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Get More Done: Practical Delegation Tips for Key Account Managers

Overwhelmed as a key account manager? Discover the power of delegation to manage your workload effectively.
KAM delegation tips

Another day, another overwhelmed key account manager. It’s Tuesday morning, and you’re already drowning. You have a calendar packed with back-to-back meetings. You are flooded with emails in your inbox. There don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get it all done.

Sound familiar?

As a key account manager, it’s your job to keep and grow your company’s most valuable clients.

But if you don’t know how to delegate well, your workload can become challenging to manage.

Instead, by assigning tasks, you can leverage your team’s skills and give you more time. It is more valuable to spend time cultivating relationships and developing high-level strategies.

The result?

Improved account performance and greater job satisfaction—for everyone, not you.

Are you ready to explore best practices to master delegation as a key account manager?

Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents

Understanding Delegation in Key Account Management

I’m sure you’re aware, but managing key accounts requires a lot of work:

  • Creating and executing customized account plans
  • Aligning with internal teams to meet client goals
  • Monitoring key metrics to gauge client satisfaction
  • Identifying opportunities for upselling and cross-selling
  • Building and maintaining relationships with client decision-makers

It’s a hefty workload.

And when you’re managing a lot of accounts, it can fast become overwhelming.

But here’s the good news: delegation is your friend.

It is a framework that helps you decide who does what, when, and how.

The goal?

To make sure you’re spending your time where it counts the most.

The Upsides of Delegating Tasks

So, why do you think you should delegate? Here are some compelling reasons:

  1. Core Focus: It lets you zero in on your skills and the high-impact activities only you can do.
  2. Manage That Workload: Delegation helps you keep your to-do list manageable. Don’t spread yourself too thin.
  3. Utilizing Talent: Your team has skills—use them! Delegation allows you to tap into the diverse talents within your team.
  4. Quick Decisions: With fewer tasks, you can make faster, more informed decisions.
  5. Happy Clients: Completing tasks efficiently and well, client satisfaction goes up. It’s that simple.
  6. Team Morale: Believe it or not, delegation can boost team spirit. When everyone has a role to play, engagement and morale improve.

Delegation isn’t a ‘nice-to-have‘; it’s a ‘must-have‘ for any key account manager looking to excel.

Face Your Fear of Delegating

If you like to be involved in every aspect of a project, here’s some advice: Not letting go of some work is holding you back.

Strategies for Effective Delegation

  1. Ditch Perfectionism: There’s often more than one way to do things. Trust your team to get it done their way. Focus on the goal and be open to alternative paths.
  2. Outcome Over Method: Don’t obsess over the “how.” Focus on the “what.” Empower your team to think creatively and make decisions.
  3. Start Small, Aim Big: If new to delegating, begin with simple, well-defined tasks. As your confidence grows, delegate more complex work.

How to Delegate as a Key Account Manager

If you’ve ever questioned how to delegate the right way, you’re about to find out:

5-Step Delegation Game Plan

  • Task Analysis & Team Selection: Break down tasks and match to team members with suitable skills—like casting roles in a movie.
  • Clear Communication: Be upfront about expected outcomes, deadlines, and priorities. Provide context on why the task matters.
  • Training, Monitoring & Feedback: Equip your team to succeed. Track progress and provide constructive feedback. Keep communication open.
  • Leverage Technology: Use project management platforms to organize tasks, manage deadlines, and enable communication.
  • Boundaries & Escalation Protocols: Outline your team’s decision authority and have an escalation plan for addressing unexpected events.

Extra Strategies

  • Prioritize and Revisit: Regularly review delegated tasks and adjust based on shifting priorities. Focus on what matters most.
  • Encourage Autonomy: Give your team freedom to take initiative within set boundaries. This builds ownership and problem-solving skills.
  • Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge and celebrate small victories to motivate your team.
  • Be Adaptable: Plans change. Be ready to adapt your delegation strategy to address new challenges and opportunities.

The Top 10 Tasks You Should Delegate as a Key Account Manager

Knowing what to delegate is half the battle in successful key account management. Here’s how to pinpoint the tasks that are ripe for delegation.

Strategies for Identifying Delegable Tasks

  • Know Your Priorities: Start by taking stock of your goals and responsibilities. Identify the tasks only you can do and those you can hand off. This ensures you’re focusing your energy where it’s most needed.
  • Low-Value but Necessary Tasks: Spot tasks that eat up time but don’t contribute to your key objectives. Think administrative work, data entry, or even scheduling meetings. Delegate these to free up time for strategic activities.
  • The Repeat Offenders: When reviewing your to-do list, identify recurring tasks such as weekly reports or tracking deliverables. These are prime candidates for delegation since they often have a set process in place.
  • Skill-Building Opportunities: Think about your team’s growth potential. Delegate tasks that can serve as learning experiences, helping your team members advance in their careers.

The Top 10 Delegable Tasks

Here are 10 everyday tasks you can delegate to maintain focus on your top priorities.

  1. Analysis and Reporting: Delegate number crunching and report creation to analytical team members.
  2. Writing and Design: Assign presentation and proposal drafting to skilled communicators. They can write initial versions or format final documents.
  3. Action Item Follow Up: Give this task to a detail-oriented team member to ensure deadlines are met.
  4. Administrative Work: Let assistants handle contacts, expenses, and travel arrangements.
  5. Routine Client Communication: You own high-level conversations. Deputize check-ins to team members familiar with the account.
  6. Event Coordination: Consider having an event planner or relevant team member handle logistics.
  7. Issue Investigation: You talk to the client, but leverage others to research issues and provide details needed for your reply.
  8. Contract Review: Make the final call, but have a lawyer or team member review first.
  9. Quality Assurance: Ensure a team member reviews deliverables before sending to the client.
  10. Team Updates: Attend key meetings, but have a deputy brief you on routine ones.

By giving these jobs to other people, you’re not being lazy. You’re choosing where to best spend your time and energy. Not only will this help you deal with your work better, but it will also help you lead better.

Navigating Team Capabilities for Effective Delegation

Knowing who to delegate to is as important as knowing what to delegate.

Understand the capabilities of your whole team, even those in other departments. This allows you to delegate tasks more effectively. Here’s how to assess skills:

Assessing Strengths and Weaknesses Within Your Department

You can start by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your team members. You can do this through observation, colleague feedback, and performance reviews. Here’s an example:

  • Alice:
    • Strengths: Negotiation, Relationship Building
    • Weaknesses: Technical Knowledge, Data Analysis
  • Bob:
    • Strengths: Technical Skills, Problem-Solving
    • Weaknesses: Communication, Time Management

Once this is down, you can match tasks to the right people. For instance, could you delegate relationship-building tasks to Alice and technical tasks to Bob?

Delegating Across Departments

Sometimes, the task at hand requires expertise from another department. Knowing who to contact and how to communicate needs is crucial for smooth cross-departmental delegation.

Communication and Support

Be crystal clear about your expectations and provide the necessary support. Create an environment where team members feel comfortable asking questions or seeking help. This is key, whether you’re delegating within your department or to another.

Periodic Reassessment

People change; they learn and grow. Make it a habit to reassess your team’s capabilities. That way, you’re always in tune with their skills and can adjust your delegation strategy.

Leading Through Influence, Not Authority

One final point to consider.

Key account managers must lead by influence, not authority. This is especially true when coordinating across departments. You can’t order other teams around.

Here are tips for influencing effectively:

  • Build Relationships: Foster cooperation through strong relationships across your organization.
  • Show Empathy: Understand challenges faced by other teams. Frame requests accordingly.
  • Be Clear and Persuasive: Explain advantages and answer “What’s in it for me?”
  • Reciprocity: Offer help in return to build mutual support and collaboration..

Monitoring Delegated Tasks

Simply delegating work isn’t enough. You need to follow up and ensure tasks stay on track.

For example, you ask Tom to run weekly performance reports. You schedule biweekly check-ins where Tom suggests a new reporting tool to streamline the work. After discussing pros and cons, you agree to implement it.

That’s respectful task tracking. Here are more tips:

  • Set Clear Expectations: Be crystal clear on expected outcomes, deadlines, and milestones upfront. Check-ins provide alignment.
  • Enable Open Communication: Encourage updates and voice concerns. This provides visibility and surfaces issues early.
  • Use Tracking Tools: Leverage project management tools like ClickUp to easily monitor progress.
  • Give Timely Feedback and Support: Be proactive in answering questions and offering guidance. This grows skills and motivates.

Go beyond just tracking tasks. Foster a culture of accountability and excellence.

Refining Your Delegation Skills

Delegation isn’t a “set it and forget it” skill; it’s an evolving art form. Make continuous improvement a part of your strategy.

  • Encourage Feedback: Seek regular input from your team on their experience with delegated tasks. This builds trust and provides valuable insights.
  • Conduct Regular Check-Ins: Make check-ins on progress a habit. Discuss challenges and adjust your delegation approach in real-time.
  • Self-Evaluation: Ask yourself these questions to pinpoint areas where you can up your delegation game.
    • Was my guidance clear and to the point?
    • Did the team have all the resources they needed?
    • Did I provide enough support and motivation?
  • Learn from Setbacks: Analyze what went wrong when you miss a deadline or a task goes awry. Avoid similar pitfalls going forward.

I once handed off a weekly report task to our account support person, assuming it was a no-brainer. To my surprise, I heard through the grapevine that they were asking others how to do it. They didn’t want to ‘bother me,’ they said. That wake-up call led me to establish regular check-ins to build trust and work through problems.

Delegation Pitfalls: A Survival Guide for KAMs

When delegating, expect some roadblocks. Being aware of potential pitfalls can help you address them proactively.

  • Lack of Trust: If you struggle relinquishing control, start with low-risk tasks. This gradual approach builds confidence in delegation.
  • Unclear Expectations: Failing to outline expected outcomes can lead to delays or failures. Be clear on requirements to set your team up for success.
  • Skill-Task Mismatch: Assigning tasks without considering skills wastes capabilities and frustrates staff. Match tasks to maximize productivity and development.
  • Micromanaging: Structured follow-up is useful, but excessive check-ins undermine morale and autonomy. Find the right balance.
  • Resistance: Fear of failure can create reluctance to take on more. Build a supportive environment that empowers staff to embrace challenges.
  • Time Constraints: Proper delegation takes time initially but saves time long-term. Make time to delegate well.
  • Inconsistent Quality: Varying skill levels can impact quality. Implement checks and feedback to maintain standards.
  • Over-Delegation: Avoid overloading your team with too many tasks. This can make you appear lazy or incompetent. Strike a balance to prevent burnout.
  • Lack of Accountability: With shared tasks, accountability can become unclear. Define individual responsibilities.

Need More Help Delegating Tasks?

Want to dive deeper into mastering strategic delegation as a key account manager? Check out these additional resources to learn more about effectively handing off tasks, empowering your team, and creating capacity to focus on your highest-impact priorities:

Books

Podcasts

  • How to Delegate Work Effectively. This episode of the Coaching for Leaders podcast explores a delegation framework and seven step action plan to help you get the best results from your team.

Videos

  • The Art of Delegation. Darren Hardy explains how to master the art of delegation to increase productivity, empower their team, reduce stress, and create more time for higher priorities and strategic thinking. He provides practical tips for assigning tasks effectively and holding people accountable to get results.

Conclusion: The Game-Changing Power of Delegation

Delegation is a game-changer for key account managers. More than a skill, it’s the secret ingredient to:

  • Unlock your team’s full potential through optimized workloads and empowerment. Delegation allows you to leverage your collective capabilities.
  • Strengthen client relationships by providing more focused, personalized attention to high-value accounts. Delegation gives you time to dedicate to strategic relationship building.
  • Maximize your impact in the KAM role by concentrating your efforts on high-level account management and strategy. Delegation enables you to focus on your core strengths.
  • Drive improved account performance and satisfaction through increased efficiency. Delegation helps ensure tasks are completed successfully by the most qualified team members.
  • Boost team engagement and morale by demonstrating trust and enabling development. Delegation empowers your team with new responsibilities and growth.

Quick-Start Guide: Small Steps to Begin Delegating

If you’re new to delegating, start small with these actions:

  1. Identify One Task: Pick a simple task to delegate this week, like data entry or scheduling.
  2. Choose a Team Member: Select someone with suitable skills and explain expectations. Invite their input to confirm comfort level.
  3. Check-In: Follow up in a few days to offer guidance and make any needed adjustments.

For example, if you’re swamped prepping for a client meeting, delegate gathering data to Sarah, who enjoys number crunching. Discuss the best approach together.

By taking small steps, you can become more comfortable delegating and reap the benefits.

Stop going it alone.

Embrace delegation to elevate your team, delight your clients, and thrive as a key account manager. The game-changing results are waiting to be unleashed through effective delegation.

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