Account Managers have a tough job. They have to hit aggressive sales and retention goals, keep customers happy, navigate internal politics, forecast revenue and get others to do things for them even if they don’t have actual authority. At Kapta, we consider Account Managers the Unsung Heroes of Sales.
Most Account Managers excel at sales, negotiations, influencing others, strategic insights and horizontal thinking. Yet despite their natural talents, many Account Managers are still frustrated by poor internal processes, lack of guidance from their managers, and support tools that simply don’t do the job.
Here are five common pain points that nearly all Account Managers will have dealt with during their careers.
1. Being Too Reactive
Pick your analogy: fighting fires, being under water, dropping balls, playing defense, being on the back foot…that’s how it can feel to be an Account Manager. They are too busy doing tactical, low-value work that they don’t have the time to be strategic, thoughtful and truly value-add for their customers. Too much time is wasted chasing status updates, working in out-dated software tools, cutting and pasting data, and sitting in unproductive meetings. Not enough time is spent being proactive and strategic with the customers they are meant to serve.
2. Nasty Surprises
You thought that client was happy? They call your boss to complain.
You thought they were going to upsell this quarter? The deal got pushed by six months.
These sort of nasty surprises are usually caused by lack of information – i.e. we’re not asking the right questions of the right people. And when you get hit with a nasty surprise like that, you have to go explain to your boss (and up the chain) why you make the mistake and missed a critical piece of information. As many have unfortunately learned, these sort of awkward conversations can be career-limiting for Account Managers.
3. Inconsistent Processes
Most Account Management teams aren’t as consistent or structured as they think they are. Lack of consistent process means that new Account Managers take a long time to get up to speed, and customers never know what to expect when they get a new Account Manager. And as a team leader, you have some Account Managers who are crushing it while the rest are just average.
Account Management is both an art and a science. Most Account Managers have great instincts and are amazing artists. But if you don’t have the right level of process and structure in place (i.e. if you don’t support the science of Account Management), the team won’t be performing at their full potential.
4. Ad-hoc Technology
Still stuck using a CRM for Account Management?
Feel like you’re in the stone age with your Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint documents?
Still cutting and pasting data to prepare your reports?
Most Account Management teams are still stuck with ad-hoc software tools to do their jobs. Even though they represent 70 – 80% of a company’s revenues, they are made to use technologies and tools that were built for other departments. Using a CRM for Account Management is like trying to put a square peg in a round hole – it just doesn’t work. Using the wrong software is making your Account Management team less productive and less efficient than they could be.
5. Not Being a Strategic Partner
Just because you have a Key Account doesn’t mean that you’re a strategic partner to your customer. That can be tough to hear for a lot of Account Managers, but the truth is: you only become a strategic partner (or trusted advisor) when your customer sees you that way.
Not being a strategic partner is a silent killer of your business. You will find yourself justifying your fees, competing for business and generally not “on the inside” until you become one. So ask yourself, “Am I really as strategic as I could be with my key accounts?”
It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way
These are common problems that many Account Management teams face. And those are exactly the challenges that Kapta solves. Sign up for a demo today and see how to take your Account Management to the next level.