 weeks of the on-site visit.

You have the option of a line manager being involved in both telephone conferences, the second telephone conference which can be for feedback and action planning is generally scheduled during the on-site visit.

Who does 1-to-1 training suit?

Individuals taking on a new challenge or responsibilities. Professionals who want a trusted "sounding board" and thinking partner. Executives or managers who want to enhance their leadership effectiveness to achieve organizational and career success. Executives and professionals wanting to compete successfully but still retain balance in their life. Individuals who want to understand their blind spots so that they don't stand in their own way on their path to success. Executives and Professionals who want to improve their interpersonal skills so as to be more effective with bosses, peers, subordinates, or people in general. How much does 1-to-1 training cost?

A 1-to-1 training session costs from as little as £400 + VAT and will include an initial telephone conference of up to 1 hour, a 1/2 day (3.5 hours) on-site training at your premises and then a further telephone conference call of up to an hour within 2 weeks of the on-site visit.

What is U-Choose?

Choose from any of the 150 plus courses that PTP provides, and choose from 1 of our 50 plus UK wide training venues. You must book for 2 or more delegates and at least 4 weeks in advance, but that’s it, the course you want where you want it. The reason we ask for a minimum of 4 weeks notice is to enable us to market the course you have scheduled to other companies and organisations. However, if we fail to sell any additional places we guarantee to run the course just for you.

How much does U-Choose Training cost?

U-choose costs the same as our normal open courses i.e. the normal delegate rate. This includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day, framed certification and comprehensive training notes. A U-Choose booking can only be confirmed once we receive payment which can be made via credit/debit card, BACS or cheque. Payment is due at least 4 weeks before the date you request. Please note to be eligible for U-Choose you must book a minimum of 2 delegates on the same course & date.