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Cultivating Key Account Management Best Practices


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Key account sales people in China love to emphasize about the importance of Guanxi or relationships when it comes to managing their key accounts. But is maintaining good relationship the only criteria of gaging good key accounts practice? And assuming it's not the only criteria, but still an important criteria, at what levels should these relationships be built.

Let's take a look at what are the aspects that HR Chally recommends as optimal key account behaviour:

- Learn how to meet and interact with your customers’ top decision makers.

- Never take your competitors for granted: they'll usually surprise you.

- Set realistic goals, and be prepared for the stress of last-minute problems or changes that will come with no warning.

- Get to work before everybody else does.

- Know your customers’ needs and concerns intimately.

- Help customers even in areas unrelated to your product or service.

- Only bend the rules when it's necessary to service the customer.

- Remember that competitors may sometimes offer better service.

- Make sure your customers know when a problem has been solved and that they know you know.

(Adapted from “The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts" by Sherman et al, McGraw-Hill, 2003)

As seen from the above, the purpose of building good relationships, is to facilitate the above key areas so as to grow the account. This is of particular importance when you need to interact with top decision makers effectively (not just the implementers), so as to know their needs and concerns intimately.

Hence, if you want to make sure that your key accounts sales people have what it takes to manage those accounts well, you may need to train them how to do so.

However, as both you and I know, training is useless unless the new skills and behaviours are reinforced further.

c. j. is an Affiliate with HR Chally Group in China. Founded in 1973 through a grant from the U. S. Justice Department, the HR Chally Group provides predictive and compliant assessment system for management, sales, technical, customer care, and administrative talents. Unlike other assessment tools that just conducts personality profiles, Chally profiles what is exactly required by specific job descriptions and responsibilities and predict if these talents can succeed in these roles. The resulting effect is you'll get:

* Up to 40% reduction in turnover
* Up to 30% increase in employee productivity
* 85% accuracy in identifying effective performers

In the meantime, if you further assistance in boosting your Key Accounts team's performance, whether in the areas of training, coaching or assessing your current and future Key Accounts staff, e-mail to get a complimentary check list to monitor and audit your key account managers and executives.


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