Top 15 Key Account Manager Skills and Qualities to Succeed in your Career
To build a successful key account manager career, you need to have certain skills and qualities; these will help you to be effective in performing your duties and responsibilities for your organization.
This post provides the important skills and qualities you should develop as a key account manager looking to get to the top of your career:
Who is a Key Account Manager?
A key account manager is one hired to manage key accounts, maintaining a long term relationship with the customers and maximizing sales for the business organization.
Top 15 Key Account Manager Skills and Qualities to Succeed in your Career
Here are the skills and qualities you need as a key account manager to excel in your career:
- Good communication
If you find yourself in the role of a key account manager, understand that communication is a must. You have to ensure that your communication skills are up to standard and satisfactory. This is due to the sensitivity surrounding your job.
Dealing with the customers of your organization is enough reason to know that communication is what you will need daily to be efficient in your job.
You do not need to be told that customers will always want to know what’s going on with your organization.
Also, when complaints are given through any communication channel, which may eventually get to your table, one thing is sure and that is customers are eager to know what the business organization has to say to them in regards to the complaints they have made. You will need to clear them on pressing issues.
2. Leadership skills
When you work as the key account manager of your organization, another key figure you will work with is the account manager.
Though this role (key account manager) is a bit more strategic and direct to the customers, you will still need to work with him/her (account manager) and others in the organization.
Then you have also some other people who by reason of position and job description will take instructions from you.
You will need to be a leader, a leading figure and a coach to them.
It is assumed that you have more experience in this field than those people.
So, they will be looking up to you for inspiration and direction almost on daily basis.
So, you will need to step up and make your leadership skills count. You should be a coach, a leading figure and someone with influence, with the ability to inspire your team to achieve more.
Everybody in the business world wants to have the best deal. This is no secret at all that the customers out there will like to have value for their money and all that.
It is now dependent on you to really give them reasons to believe what you say.
That is why your negotiation skills must be telling and impressive. If you are bad at negotiation, your organization will bear the brunt, as well as the customers.
This is because the customers wouldn’t get value for their patronage and the organization may lose more patronage.
So, be sure that the deals you offer customers are a true reflection of what the organization can offer and a through reflection of more satisfaction the customers want to enjoy.
Remember negotiation is the point you either gain or lose customers.
4. Value based selling
In addition to the point above, the most important thing for every customer may not be what your company is saying, rather they want to know whether what you are portraying or presenting is a true reflection of what they want to achieve in themselves.
In other words, there shouldn’t be room for any form of deception in the business world.
The truth is that if the quality of what you want to offer the customers is what they really want, then you will not struggle to retain the patronage of the customers.
But when your organization offers something less than what customers expect, then it becomes very difficult to retain the patronage of customers and this can hit your organization real hard in the long run in the form of reduction in revenue or profit.
5. Relationship building
Being the key account manager of your company will really put you in a situation where you will need to prioritize your relationship with the customers above anything else in the business world.
Customers desire to be recognized as a vital part of every business.
So, relationship building is a way to make that happen.
The more of stronger relationship you build with the customers, the closer the customers will be to the company.
But if you take the issue of relationship building lightly, especially when dealing with the customers, then your company may lose them.
Bring the customers closer to your company more than what your competitors can do and you are sure that you will continue to retain their patronage.
6. Problem solving skills
Retaining customers can also be possible through your problem solving skills.
This entails helping customers get over the difficulties they experience while patronizing your organization or using the products of your company.
It is normal for customers to have some challenge with your product; however, you should always be on hand to help them solve their problems.
This is the essence of having communication channels, which help in facilitating feedbacks from the customers.
To be effective in solving customers’ problems, it is important to have a deep knowledge of your company’s products and the common problems associated with their use.
7. Excellent organizational skills
Dealing with customers can be quite exhausting mentally and physically. But there is a way you can deal with this to an extent and that is through excellent organizational skills.
Excellent organizational skills help you put things in order even when there are many things to do.
As someone who is always there to deal with customer related issues, you should know that it is important for you to know what customers are likely going to do and how best to prepare for them. It will help you manage time while executing your job well.
As a key account manager, you are expected to organize both your activities and that of your team.
As a leader in your organization, you should be able to detect for your team what to do to make jobs easier; organization is one of the things you must learn how to do.
8. Interpersonal skills
Your relationship with other people in the organization is as important to the organization as your relationship with the customers.
Everything boils down to your ability to build up meaningful relationships with the people involved in your job.
In building this relationship, you are to understand that different people have different ideologies, which might be a bit or totally different from what you might fancy in your job.
However way you find the situation to be, find a common ground to work with people.
Though you might feel like a leading figure or one of the most important personalities in your job or organization, try not to ignore the fact that your success in this job is not entirely down to your individual brilliance or personal abilities. You will need other people to make meaningful inputs in your job.
9. Strategic planning
One of the main things you are meant to do in your job is to manage the accounts of the different customers of the organization.
That is to say that you are provided with the record of already existing customers and you are expected to work with those records.
One thing you should be able to do is to plan how you intend working with information available to you to give customers a good experience, and also help your organization manage the individual customers they have.
Another thing you should be doing is to help your company in the area of building strategies to help find more patronage to the company through making leads and showing possible ways to increase the number of customers the company has.
10. Representative skills
Surely, your role does not start and end inside the organization. It’s a role that is expansive and extensive as well.
It is a role that makes you a mediator between the customers and your company.
To this extent, knowing that you are a representative of your organization, you should be able to act as one.
This is not restricted to the title you bear as the key account manager of your company but also in your daily affair with the customers of your company.
This entails that you should relate with customers the way that your company can be portrayed in good light.
You are to render extra services to customers to retain their patronage.
11. Lead strategy
Looking at the level of competition in the business world, you will confirm the fact the virtually every customer out there has one or two companies they patronize.
This can be down to the quality of products rendered by the company or the quality of their customer care.
So, with these two factors in mind, you should be able to make some strategic plans to acquire new customers for your organization.
This may not be done by you directly, but you should be involved in any plan that helps create more leads to getting potential customers.
This can come through your personal research and recommendation.
Of course you know that your personal research will be key to making this happen.
You have to study the market and know the most recent customer behavior and tastes.
12. Customer service
The knowledge of how customers behave and what they want should form the bedrock of your customer service skills.
Customers are humans and as such see things from different perspectives, which is responsible for the difference in character and attitude.
So, you have to duly study how customers behave and be eager to help them at every given point.
Customers sometimes are not easy to please but not entire impossible to please.
This is because if you can get into their line of thought, you should be alright.
Be service oriented. Meaning that you should be eager to help customers get exactly what they want from your organization.
That is the service we are talking about. You should allow them enjoy the fullness of what your organization can offer.
13. Business acumen
Business acumen for you is like the operator’s manual you have when you purchase a new electronic gadget.
It is what guides you and gives you a lot of information into how to operate the gadget you have at your disposal. Without the manual you may get some operations wrong.
So is business acumen to a key account manager.
If you really want to make the most out of your job, you should be well skilled and grounded with both basic and advanced business knowledge of how the marketplace works at all times.
This knowledge is progressive and is not necessarily dependent on what you know in the past.
There is always the need for you to upgrade your business knowledge because some knowledge can be stale and may not be workable in the contemporary time.
14. Goal driven
The main goal of every key account manager is to provide more leads to getting more customers for their organization.
That is the goal the organization has set out for you. That should be what should determine what you do.
So, it means that as you are in the organization or any other place, what should motivate you to do more is for you to meet with the organizational goal.
Remember that this is what your employer demands from you, any other thing is secondary.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t pay attention to your own goals. You should carry the two goals along with you every day and make sure you strike a balance between the two.
If you can achieve the two types of goals, you will be alright.
Apart from the people you have in the organization, it is important for you to find other relevant stakeholders or experts in the same industry and work with them towards making the most out of your job.
People outside the organization definitely have a role to play in your job.
Their input can come through some research works or advice they give to you in regards to your job.
You should be able to work with the advice and also some other important or relevant information they make available to you.
This is sure to improve you.
Collaboration will be a key aspect of your success story if indeed you want to succeed in your job.
Having all round knowledge about business is not down to the information you get inside the organization alone but also from other sources.
Key Account Manager Skills for Resume
If you are writing a resume or CV for a key account manager’s position, you can apply some of the skills and qualities presented above (if you have them) in making the skills section of your resume/CV.
This will help greatly to convince the recruiter/employer that you have what it takes to be effective in the role of a key account manager in their organization.
This article has discussed some important skills and qualities you need to have to excel in your key account manager career.