is responsible for managing a company’s accounts and fostering a stable, long-term relationship between the company and the customer. It is a decisive position that was previously known simply as commercial, although the application of new technologies has given it a more specialized character. Above the Account Manager is the Key Account Manager (KAM), which differs in that it is a more experienced professional who deals only with large accounts. In many contexts the two terms are used interchangeably, despite not being exactly the same.
With the change of orientation of the current marketing, which has gone from putting the focus on the product to focus on the person, among the responsibilities of the Account Manager is to identify the opportunities for both the company and the client to meet their needs to the maximum.
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Differences between Key Account Manager and Account Manager
As we have mentioned, these are two different positions with a different degree of responsibility. The main difference between one and the other is that, while an account manager can manage between 10 and 25 accounts on a regular basis,the KAM deals with only one or two, on which it focuses its efforts.
We are talking about large accounts that represent an important part of the company’s business or that are considered strategic for a brand issue. Due to the importance of these accounts, it is common for a full team of professionals in charge of KAM to be assigned to pursue the objectives set and supervise the projects. It is also essential that you work in coordination with other departments, such as Commercial Management and Marketing, in order to control all aspects of the process.
The Key Account Manager may have a greater preparation than the Account Manager, although the jump between one and the other is mainly due to the experience in managing customer accounts.
Functions of a sales account manager
The main functions of the sales manager of the company depend on the characteristics of the company, the sector to which it is dedicated or the objectives pursued, but, in general, they could be summarized in the following:
- Information management. It is essential to obtain all the available data, both from the customer and the competition.
- Relationship management. This point refers to fostering links with decision makers who may affect our business strategy, and who may be responsible for small and medium-sized companies or large companies.
- Project and team management. To take care of the relationship with the client and avoid ruptures, it is essential to encourage communication in both directions.
- Business management. In this case, the Account Manager becomes the visible face of the company for the client and also has the responsibility to differentiate it from the competition. To do this, you can launch offers, set prices, etc.
If we refer specifically to THE KAM, it must comply with the principles of research, commitment, communication, motivation, organization and training and its functions can be summarized in creating solid relationships with existing customers, attracting new customers and looking for business opportunities.
What to study to be a Key Account Manager
The head of a company’s sales is a highly qualified professional who must also have other skills, such as an unbeatable negotiation skills, business vision and public relations skills. They are usually people who come from the world of business and who reinforce their preparation with a master’s degree or a specialization course. In 2019 it was once again one of the most demanded profiles by companies,according to a report by Adecco.
The normal thing is that they have completed higher studies in Business Administration and Management, Economics or Telecommunications,and that they subsequently opt for a master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA), Commerce or Marketing. Generally, they are required to have a very high level of English, although it depends on the degree of internationalization of the company.
The preparation required of this position of responsibility is proportional to your salary. The normal thing is that the salary of a Key Account Manager is between 45,000 and 60,000 euros gross per year.
Advantages of having a Key Account Manager
Customer loyalty has become in recent years a more important factor than the indiscriminate increase in the customer base. Therefore, more and more companies choose to recruit a KAM to take care of relationships with their audience.
Among the advantages of having a Key Account Manager in the organization chart, we can highlight the following:
- Differentiation from the competition.
- Increased sales.
- Strengthening relationships with potential customers.
- Increase in the value of the commercial team.
- Development of communication, both inside and outside the company.
- Improve the organization of the company.