november 17, 2021

Key takeaways from SAMA Global Summit 2021

On November 9 and 10, SAMA held their annual Global Summit: two half-days of virtual learning, sharing and networking on the future of Strategic Account Management, and we’re thrilled to have been part of it. Prominent speakers from Pfizer, Siemens, and DHL, just to name a few, gave their best tips for building trust and deepening relationships with your customers, and SAMs and KAMs from around the world came together to explore and discuss the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

Misalignment is the number one roadblock to success

The overall theme of this year’s SAMA Global Summit was ‘Alignment’. Why? Because lack of alignment is pervasive, it’s critical to KAMs everyday job, and also because alignment will continue to grow in importance as the extent and the complexity of the KAM role increases.

Many of the struggles that KAMs are facing today can be attributed to the exact opposite; Misalignment. This being between their own organizations and their customers, between their long-term objectives and their need to generate short-term results, or even between colleagues that have different personalities and/or conflicting motivators and measurements approaches, and the list goes on. If you’re a KAM yourself, you’re probably already too familiar with this long list of causes and sources for misalignment.

For as long as we have been surveying the SAMA community, alignment has been singled out as the number one barrier to a strategic account manager’s success.
Denise Freier
President & CEO, SAMA

It’s interesting that even as the world of business is under continuous transformation and has reinvented itself over and over again, lack of alignment has been and is still being singled out as the number one roadblock to success for strategic account managers, in the SAMA community. Denise Freier, President and CEO at SAMA, is convinced that we shouldn’t expect this to change anytime soon. In fact, she argues that the challenge of securing alignment will grow even more acute in the years to come.

This undoubtedly correlates with the fact that the pain points customers are experiencing and asking SAMs to solve have become increasingly complex – even more so following COVID-19 – and the solutions to these challenges depend on both resources, expertise, data, and support from a growing number of stakeholders. Many of these stakeholders do not report directly to the KAMs, and some do not even reside in your company. This of course poses a challenge. But, if you are able to adapt accordingly, this could also be an opportunity.

Digital transformation calls for customer-centricity

Studies show that companies that invest in client relationships during a crisis emerge stronger. According to research from McKinsey & Company, companies that invested and innovated during the pandemic are getting nearly 70 % better returns than the companies that maintained the status quo. Another key learning from the report shows that to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, companies should start reskilling their workforces, especially in terms of expanding the ability to operate in a fully digital environment. 

Also, as Marco Lippuner, Head of Sales Excellence at Siemens, spoke to in his keynote presentation during the SAMA Global Summit, the KAM role is the strategic relationship link between vendor and customer. We are now in the age of digital transformation, which has caused increased complexity and uncertainty. Empowering KAMs and organizations with the right information to effectively map and manage relationships is critical to support healthy partnerships.

This all suggests that the roles of SAMs and KAMs are changing, and thus their skills and approach towards clients must change too. 

Focus your SAM efforts with the right tools

In the midst of this digital transformation it’s no surprise that alignment (or lack of alignment) continues to be on everyone’s lips. In an evermore complex digital world, securing alignment can be complicated – but, it’s not impossible. First and foremost, let’s agree that the era of scattered spreadsheets and incoherent tools is finally over. Instead, it’s time to map, manage and improve your critical stakeholder relationships directly in Salesforce. ARPEDIO’s tools ensure that all valuable data is equally accessible, allowing for close collaboration across teams and departments, and thus ensuring that everyone is aligned and working towards the same goals. Also, leveraging your sales data will provide continuous learning and coaching – always available at your fingertips.

Thank you again to SAMA for hosting and facilitating another enlightening and rewarding global summit.

Download the 7-step SAMA guide for value co-creation with key accounts, or book a free demo to learn more about how ARPEDIO’s solutions can streamline and strengthen your SAM processes.

Picture of Ulrik Monberg, CEO & Founder

Ulrik Monberg, CEO & Founder

+45 31 46 31 56 / +1 650 398 1285
[email protected]

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

Picture of Ulrik Monberg, CEO & Founder

Ulrik Monberg, CEO & Founder

+45 31 46 31 56 / +1 650 398 1285
[email protected]

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

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