We recently took part in a forum about how key account management (KAM) and sales were developing to meet the new challenges 2020 has thrown our way and to adapt further to those that the hazy horizon of the future will present.
A key theme raised by other participants was ‘We must avoid confusing selling with key account management – they are very different’.
They argued sales tends to be reactive, short term focused and product related whereas key account management is strategic, proactive and focused on customised solutions.
Here at Brightbridge we disagree. Engaging with many organisations over the past decade we have witnessed that such a view results in sales teams pushing back against key account management and vice versa. Away from the theory and into practice we have found those embracing a joined-up approach, blending sales and key account management practices, perform best.
Descriptions can divide, but its practices that really count.
Selling approaches incorporate solution selling, complex sales, consultative selling and trusted collaborations. These to us, are all aspects of key account management.
Strong key account management is about portfolio management of customers, treating some as priorities for short-and-long term growth and working with others in ways that drive efficiencies. Such principles are no strangers to those acting in sales teams operating across customers and projects.
Yes, there are differences in emphasis, but in our experience selling approaches and account management are strongly bonded and should not be separated by artificial walls.