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Good Key Account Management Starts With Leadership

Leadership makes good key account management. Stop being a follower and learn how to become an account leader. Learn how to inspire your clients.

What makes a good key account manager?

What makes you a good Key Account Manager?

In fact, what would make you the absolute best Key Account Manager around? What sets you apart from everyone else?

Have you ever thought about it?

First, let me tell you what doesn’t.

It’s not because you’re on top of your emails and you respond to voicemails.  It’s not because you’re Mrs Fixit and sort out the problems no-one else wants to touch.

And it’s not because your colleagues and clients like you.  Sure those are admirable qualities, but let’s face it, you, me and millions of other Key Account Managers can all claim the same thing.

What will make you stand out from the crowd is leadership.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s in your title.  It doesn’t matter that you have no-one reporting to you.  It’s all about mindset.  I spent a lot of years ticking boxes.  I thought it was leadership but when I look back it turns out it was just being good at my job.

Not the same thing.

I encourage you to kick it up a notch and think about how you can transform yourself from Key Account Manager to a Key Account Leader. 

Leadership is the ability to inspire others to perform and engage in achieving a goal.

Create a vision

Inspire your clients with an imaginative and creative plan for the future that maximises the benefits of their partnership with you. Be intentional and clear about your actions and communicate them with passion.

Leadership is establishing a clear vision, sharing that vision with your clients and provide the information and know-how to turn it into reality. 

Take risks

You can’t make an omelette without cracking a few eggs, right? Don’t be afraid to take risks in order to achieve your goals. Don’t fear failure or play it safe. Look at issues and problems as opportunities, not frustrations.

What can you do differently today that challenges the traditional way your clients are managed or supported?

Learn new skills

Tom Corley in his book Change Your Habits, Change Your Life: Strategies that Transformed 177 Average People into Self-Made Millionaires, surveyed wealthy entrepreneurs and discovered 88 percent devoted 30 minutes or more to education or self-improvement each day through reading.

Spend 15 to 30 minutes each day on focused thinking – reflecting on your career and make time to process what’s going on in your life.

Be that person, learn new skills and invest in your personal and professional development.

Embrace change

Challenge your clients and support and encourage them to make brave decisions. Inspire your clients and your colleagues to think differently and to strive for transformation.

Strategy should disrupt, so look for better ways forward.

And balance conflicting interests, step up when there’s a crisis and think on your feet in difficult situations.

Be yourself

As Oscar Wilde famously said, “be yourself, everyone else is already taken”.

Embrace your personal brand and actively differentiate yourself.

Be authentic and lead by example. Your style is your own so strive to be the best versions of yourself you can. Know your strengths and confront your weaknesses.

20 quick tips to be a good key account manager

  1. Be a team player.
  2. Have relationship building skills.
  3. Be enthusiastic and passionate.
  4. Be goal orientated and driven by accomplishment.
  5. Be open and honest.
  6. Think creatively.
  7. Be fair.
  8. Be well organised and know when to delegate. 
  9. Know how to resolve conflict and be empathetic to others.
  10. Take risks.
  11. Work well under pressure.
  12. Be alert to new opportunities.
  13. Be a good communicator.
  14. Have a strong work ethic and be tenacious.
  15. Inspire others and lead by example.
  16. Be competent.
  17. Know what questions to ask and how to find the answers.
  18. Be decisive and make good decisions.
  19. Share the spotlight.  Give credit where it’s due.
  20. Be accountable.
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