We work with many companies across many sectors – food, pharma, industrials, domestic electronics, financial services and others – and assist them with such disciplines as Strategic Account Planning. The biggest problem we face with even the ‘top’ companies is a lack of really detailed customer understanding which leads to shallow and non-attuned customer strategies and plans.
So – what should a fully attuned Key Account Manager (KAM) know about his customer? The answer is almost everything – their current strategy(ies), plans, objectives, business issues, stakeholders in decision making, end to end decision making process, opportunities to influence etc.
We challenge our KAM delegates to have a good feel for what their customer would be discussing around their boardroom table – TODAY.
The problem is that we rarely see excellence – too few KAMs have set up google alerts for their top customers or routinely study the financial press…they do not know what the chairman or chief executive said yesterday but rather rely on a few broad open questions in their customer discussions – asking ‘How’s business’ will hardly provide you with quality customer insights!
This lack of insight all too often leads to customer plans being developed which are ‘at best’ aligned with or take account of the customers historical rather than future strategies and plans, at worst we see customer plans which have no overt reference to or alignment with customer priorities/thinking…and hence the plans receive only a lukewarm reception from the customer.
The Customer Attuned solution is to implement a high hurdle/expectation for customer knowledge/insight and to redesign customer planning documentation to force customer insight to the forefront – a critical KAM competency in today’s B2B environment is the maintenance of great (and wholly up to date) customer information/insight and the ability to develop truly ‘Attuned’ customer plans’.
For more information on this topic please contact us
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- Equitability in B2B Relationships - February 28, 2015