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Unlocking Success in Key Account Management: Insights from Laura Cuello

What does it take to excel in key account management? Discover Laura Cuello's unique approach to client relationships and team success.
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Ever wondered what it’s like to be in charge of keeping customers happy and making sure they stick around? That’s what Laura Cuello, Head of Customer Success Search & Staffing at LinkedIn,  does—and she’s pretty awesome at it. In this interview we discuss the world of key account management, key account management, where every step and turn can lead to new opportunities or challenges, understanding the nuances is crucial for success.

The unconventional path to account management

Laura didn’t just stumble into her job by accident; she knew she wanted to work with people and help manage relationships right from the start. With a background in human resources and business administration, she worked in banking, hospitality, and then found her groove managing client accounts in startups and tech companies.

Laura says, “It wasn’t necessarily by accident, but it was also perhaps enhanced by the fact that I enjoyed what I was doing.”

The joy of constant learning

What Laura loves most about her job is that every day is different. She never gets bored because each client brings new challenges and opportunities to learn. This constant change keeps her job exciting and ensures she’s always growing.

“It’s never boring. There is never one day that is the same as the next,” Laura explains.

It's important to try to organize yourself internally so that you don’t get consumed by the urgency and the urgent doesn’t take the space of the important.

The importance of celebrating team success

But what makes her job truly rewarding? Seeing her team members grow and succeed. Whenever someone on her team takes a big career step, it’s bittersweet for Laura. She’s sad to see them go but proud to have contributed to their growth.

“And in terms of personal highlights…every time one of my account managers has gone through a career leap or they have been promoted or they’ve moved to another team, it’s a little bit sad, but it’s also career highlights,” says Laura.

The importance of process

Laura believes in setting up processes and guidelines to keep things running smoothly. This way, she can ensure all her clients get a great experience, not just the ones who shout the loudest. She’s all about organizing her work so that she can focus on what’s truly important.

“You know me well, so you know, I’m a process person,” Laura admits.

The challenge of account management is how to make sure that you provide that great experience to all of your clients and not just concentrate on the 20 percent that make the most noise.

Key account management is a company-wide initiative

She also stresses the importance of involving the whole company in account management. It’s not something she can do alone. Getting support from sales, marketing, and leadership makes her job easier and more successful.

“In terms of your original question, what do you do? Well, you try to set up those milestones in terms of what you want to achieve for your program,” Laura suggests.

Setting milestones with mind mapping

But how does Laura handle it when things get tough, and she’s overwhelmed? She starts by setting small goals, or milestones, to keep moving forward. She also uses mind mapping, a way to visualize her goals and the steps needed to achieve them, both at work and in her personal life.

“One of the things that I use a lot, is mind mapping,” Laura shares.

The power of saying "No"

An important part of Laura’s job is learning to say “no.” She explains that always saying “yes” to clients can prevent them from truly solving their problems. By being selective and strategic, Laura ensures she’s adding real value to her clients’ businesses.

“If you’re just aiming for the client to like you, they’re probably just going to take you for granted,” Laura warns.

If you’re just aiming for the client to like you, they’re probably just going to take you for granted.

The evolution of key account management

Laura also talks about the evolution of account management. It’s no longer just about being friendly and keeping clients happy with small gestures. Today, it’s a strategic role focused on growth and partnership.

“The new world of account management is very much that we are go getters,” Laura states.

Doing what only YOU can do

Finally, Laura offers some advice for anyone looking to grow in their career: focus on what only you can do. This simple motto helps her avoid feeling overwhelmed and ensures she’s always contributing her best.

“Only do what only you can do, because you are unique,” Laura advises.

In our chat, Laura shared lots of great tips and stories about her journey in key account management. From the importance of enjoying your work to the need for setting clear goals and boundaries, her insights can help anyone looking to succeed in a similar role.

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