The Business Case for Key Account Management Technology

  • May 16, 2024

Key Account Management has become a critical component of the customer engagement model. Companies see success when their teams collaborate and practice the key elements of KAM. As key account management programs have grown, the need for dedicated KAM Technology has also grown.

Hypothetical footprint for KAM Program:
- 20 key account managers across business units
- 100 cross-functional team members supporting key account managers
- 50 strategic accounts
- $1 billion in revenue represented by strategic account plans in KAM program

 

Technology is now critical to support the KAM business model. Valkre is a leading provider of this KAM technology. So, what are the benefits of KAM Technology? We’ll look at them across three categories:

KAM Effectiveness: Achieving best-in-class outcomes.

KAM Efficiency: Reducing administrative program burden.

New Insights: Capturing KAM-specific activity data for next-level performance.

 

KAM Effectiveness: Achieving Best-In-Class Outcomes 

The Strategic Account Management Association (SAMA) researches results of best-in-class KAM organizations versus the rest. Their latest research finds that best-in-class KAM organizations achieve:

2X sales growth: 14% versus 7% 

+10% gross margin 

99% report saving or repairing major customer relationships

SAMA also identifies the critical infrastructure necessary to achieve these results. Valkre fills the process and infrastructure gaps to enable achieving best-in-class results. 

KAM Performance: Valkre opens a workspace built to enable the KAM business model. The result is key account managers perform at a higher level than if they were not provided with the same KAM-specific work enabler.

  

“Valkre has brought significant value to us as a team. We need this platform in order to deliver value and stay ahead of the competition. Valkre is a KAM-focused platform and completely different from what we had in the past. It is the first of its kind in 15 years. It allows consistent communications internally and externally.” 

– KAM Executive Leader

Team Alignment: Valkre supports a team approach to KAM. KAM is not a “role.” It is a business model. Elements of this business model include: 

  • aligning on overall account objectives
  • assigning opportunities and activities to various cross-functional team members
  • creating clear visibility to the KAM execution activities
  • aiding the support roles in keeping track of and managing their tasks. 

This team-based functionality helps the supporting team members engage more effectively with the key account managers, which directly benefits your most valuable customers.

"I must say that since Valkre came, my life looking after the strategic accounts became much easier, and it collects everything we need. It helps me build the customer journey. It is very easy to share between managers and colleagues. Everything we have in Valkre will facilitate a conversation with the customer."

–Key Account Manager

Process Advancement: Valkre holds together the KAM processes across multiple business units and geographies. This helps your organization manage and advance core KAM capabilities. It also enables more strategic engagement with your key customers. 

“You are thinking about our business differently than other vendors. We are building out mutual projects with budgets and timelines. I am working with a new purchasing agent. His boss would like more involvement with us on products and pricing. I think the best way to do this might be to describe these projects and your services in a contract, along with multi-year pricing and business volumes. That way, we can get exactly what our team wants in a relationship rather than focusing on a product at a price.”

– Valkre Client’s Customer

Attributing the achievement of best-in-class results only to KAM Tech is not a reality. There are other factors. But KAM Technology is a critical contributor. Best-in-class outcomes aren't possible without good KAM Tech.

 

Kam Efficiency: Reducing Administrative Program Burden

Another recent SAMA finding was that only one in five key account managers said they spend over 50% of their time on customer-facing tasks. The average time spent by KAMs on internal administration is around 65%.  Not surprisingly, the top challenge for KAMs in this research was “influencing others across the company for customer alignment.”

This example highlights the heavy administrative burden on key account managers. Here are areas where Valkre helps reduce that burden, improve efficiency, and lower costs: 

  • Reduce time to create and align customer account plans: Here, the focus is on reducing the time it takes to keep a team aligned on the activities necessary to execute an account plan.
  • Reduce time to build internal and external account reviews: Account Managers and their teams spend days each quarter preparing performance reports and communication for internal and external audiences. 

These are just two examples of areas that need to be supported by dedicated KAM Technology. We have yet to see research that defines the proper percentage of administrative overhead for a KAM Team. Even if we assume 50%, we can still understand the magnitude of opportunity in this space.

 

Hypothetical impact for KAM Program:
120 FTES x $100,000 average compensation x 15% administrative reduction =
$1,800,000 productivity benefit


The key takeaway is that many KAM teams are large and use outdated manual management systems. This fact alone creates a compelling argument for investing in KAM Tech.

 

New Insights: Capturing KAM Activity Date Used for Next-Level Performance 

The current activity of KAMs and their teams happens in PowerPoint, Word, Excel, or piecemeal technology. These platforms do not yield data specific to the critical activities of KAM teams. For example, data within Valkre includes:

Customer goal: what is the customer trying to achieve
Internal goals: what is the CHR team trying to achieve
Mutual Objective: what is an objective to focus on given the goals of both sides
Initiative: What are the projects needed to achieve the mutual objectives

Now consider this data across hundreds of account plans and many years of execution. A unique data set emerges based on how companies work and execute with their most valuable customers. This data serves to set a higher-order understanding of the KAM program. With this new data, advanced improvements are possible. The data can empower account-based marketing, reusable customer engagement playbooks, automatic account plan generation, and more.

Most interestingly, this KAM-specific data sets the stage for the coming world of AI. 


Customer Engagement and Success 

Key Account Management is a core strategy for improving customer engagement. Executives worldwide see the results generated by the best KAM programs. These programs don’t operate in a culture of being good enough; they are looking for excellence. KAM Technology is a vital enabler of KAM excellence, helping programs deliver significant and documented results.  

Companies working with Valkre are setting benchmark standards for KAM excellence. Download a customer success story.


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