October 11, 2021

Key Account Manager or Strategic Ecosystem Leader?

October 11, 2021

Key Account Manager or Strategic Ecosystem Leader?

On September 15th 2021, more than eighty Key Account Managers (KAM) assembled in Copenhagen and online for a hybrid event. The goal? To discuss top challenges for KAM programs in Europe, and explore how the Strategic Account Management Association (SAMA) can provide resources and best practices to support success.

Here are the four top takeaways for European KAM programs in 2021

  • Define the role of your KAMs or SAMs as leaders in your business
  • SAMA offers a vital community to accelerate KAM programs
  • It’s Strategic Account PlannING, not Account Plan
  • Digital has permanently transformed the KAM role

The Strategic Ecosystem Leader

The KAM role continues to evolve. Now more than ever, key or strategic customers are gaining even more investment from their vendors. The KAMs role is to manage a program and lead the business strategy across internal stakeholders. The value co-creation with the stakeholder at their key accounts is not a trivial endeavor. To succeed, KAMs must clearly articulate a vision and a plan for their program with support from executives and marketing. Internal collaboration is critical. KAMs should understand the change management required to support their agenda and establish a center of excellence with change agents and KAM champions to support them.

Why SAMA?

SAMA is an industry resource and community for KAM and SAM sales personnel and leaders. SAMA is a global non-profit organization with more than 15,000 members. Members say that sharing experiences and insights about key account management with other industry peers is what makes SAMA a valuable community and platform. In addition to the community and networking, SAMA offers best practice guides, templates, formal training and certification, key account management research, and program benchmarking. At the Nordics, Symposium attendees benchmarked their KAM programs against all SAMA members.

SAMA has become a way to connect with people who understand your journey and share the kind of experience you have. A member told me, 'It's kind of like therapy as you get together and talk with your peer members.'
Denise Freier
CEO, SAMA

KAM is a Journey

The mindset shift from account plans to account planning is essential. Static documents quickly become outdated in our dynamic customer and competitive environment. KAMs should focus less on a perfect plan than on action and iterative learnings. Learnings can, in turn, inform an evolving program and support agile shifts in strategy when needed. The core success of a living key account plan is the co-creation of value or the joint value proposition between the vendor or supplier and the strategic customer. Alignment on value drives priority, success, and a long-term partnership.

SAM is a journey. It's not a one-time project. You can't give six months to implement it, walk away, and the job is done. Actually, it will never be done.
Dino Bertani
Executive Director, AbbVie

Digital Requirements for KAM

With digitalization the KAM role has been permanently transformed. KAMs should embrace technology and data to support their program execution and informed decision-making. Digital tools and data help KAMs remain competitive and productive while maintaining quality of life! The challenge is to select the right combination of technologies that supports fast adoption whilst leveraging productivity and data so that KAMs can focus on the highest yield opportunities. Now more than ever before, it’s time to stop creating offline files for account plans but instead, use new tech and embed living account plans into your CRM.

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To learn how SAMA can help your program, download the 7-step SAMA guide for value co-creation with key accounts or find out how Arpedio software can support KAM best practice adoption in your Salesforce CRM.

Ulrik Monberg, CEO & Founder

Ulrik Monberg, CEO & Founder

+45 31 46 31 56 / +1 818 946 6804
um@arpedio.com
linkedin.com/in/monberg/

Follow us on LinkedIn to get all the newest perspectives and insights around strategic relationship management and sales innovation.

Ulrik Monberg, CEO & Founder

Ulrik Monberg, CEO & Founder

+45 31 46 31 56 / +1 818 946 6804
um@arpedio.com
linkedin.com/in/monberg/

Follow us on LinkedIn to get all the newest perspectives and insights around strategic relationship management and sales innovation.

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Global B2B corporations are already creating significant results through the Arpedio solutions.

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