In everything in life, you hope that you are knowledgeable, wise, and mature. If your organization has emphasized key account management and customer success over the last few years, you might feel that you’ve reached maturity. Your key account management team is a well-oiled machine, and everyone is an expert in their craft.
This is a great feeling, but what if your organization is relatively new to key account management and customer success? How do you know when you’ve reached maturity, and if you haven’t, how far away are you?
We’ve worked with account management teams of various sizes at different levels of maturity over the years. Through this experience, we’ve developed a list of questions you can ask yourself or your account management team. With the answers in mind, you’ll have a much greater insight into your key account management’s maturity level, along with some revelations that could help you improve over the long run.
Different Levels of Maturity
So where are you right now? Before we can get to that, it’s good to know about the levels of this concept. OpenView created a great visual representation of these five stages, and we recommend you view their chart for a full breakdown of each stage. Here the five stages and their summaries:
Level 1: Ad Hoc
This is when you first realize the importance of customer success for your organization. You develop an understanding that when the customer succeeds, so does your organization. This is just the start, but you’d be surprised how many companies fail even to reach this level in their account management processes.
Level 2: Awareness of Customer Needs
At this stage, you’re starting to figure out what you can do to help your clients achieve success while promoting your organization’s growth. In essence, you’re now on a mission to turn your desired customer insights into reality.
Level 3: Repeatable
You have a full picture of the customer lifecycle, and account managers can now optimize the lifecycle. They use powerful digital tools and platforms along with collaboration with other departments to make this customer success reliably repeatable with less time and effort spent on each account.
Level 4: Predictable
Now that you know how to generate success, you can also predict specific metrics. With this new insight, achieving success for your key accounts and your organization is even easier, and your sights are now set on long-term growth.
Level 5: Activating
At the final level of customer success maturity, you can now visualize the impact that customer success has on your entire organization. Their outcomes impact your business outcomes, and helping your customers reach their goals is no longer a guessing game and rather a series of repeatable steps. You acquire new customers on a consistent basis, and with powerful tools and expertise at your disposal, scaling your efforts isn’t as big of a challenge.
Now that you know the different levels of key account management maturity let’s get into the cutting questions to ask yourself and your team. Here are four awesome questions to ask your team to determine how mature your organization and process are around KAM.
1) Do you have account plans in place for each of your key accounts?
You can’t get to your destination without a roadmap. Customer success is no different, and without a plan, you have no real insight, and instead, are relying on intuition to bring your customers the success you promised. If you don’t have account plans in place for each of the key accounts, you aren’t even close to reaching maturity. To correct this, you should invest in a powerful account management plan that makes planning each account simple.
2) Do you know the strategic and business goals of your key accounts? Do you know how your products or services align with them?
Customer success heavily relies on consistently exceeding your client’s wildest business goals. If you don’t know what their goals are, how can you expect to help your key accounts reach them? In addition to understanding the goals, you should have a firm understanding of how your products and services impact them. To correct this, you should ensure you’re asking the right questions during your Voice of Customer interviews. Input their answers into Kapta, and you can easily track and manage their goals as they shift over time.
3) Can your manager see the status of your accounts without having to ask you?
Collaboration is an essential component of any mature account management team. Your manager wants to know how your accounts are doing to not only gauge their health but also to measure your performance as a key account manager. Managers are busy people, and they don’t always have time to walk around the office to ask everyone about the status of key accounts. Instead, they should know you’re doing an outstanding job without having to ask you. Consider upgrading to a platform like Kapta so your manager can quickly see the health score of each account at a glance without the need for an entire presentation.
4) Do you have a clear key account management process? Are you held accountable for it?
As you can see in stage three, achieving customer success should be repeatable across the board. Even when starting from scratch, there should be a clear-cut series of steps to help them achieve their goals. If you don’t have a plan in place, Kapta can help you develop one. Creating a clear key account management process is one thing, however; actually holding yourself and the entire team accountable is another thing. If you want it to work, you all need to stick to the plan and trust the process. Once the positive results start flowing in, sticking to it shouldn’t be as challenging.
How Kapta Can Help
Kapta is a robust account management platform built by key account management professionals, for key account management professionals. Built-in tools and features like Voice of Customer insights and the account planning tools make customer success much easier. Try a free demo today, and if you stick with it, advancing through the stages of maturity will be much simpler.