July to September 2015

$100m+ customers: Key Account Planning

Brightbridge continued working with De Beers to advance Key Account Management.

De Beers, part of Anglo American plc, is a $7billion turnover organisation with 90% of its revenue related to rough diamond sales to customers known as ‘Sightholders’.

Using our ‘12 stage’ planning tool – which consists of 12 key questions – we ran a workshop and provided a series of coaching sessions  – each focused on one customer  – to develop expansive account plans for six critical ‘Sightholders’.  Some of these ‘Sightholders’ invest well over $100m a year in rough diamonds.   Building the right relationships and plans is essential.

This was Brightbridge’s first piece of work in Africa, a new experience that was most enjoyable.   The professionalism of the De Beers team and their willingness to engage in the activities contributed very positively to an effective and efficient process.

As a result of these activities De Beers is pursuing new actions to deliver further success in a high value but challenging marketplace.


Developing Creativity and Collaboration at Warwick Business School

Warwick Business School (WBS) is a top provider of executive development and leading edge management research.  We recently worked with a large group of ‘Distance learning’ MBA students. – i.e. students who are employed – some as MD’s and Directors – who are also studying for an MBA.  WBS’s Distance Learning MBA ranks 2nd in the world and 1st in the UK.

The workshop covered a variety of important levers of leadership and customer development.  Areas covered included…

  • Effective team development – a vital aspect of Key Account Management. This focused on Patrick Lencioni’s model – ‘Five Dysfunctions of a team’ and encouraged the group to share experiences.
  • Conflict management and resolution. This was particularly linked to the Thomas Kilmann ‘Conflict mode’ Instrument.
  • Collaboration and creativity. Using a case study approach requirements to actively problem solve and work effectively with a variety of key stakeholders were developed.  The need for new thinking and creative solutions where key parties have an input were central themes.

We received excellent feedback and look forward to further sessions.

Effective Reward and Recognition to Motivate Teams

Brightbridge is a member of The Sales Performance Association which represents companies across a diverse range of services and industries. Members operate at senior levels and come together to discuss key sales issues and opportunities in a non-commercial environment.

The September meeting focused on reward and recognition – vital areas that drive engagement and motivation and performance.

Amongst the many areas discussed during rich debate and sharing of best practice were:

  • Issues with how well compensation and reward plans are communicated and understood
  • How lack of visibility and understanding leads to loss of productivity
  • How it’s better to reward on a few variables – less than a handful
  • The need for team based rewards
  • The need to consider the unintended consequences of change
  • How too many companies don’t forecast and control investments in reward and incentive systems.

Certainly this proved an interesting and lively session.  One of the important questions in Key Account Management, where it may take many people a long time to nurture, win and then gain repeat business, is how to balance short and long term reward.  Avoid making the scheme too complex and allow some discretion for ‘exceptions’ appear central for a practical solution.