Key account managers need to be more than competent sales professionals. Competition is more aggressive, customers are more rigorous in their buying decisions, and many industries are either growing very slowly or not at all. How can you rise to the occasion in such a challenging marketplace? Get versatile: Expand your skills to include those typically found among general managers.
- Manage your mind – Be aware of your knee-jerk responses to obstacles. Do you procrastinate on conversations you don’t think will go well? Do you overreact to the little things? Manage yourself by identifying your own negative thought patterns and behaviours, and rising above them in the moment.
- Think strategically – To stand out and bring unique value to your customers, you need to make strategic choices on what to do – and what not to do. Rising above the pack also requires a keen, objective view of your company’s unique points of difference. What’s your competitive advantage?
- Lead to inspire others – Even though many account managers aren’t tasked with leading people, the best harness internal resources by leading and influencing without authority. Go above and beyond. If you model exemplary behaviour, team members – and even non-team members – will follow you.
- Capitalize on business acumen – Of course, you need to be clear on how your business makes money and how your customer’s business makes money. But that’s not enough. You also need to put this knowledge to good use by making decisions that are financially wise for both you and your customer.
- Communicate with influence – We live in a world full of distractions that vie for our attention. Articulating ideas and recommendations concisely, credibly, and confidently, to connect with both hearts and minds, will help you break through the clutter and influence the actions of others.
How can we sum this up? Think and act like a general manager. You’ll be the point of difference in an increasingly complex marketplace.