Key Account Managers (KAMs) play an essential role in customer retention and account growth for B2B companies. It’s not always easy to recognize what a KAM does, especially if no one is specifically looking for the successes and accomplishments. So, how is a KAM supposed to be recognized for all the hard work put into managing key account relationships?
Recognition is Important
Hard work should be the main consideration when promotions and career advancement opportunities come around, but unfortunately it doesn’t usually work out that way. Don’t just let the work speak for itself. You do need to work hard, especially as a KAM, but you also need people to know who you are. For this part of the equation, you need to get recognition for the great job you’re doing.
Recognition is not something unethical or wrong, it’s just others understanding that you have contributed to a project’s success. In the case of KAMs, you have contributed to building and growing partnerships with your key account customers. Some companies do well to give out recognition where it’s deserved, but most require you to put in some efforts to have your work recognized and attributed to you.
Gaining Recognition as a KAM
There are a lot of ways for a KAM to get recognition for work. It’s a good idea to work around what you’re already doing instead of changing the way you do your work just to get more visibility within your own company. If what you’re doing is already working and producing great results for your goals, you may just need to put a little more effort on changing the way you present yourself.
Recognition should never be your main focus. Your job as a KAM is not to be well known for being good at your job, but to actually BE good at you job and getting results for your customers. Ultimately, you won’t get the right kind of attention if you’re not
Make Your Contributions Clear
You don’t need to go and shout from the rooftops to let people know what you do for your company. When you’re talking about a certain project, give everyone their due credit, even yourself. Don’t be afraid to mention what specifically you did to add to the project when you’re talking with your peers, boss, or team.
Do not leave out the information that you contributed something to each project. You can talk about your contributions without bragging or being arrogant. Avoid being too subtle about what you and your other team members each contributed to a project. Subtly will not effectively communicate how hard you worked to accomplish certain parts of a project.
It may be hard to keep track of specific accomplishments you’ve made. So, an easy way to help remember what you have done is to keep a progress journal for your work. By tracking your success on a short-term and long-term level, you’ll more easily remember what you’ve done when you need to produce some evidence of your contributions or progress. This will ultimately help you to have an answer when you’re asked to talk about projects your team has worked on.
Communicate about Your Customers – Educate Your Company
As a KAM, you are the customer’s advocate in your company. One great way to act on this role is to educate those in your company about your customers. This will help you in two ways: by improving the customer focus in your company and by demonstrating your expertise in your field.
Showing yourself to be an expert makes you more visible in your organization, which will get you the right kind of recognition to help advance your career. Expertise on your customers is something you can also offer to different departments. Offering your knowledge and services to help others in your organization improves your image at work and gives you the chance to meet more people. The larger your network, the easier it is to get recognition for your achievements.
Discuss Plans and Progress with Your Boss
During any regular meetings with your boss, be sure to keep your progress on the agenda by talking about what’s happening, what you’re doing, and any recent success you contributed to. Talk about the goals for your account plans, milestones you’re reached, other progress markers or signs of success, and what you and your team are doing and have done.
You can add a short bit about your contributions and successes to any regular progress meeting you already have with your boss. Even if you don’t have a regular meeting time, you can make sure that your contributions are noted by adding a progress and success report to the agenda of the meetings you do have with your boss.
This is effective because your boss needs to know about what your team is doing anyway, so it gives you a good opening to talk about how you and your team have added value to the organization and contributed to the success of the company.
Ask Your Customers as Your Reference
Requesting your customers to act as a reference can be difficult, but it’s usually worth the efforts. Being the asker in this scenario puts you in the position to be more visible for your customers, peers, and potential leads. Successful requests for reference from customers will result in an excellent, personal experience story about your product and services as well as a second-hand account of your successes.
Because it’s your responsibility to nurture customer accounts, positive references from customers will reflect very well on your abilities, efforts, and capabilities. When the information comes from your customers, it’s even more convincing than when it comes from you, your team, or your peers.
Maintain a Position as a Strategic Partner and Trusted Advisor
A large portion of a KAM’s job is building and maintaining strategic partnerships with clients. This can bring recognition by establishing you as the point-person in charge of a particular client. When your peers or bosses need information, vision, or otherwise that concerns a client, you should be the one they think about first.
By becoming a trusted advisor to your clients, you are effectively establishing your value in your own company as well. Your words are given more weight when you’re talking to your customers, allowing you to bridge both sides of the table and advocate for a win-win situation. Ideally, you should be at the center of the whole web of connection between your company and your key account clients.
This doesn’t mean that you are the only point of contact or connection between both companies. But, you should be at the head of deal, pushing it forward. Being heavily involved in a high-profile client relationship puts you in a much more visible position in your own company.