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KAMCast - Key Account Management Strategies for Business Leaders
46 minutes | Oct 14, 2021
#025 Selling Through Partnering, with Fred Copestake
IN THIS EPISODEDo you tell your clients that you work in partnership?What evidence do you have to reassure them that the statement is, in fact, true?What are the qualities of a good partnership?Does your team possess the skills required to forge strong win:win relationships, built on trust, transparency, transparency, comfort with change and interdependence and a focus on the future?In this episode, I invite Fred Copestake, a sales consultant and trainer specialising in complex B2b sales environments, to get into this topic with me. He has spent the last 22 years travelling around the world to develop salespeople, in over 200 companies, to move from the transactional selling styles of yesteryear, into the collaborative selling styles of today and shaping the ‘business partners’ of the future. HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS EPISODE: As you will by now know, here at KAMGuru we are big believers in fostering a ‘valued partner’ relationship with your most important customers/clients. Partnering with your clients should be more than just a statement, more than something you simply ‘say’ on your website. It should be lived in the values, attitudes, behaviours, and skills within your teams and consistently demonstrated in your most important customer relationships. In my discussion with Fred, we dig into his concept of ‘PQ – Partnering intelligence’. (He has even written a book on it). We talk about what the concept is, and what qualities we should be developing and demonstrating in our key account relationships.You will hear us talk through:The three biggest challenges that senior leaders will see when they look at their sales teams. As Fred describes - are your teams:Displaying ‘busy busy busy’ behaviours where busyness is getting in the way of business? Are they thinking in the ‘olde worlde’ ways and struggling to see new, and change, as a force for good and opportunity?Do they have a ‘muddled mindset’ where the focus switches as we get closer to month-end and the targets take over?How we need to get comfortable with serving the customer whilst working together as equals - with mutual trust and respect. How do you feel about the notion that the customer isn’t, in fact, king (despite the old saying) and that we should see them as respected peers who are there to work with us to deliver mutually beneficial win:win growth?What the future of selling could look like in this fast-moving and ever-changing marketplace we work in. KILLER QUESTIONS SEGMENTIn each episode we ask you, our listener, a killer question that is designed to get you reflecting on your business, your KAM Culture and where changes in thinking and behaviour could lead to increased customer success. In this episode we asked Fred to give us his killer question which was:“Why would you NOT use partnering intelligence to build relationships with your most importantcustomers?”There you have it. It's logical to just naturally want to build PQ into your sales skills toolkit – isn’t it? Quick ref to a link we mention in our discussion:Fred mentioned his PQ (Partnering Intelligence) Self Audit which you can take. Find out your Sales PQ now using this diagnostic tool. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY GUEST: FRED COPESTAKEFred is the founder of Brindis, a sales training consultancy based in the UK. He is a Sales Consultant, Trainer, Speaker and Author with a special focus on teaching selling through partnering skills.He has worked with 10,000+ salespeople in 200+ companies across 36 countries. His work is concentrated on sales professionals working in complex B2B environments. Some of his projects have included: implementing a European sales academy for a leading beer brand; developing sales skills for global healthcare companies in the Middle East; and introducing account development and sales leadership models in Latin America and Europe for IT and engineering multinationals. You can find out more about him on his website, connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.
27 minutes | Sep 30, 2021
#024 Perfect Your Communication Style with Practice
IN THIS EPISODEHow ‘in tune’ are you with the qualities, traits and characteristics that make up your personality?How does your personality affect the results you have with your key account relationships?If you are in tune with who YOU are, let me ask: how well can you read other people?Do you use your knowledge and reflection to change the way you behave to better your chances of success? Or…do you act the same in every interaction you have with your customer contacts? In this episode, we take a dive into an important topic in the world of building customer relationships: how well do you adapt your communication style with different customers?I am going to challenge you to consider, for a moment, that rather than thinking of yourself as a classically labelled sales person… what if you were called a sales practitioner. In that vein…you could say: rather than being an account manager you were an account management practitioner. How does that sit with you? Can you see how the change in language brings a change in focus?To be a practitioner, you must continue to practice. To practice indicates that growth, development and improvement is always possible and we cannot sit back and assume that perfection has been attained. Think of this episode as a moment to pause, reflect and decide how you will practice this imperative skill of shaping your communications style and personality preferences to elevate your results with your most important customers. HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS EPISODE: This is a full episode in 30mins of pure notable and actionable takeaways – so get your pen and pad out (and be sure to look at the full show notes on the website - as I couldn't put all the graphics in here for you).To be an effective Key Account Manager in today’s world means more than simply being a well-trained salesperson, adept with the skills to win more business and sustain relationships. Whether you are a ‘hunter’ or, as with many Key Account Managers, a ‘farmer’, the playing field has changed, and we now work in an environment where it is less about ‘how you sell’ and more about ‘why the customer buys’Some of the topics I share and discuss my views on in this episode cover:Evolving old ABC to new ABCConsider updating Glengarry Glen Ross’ ABC - Always Be Closing, to a more modern KAM- related ABC of:Analyse how the customer thinks and works Build a bridge to their world and Communicate in their language not yoursThe impact your FILTERS have on your brain’s processing of information (Through our five senses, the human body sends 11 million bits of information per second to the brain for processing, yet the conscious mind seems to be able to process only 50 bits per second! An account manager’s true roles is to influence with integrity and support the customer to CHOOSE the right solution for them. Using a psychometric tool to help you to assess and analyse how you “show up” (consciously / unconsciously) – does not give you a ‘free pass’ to behave in ‘stereotype’. Rather, they are designed to help you to (honestly) assess yourself and design your own results through adaptation and flexibility. (I share more below about how we use the Lumina Spark Model we use with clients here at KAMguru – scroll down).If Key Account Management was a little like speed dating, we would need to get pretty good at speed reading someone else’s personality if we are to stand a chance at ensuring we communicate and behave in a way that best suits them.Reviewing the Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic (VAK) model for understanding preferences, on the context of KAMWalk through the three types of buyer needs (and how these can vary when looking through the lens of the 4-colour energies of the Lumina Sparks Model)In essence what I reiterate in this episode, is that we all live in the same territory, but we all have a different map of the world. I’m sure you will agree that, in order to succeed in KAM, we must get better at really understanding the perception filters of our clients to identify their beliefs and fixed positions. To truly become aware of the customer, we must first become aware of ourselves.We must work at becoming a KAMeleon and learn how to dial up, or down, your different energies to enhance rapport and communicate in the customers language.I hope you enjoy listening to this episode, do let me know what you have taken away from it and keep your request for topics and episode themes coming in!MORE INFO: THE LUMINA SPARKS MODELHere at KAMGuru, some of the work we do with individuals and teams means that we need to do a little “uncovering” to dig into people’s strengths or blind spots. This is particularly useful when supporting teams to honestly evaluate their team and work towards a KAMCulture of inclusiveness and diversity of thinking and in value creation for customers.Looking at our individual personality traits using, what is known as ‘Big 5’ research. This helps us to understand our effective qualities and how these play out in the interactions we have with others. (It will also help us to identify where our less dominant ‘blind spots’ are and help us to consider what changes we may like to make when interacting with our psychological opposites)You might notice that I keep mentioning ‘blind spots’ and not ‘weaknesses’. The reality is that we are all capable of dialling up or dialling down our different psychological energies and therefore it is important to recognise any ‘low preference’ as a choice and not a weakness.Many of the tools on the market will use a typical 4-colour model as the foundation to build on and, for ease of explanation and exploration of the topic, in this episode I walk you through the Lumina Sparks Model, which we often use with our clients.In the episode I talk about the 4 energies of the model and how to recognise the traits of these energies in others and what that means in terms of how you relate to them. I also walk through how your customer’s buying needs may also vary when looking through the lens of the 4-colours. I have also provided some visuals below for you demonstrate these.In the full shownotes on the website (kamguru.com/podcast/episode-24/) - I have included graphics that demonstrate what I talk about in this episode - so be sure to check those out.
49 minutes | Sep 16, 2021
#023 The Loyalty Loop, with Drew Davis
IN THIS EPISODEDo you have LOYAL customers?What does loyalty mean to you? Is it a destination where happy customers, who love what you do, gather to bathe in the success that your product or service has brought them? Or is it more than that…? Rather than a destination, is it an on-going journey of moments that inspire your loyal customers to commit to you, time and time again, whilst shouting from the rooftops to all who will hear their recommendation to work with you?How often do you find yourself telling your clients that you are different? And, when you are comparing your business to your competition, could you - hand on heart - say that you truly offer something that no one else does?The likelihood is, as we’ve said so many times here on KAMCast, is that the real difference is in you, our team and the EXPERIENCE you provide your customers. In a journey of moments, how well do you craft an experience that inspires your clients to commit data, time and eventually money before starting the whole cycle again? Do you deliberately and intentionally inspire the emotions YOU need in your clients to motivate them to WANT the products and services you can offer?In this episode, I am joined by Drew Davis, bestselling author and internationally acclaimed speaker. He was dialing in from across the pond, so you’ll have to forgive the odd connection glitch in the matrix on the recording!HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS EPISODE: In our conversation, we look at how Key Account Managers need to be thinking more like marketeers in the way they inspire their key clients - constantly engineering what Drew calls ‘The Loyalty Loop’ for repeat business and account growth.You’ll hear us talk about the 7 key drivers of the Loyalty Loop and how we can create a series of customer interactions/encounters that leave an impression. (Which ultimately grows the revenue with your key accounts.) Listen to the full episode to hear the detail. The drivers are:Raise anticipationMaximise the honeymoon phaseRe-inspire themAnswering their trigger questionsScale comradery (at KAMGuru we refer to this as KAM being a team sport)Remove friction from the experienceCrucial concern (YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS ONE)Through our really interactive discussion we talk about:identifying moments of commitmentengineering the emotions you need your customers to feel at the right moments in the customer journey (Drew suggests quite simply for you to attach the appropriate emoji to each interaction to gauge if you’re getting it right for the customer)how KAM, as a team sport, maximises the value of your brand-to-person relationships (getting the sales and marketing team to work with you on the customer's journey of moments)where to start to craft different experiences that see you really standing OUT from your competitionMy reflections from this episode… I really loved the 7 drivers of the loyalty loop. I feel like they help us focus our attention on deliberately engineering a seamless and ongoing journey of interactions the leave an impression, increase customer growth and retention and leave a legacy that you and the team can be proud of. One of my big takeaways was a confirmation that if you create a great experience and concentrate on loyalty - you get more of the clients you want and charge more for what you do because the experience is different Your reflections from this episode… When you think about your customer experience… the big moments, the little moments, the micro-moments… how are you engineering the interaction to evoke the right emotions for the right results?Do you consistently and repeatedly inspire your key customers at the right times, to trigger moments of commitment that reward you with data, time or money?How do you truly differentiate from your competitors?As a sales team, are you working to a finite game in a race to this month’s targets and objectives? Or... do you see the key customer experience as a cycle that regularly reinspires to create upselling and cross selling opportunities?Is KAM a team sport in your business? Do you scale comradery and involve the wider team of talents to maximise the brand to person relationships? (Book a chat with me and I can share more about this with you.)Killer Question SegmentIn each episode, we ask you, our listener, a killer question that is designed to get you reflecting on your business, your KAM Culture and where changes in thinking and behaviour could lead to increased customer success.In this episode we asked Drew to give us his killer question which was:“What emotion (or emoji) would you attach to the very next interaction you’re having with a customer?”Is it a MEH? SURPRISE? YAY? If it’s a sad, disappointed or ‘grey’ (can’t distinguish) emoji – then FIX IT!FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY GUEST: ANDREW DAVISAndrew Davis is a bestselling author and keynote speaker. Before building and selling a thriving digital marketing agency, Andrew produced for NBC and worked for The Muppets. He's appeared in the New York Times and on the Today Show. He's crafted documentary films and award-winning content for tiny start-ups and Fortune 500 brands.Today, Andrew Davis teaches business leaders how to grow their businesses, transform their cities, and leave their legacy.You can find out more about him on his website, connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter. You can learn loads from his Loyalty Loop Videos – so check those out on his YouTube channel.
53 minutes | Sep 2, 2021
#022 A Conversation about Race in KAM, with Sharon Amesu
IN THIS EPISODE...When was the last time you had a conversation about racism?Perhaps, like so many, these conversations are triggered within your circles, by high-profile cases of injustice in the media or by your own personal experiences on the receiving end of overt or covert prejudice.Or perhaps… like so many, you have NEVER had a conversation, within your circles, about racism. What about at work, in your business, with your team, or with your customers?This episode is a conversation about race in KAM. And where KAM is all about effectiveness, I really wanted to explore this important subject that can consciously or unconsciously impair your ability to maximise the success and growth of your most important customers.HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS EPISODE...With diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and anti-racism high on the agenda in the business world, I think it is so important that we have these conversations. My wish is that, by listening to this episode, it will spark a conversation within your business, and with your team and that the learning, the growth, and the empathy continues.We venture into a discussion that includes:talking about our own experiences of race in the workplace (including the privilege I acknowledge as a white male in business) exploring how bias may show up in the engagements with customers and business partners discussing the role of an ‘ally’ and how getting comfortable with the uncomfortable conversations can create truly empathetic relationshipsWhat are your reflections after listing to our conversation?How are you going to continue the conversation and who with? I wonder what your experiences have been, whether on the receiving end of prejudice or from a place of privilege.Has race or racism ever impaired your effectiveness with your key accounts?Understanding the context and communities we are sitting in, day to day, week to week, month to month is key to empowering our teams to maximise relationshipsWhat is your organisational response against racism? What awareness do you have of your own biases and how can you raise that awareness when interacting with others?How much attention do you pay to the evolution of language and are you running the risk of using outdated terminology that could offend your contacts and peers?With understanding being a key driver for KAM relationships - how does this conversation about race help us understand each other and ourselves better to maximise the relationships with key customers? I’d like to thank you for listening to this episode today and, in doing so, taking part in this important conversation. If you have something you’d like to share or throw into the conversation, please do get in touch.KILLER QUESTION SEGMENTIn each episode, we ask you, our listener, a killer question that is designed to get you reflecting on your business, your KAM Culture, and where changes in thinking and behaviour could lead to increased customer success.In this episode I asked Sharon to give us her killer question which was:“How much better would your account management be if you were to work intentionally on thebiases that might impact your decision making?”And…how will you go about doing that? Wow. The challenge has been laid folks.FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY GUEST: SHARON AMESUSharon is an award-winning leadership consultant and professional speaker. After 16 years as a Criminal Barrister with a successful UK practice, today Sharon runs a consultancy business which supports organisations with leadership development, specialising in diversity and inclusion programmes. Sharon is invited to speak to national and international audiences around the world on Women in Leadership and Inclusive Leadership. Sharon is a Founding Fellow of the Society of Leadership Fellows, an Honorary Industry Fellow of the University of Salford Business, a member of the Northwest Business Leadership Team and sits on the Board of The Hallé Orchestra. You can find out more about her on her website, connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.You can also watch her TEDx talk “Why we should all think like an Ancestor”.
34 minutes | Jul 29, 2021
#021 CX – A serious opportunity to add value as a KAM Pro
IN THIS EPISODEHow much attention are you paying to the customer experience with your Key Accounts?Do you surprise and delight your clients on a regular basis or, have you fallen into the trap of leaving this up to marketing at the front end of the sales cycle? With customers experiencing thousands of ‘moments’ every day in all areas of their lives, what are you doing to ensure the moments they share with you, exceed their expectations?For me, the thing about experience is that it is too important to be left to chance. Too important to rely on us simply being good at what we do and going the extra mile from time to time. We need to be intentional. We need to take a step back and examine the moments we share with key customers and identify areas of improvement, ensuring we maximise the chances of being rewarded with long-term loyalty. HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS EPISODE I invited Experience Consultant, Victoria Taylor, to join me on this episode, to dig into this topic. Having worked in a wide variety of industries including bespoke travel, media, and advertising, Victoria now works with her own clients including Warner Entertainment Group, Lamborghini, Disney, P&O Cruises, Experian, and a host of independent hospitality brands. She is on a mission to help them to raise the bar in their customer experiences. In our conversation, you’ll hear us talk about:Why Account Managers need to be involved in crafting special moments for key customers (rather than leaving it to the marketing or customer experience team)Flesh out some examples of great customer experience (and what makes it great)The link between the employee experience and the customer experience Creating an EXPERIENCE for your Key AccountsWhat are your thoughts and reflections on the customer experience you currently create for your key accounts?If you were a client of yours, would you be delighted in the moments you shared?Do you personalise your client interactions so that they truly feel special and valued?When the moments you create for your customers are not driven by the brand, they are driven by you! How would you personally score in a customer feedback conversation?With any experience being personal, how often do you proactively seek a conversation to gain feedback for your key contacts, on a mission to clarify their expectations and how you are performing against them?How are you reflecting your brand?Are you a walking, talking ambassador for your company, LIVING its values rather than just laminating them on the wall?Remember that the employee experience and the moments we share with each other will directly affect the moments we share with the customer. To create intentional, well-crafted, brilliant experiences for our customers, we cannot leave it to chance. Take a moment to reflect and ask yourself: what do we do now, and how can we make it better?I’ll be exploring this more in upcoming episodes of KAMCast so please do get in touch and let us know your thoughts on this topic and any specific questions you have, which you’d love to see answered in an episode.FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY GUEST: VICTORIA TAYLORVictoria describes herself as human-centred experience consultant who works with brands to ‘raise the bar’ in experience by differentiating themselves through thinking, creating, and ‘doing’ customer experience differently.Her areas of consulting specialism focus on: audience definition; employee, customer & brand experience. She works exclusively with luxury brands in the hospitality and travel sectors with her clients ranging from independent entrepreneurs with boutique businesses to high-end hotel chains in sunny climes like Dubai.She has enjoyed working with brands like Warner Entertainment Group, Lamborghini, Disney, P&O Cruises, and well as passionate smaller brands like oldpostoffice.uk (boutique holiday studios).Victoria believes that experience is not about the size of the business - it’s always about how well it’s done. She strongly advocates that details matter…especially in the experience of anyone coming into contact with your brand. In today’s world, you can’t dismiss the full journey – whether the touchpoint is a visible action or an intangible emotion.You can find out more about her on her website, connect with her on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter or join her on Instagram. Download her FREE e-book ‘Points of Entry’ strategy or signup for her monthly ‘In My Experience’ email.
40 minutes | Jul 8, 2021
#020 The evolution of a key account manager, with Chris Ortolano
IN THIS EPISODEThis is such an expansive topic, I really wanted to add some context and perspective to the subject here. So, I’m going to really open this discussion up for you with some background to get you in the right mindset to listen to this episode.If you had to be truthful - what kind of salesperson would you say you are? What’s your natural selling style? Do you deploy an intentional methodology to maximise the impact of your interactions? Or are you winging it along the way, relying on personality to build those relationships with key contacts? The evolution of an account manager, over the decades, has taken us on a bit of a journey: Let’s visit the 70s…Where the gift of the gab was enough to see you into a meeting with a key decision maker - armed with a bag full of good stories and friendly chat. Your products could be sold on the dazzling features of the solution, peppered with light-hearted humour to entertain your prospect into submission.By the 1980s…The marketplace was seeing a new breed of sales representatives and sales executives who had polished up their presentation skills to become the informer, the educator, and the ambassadors for their wares. Their projection skills were on-point and their ability to bring products to life whilst selling the features, the advantages, and the benefits were 2nd to none. The real issue boiled down to listening though. They were so good at waiting to speak that they forgot to pause and listen! When a client had the audacity to ‘interrupt’ them – they would quickly be shot down by a range of techniques and gimmicks inspired by books like ‘how to develop a killer instinct’ or ‘101 different ways to overcome and objection’.The 80s sales arena really was the home of manipulation, coercion, and persuasion, and ‘selling’, for many, started to become a very dirty word.Introducing the shift in the 1990s and 2000s…In a bid to move away from the boiler room sales tactics of old and the greasy salespeople that were giving a legitimate profession a bad name, account managers began to focus on a primary ingredient of the relationship dynamic. If all businesses existed to solve a problem, then account managers needed to become problem solvers.This shift saw a development of a much softer, more skillful consultative selling approach with an emphasis on problem-solving and a full understanding of the customer needs, concerns and aspirations through well-crafted open questions active listening, and summarising skills.Unlike their predecessors, problem solvers have shown a genuine interest in the customer’s business.So, in essence, we can see that the gossiping entertainer (who liked talking about others) morphed into the boring informer (who liked talking about themself) and then evolved into the consultative problem solver who finally learned the value of talking to the customer about, well, the customer.What role does today’s account manager play then?How do the problem solvers of the 90s and noughties transition from the consultative selling world of the efficient supplier, to the transformational space of the effective business partner?A world where account managers are collaborative, not just competitive, and more importantly they:understand the customer’s worldfocus on the front-end of the sales process, not the backend (closing)talk about return on investment, not products and servicessay relatively little (as the customer is doing most of the talking)position themselves as trusted advisors work with customers interests in mind as well as their ownplay it long – understanding that genuine relationships take timeunderstand what customers’ expectations arefollow-up and stay connected, even if they do not win the businessToday’s key account manager realises that they need to be in the customer's heart, not in their face. To truly win in today’s world of KAM…it requires an intentional approach to the relationship. And to understand the nuances of operating in today’s modern marketplace and customer dynamics. I’m sure you’ll agree that we need to reframe our thinking and challenge some of the norms. To quote my guest on this episode, Chris Ortolano: “we need to make SHIFT happen.”REFLECTIONS ON THIS EPISODE:Chris is a sales process consultant, and it was interesting to hear his views on:The role of a KAM in today’s worldHow we can understand and manage the different preferences of contacts in a meetingHow to foster a collaborative problem-solving conversation with clients to become more of a facilitator in ‘round table’ discussions. Once you’ve listened to the episode, here are some reflections & questions for you:If KAM in today’s world is one-part Strategic Account Manager, one-part technical account manager, one part project manager: how are you managing the different hats that you wear and ensuring that you are showing up intentionally in your customer interactions? If our credibility lies in bringing good ideas to the table and facilitating a conversation, then: what ideas do you have in your toolkit and what skills do you have when it comes to facilitating great conversations? Give yourself some marks out of ten and then ask ‘how can I improve my score?’I really like the idea Chris talks about in creating a ‘glossary of terms’An agreed and globally understood glossary that helps us really understand each other’s definition of the language that we will use in our key account relationships. What better way to sanity check understanding and build rapport?How would you rate your rapport building skills? Is rapport building a natural thing for you or are you setting about it as an intentional objective with focus and rigour?Think about your last customer meeting: How well did you ‘work the room’ to include all the different personalities that were present in the conversation?What are the ‘what if’ scenarios that you are using to invite customers into a collaborative space to explore new ideas and new thinking?I’d really encourage you to think about how you can bring a conversation about unknowns into your customer meetings. Tee it up in advance and invite the customer to bring their ideas. How well do you understand your clients’ priorities?Next time you’re in a customer conversation, perhaps you want to try out the What, which, why technique - What are the 3 most important things with regards to XWhich 1 of those things is most important?Why is that?With problems being so complex - gone are the days with pre-defined slide decks to demonstrate our solution and now is the time to work with visual tools to bring solutions to life WITH the customer in a collaborative conversation. Start thinking of a review meeting more like a workshop…that requires interaction. Loads of ideas here to get you going on your quest to define the role of a KAM in today’s world and YOUR business. EVENT FOR KAM PROs - KAMCON 2021We mention this event in this episode, so here are all the details for you. We’re really excited to share that we will be recording some really special content for the show, live at KAMCon London on September 9th 2021.We are partnering with the event hosts to bring you fresh conversations with innovative, expert KAM voices straight from KAMCon. KAMCon is hosted by a friend of the show, Alex Raymond, and the team at KAPTA and gives KAM professionals the chance to hear from a line-up of expert speakers and industry voices who’ll be sharing innovative ideas, proven methodologies, and personal experiences. The intimate conference brings together leaders in account management from multiple industries to connect, learn, and grow. It’s going to be a great day and, as listeners of KAMCast, you have the option to get a 20% discount off the ticket price by using our discount code of KAMCAST2021Just head over to the event page to book your ticket. This is an event all about Professional KAM for KAM professionals so don’t miss out. Come and say hello!FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY GUEST: CHRIS ORTOLANOChris is the founder of Outbound Edge, a sales process consultancy business, set up in 2017. He comes from a background working in companies in the Energy, Brand Communications, and Lead Gen software sectors, where he held accounting and IT roles. Today he specialises in the sales process and solving complex problems by aligning processes with internal champions, engaging stakeholders, and facilitating strategic decision-making. He specifically focuses on the niche area of Product Tours, which he describes as interactive click-through demonstrations that strategic-minded KAMs can use to create a meticulous customer experience before, during, and after meetings with their key contacts. Chris is also the community manager and founder at SalesStack, an online community for emerging B2B SaaS leaders to exchange and test new ideas. You can find out more about him on his website, connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.
49 minutes | Jun 10, 2021
#019 Employee Engagement in a Hybrid Working World, with Robert Hicks & Lou Kwakye
IN THIS EPISODE:Do you have a team whose hearts and minds are 100% invested in your business goals?What are the levels of motivation across your account managers and sales team?How ENGAGED are they?For many businesses, the working world has changed and for most - it’s still changing. The concept of remote and Hybrid working is no longer uncommon, and sales leaders are battling the ongoing challenge of managing performance and inspiring excellence in teams that are no longer sat every day in the office, feeding off of each other’s energy and learning from their peers in the room.Employee engagement is not a new thing. It’s long been acknowledged that happy and engaged teams lead to happy and engaged customers which ultimately create happy and engaged shareholders.And…in today’s world, as we edge closer to our own new format and structure of work, engagement has never been so important.Perhaps you are a business leader asking yourself “how do I engage a remote or hybrid team to maximise performance?”Or perhaps you are an account manager who is questioning your own level of engagement and feeling a little disconnected from the business that pays for your peak performance.Whichever camp you are in, there is no escaping the importance of employee engagement and how it really does affect your business’ ability to maximise the success of KAM performance.In this episode we tackle a fundamental mission to MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE TO WORK. Knowing that if we do that, EVERYONE benefits.To dive into the topic, I invited two guests from the company Reward Gateway - the employee engagement people. More than 2,000 organisations worldwide use the Reward Gateway platform to connect, support and recognise their employees, whenever and wherever they work.Let’s dive straight in! You will hear from Robert Hicks, the Group Human Resources Director, and Lou Kwakye the Sales Director. Between them, they live and breathe the company’s mission (‘make the world a better place to work’), both internally and externally, whilst continuing to push for profitable performance.HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS EPISODE:This is a big discussion about the variations of working as we emerge from restrictive living, and sharing ideas for the best ways to engage sales teams who are working remotely.We explore side topics like:how tech can support sales leaders to engage, excite and empower their teams andwhat do we think the future looks like?This is one of those episodes where we intentionally blur the line between new business and existing customer management to look at the fundamental building blocks for keeping people engaged.The thing about Hybrid working is that it comes with a whole load of choices. Choice for an employee and choice for employers.What choices have you made in the way you and your teams engage on your key account management mission?Have you considered what tasks are best performed from which locations and environments and are you organising you and your team’s diaries to be most effective?How are you and the team achieving the 4 C’s of:CooperationCollaborationCoordination andCommunicationPerhaps a truly engaged team is where a Quality of Life meets Quality of Work.Robert and Lou are a great example of where Sales and HR are working together, not just on the People Strategy for maximising performance but the rich learning that can be accessed when senior leaders share experience across departments.Senior leaders are buyers in their own rights, so how often to you share your own experiences, of being a buyer, with your sales and account managers to support the learning internally? MY THOUGHTS AFTER THIS INTERVIEW...Are your new business teams ALIGNED with your Account Managers? Do they share in the one mission? In my experience, there are many organisations where New Business and Existing Business become disparate and, in a world where resource is finite, friendly fire within the business can be a massive blocker to KAM progress.Motivations will vary across hunters and farmers - whether it be the dopamine hit from the ‘win’ or the kinship of long-term relationships. How well do you understand the motivational drivers of your team and how best to cultivate a team sport mentality across the different disciplines in your sales organisation?For me, there was a big message here about the shared mission that underpins everything the team at Reward Gateway do and I wonder what reflections YOU have on what mission or causes your business and team genuinely care about that help you increase the heart count in your business, where team members hearts and minds are genuinely invested in what you do and how you do it. When it comes to the KAM Culture mission we are on here on KAMCast: how we engage with the people in our teams is a guiding principle. Profit centres are fuelled by passion centres and the people in your business and on your KAM team hold the keys to success with your most important customers.I’d love to hear from more organisations who are leading the charge in creating a KAM Culture in the business, so get in touch and tell us what you are doing to drive engagement and maximise performance with your clients. Maybe you could come along on the show and talk about it. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY GUESTS:Both my guests work for Reward Gateway, the “employee engagement people” which was founded in 2006. They are a multi-award winning employee engagement platform accessed by more than 2000 organisations around the world. “The world’s most successful companies treat their people differently. They generate stock market returns of twice their peers and they have half the employee turnover. 76% of CEOs recognise that employee engagement is vital to their success but only 24% say they have a highly engaged company. Bridging that engagement gap is what drives us."Check out their website, their self-service platform for small businesses, or follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.GUEST - LOU KWAKYELou comes from a strong background working with sales people and, after years of working in the fitness industry for brands like Virgin Active and Pure Gym, he joined Reward Gateway as an engagement specialist in 2014. Today, he is their Sales Director and looks after a group of UK-based Account Executives, Sales Managers, SDRs, Researchers and the global Bid Team. He also works as a coach with Sales Psyche, which positions itself as a “gym for your team's mental health, wellbeing and personal development.” They are a training and development resource community to support and develop sales and commercial teams’ mental wellbeing, alongside performance.You can find out more and connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter. GUEST - ROBERT HICKSWith three degrees under his belt, including an MBA from Imperial College, Robert is an accomplished leader in the HR space. His experience spans across sectors like software, property, cloud solutions and information technology. He has worked in and advised on Human Resources globally for 20+ years, for companies ranging from tech start-ups to SMEs, fast growth PE-owned mid-market businesses, FTSE250 and complex matrix global organisations with over 200,000 staff.In 2015 he joined Reward Gateway as an interim Head of HR, but soon rose to accept a position as Group Human Resources Director in 2016 and become overall custodian of the people and experience teams for the organisation. His responsibilities extend over numerous departments like: Employee Engagement; Learning & Development; Reward & Benefits; Diversity & Inclusion; Office Experience; People Ops; Internal Communications and Talent Acquisition. Basically, anything and everything people related.You can find out more and connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.
41 minutes | May 27, 2021
#018 Mapping your way to success, with Ian Windle
IN THIS EPISODE:How successful is your key account management team? What is the definition you have for what success is, for your business? How do you measure the performance of your key account managers?If you find that the answers are all to do with growth, you’re probably looking at it TOO LATE and you are running a massive risk with your most important accounts.Success is a destination, one that is different and personal to each business and each team. And for every clear destination there is a path, a route, and a map for how to get there.Whether you talk about KPI’s, goals, objectives, or metrics – we are looking forearly warning signs and alerts that tell you clearly whether someone is on track for success or way off course.We could think of them as the ‘flight deck’ of important gauges to give you a clear overview of what is really going on.These important measures, and the intelligence they give us, will ultimately provide an opportunity to check against benchmarks and fuel coaching conversations with the team.If growth is the end goal: what are the measurable and intentional stepping stones that we can track and guide the way? Are they…frequency of contactcustomer satisfaction responsesthe number of decision makers we are connected to and actively engaging withthe number of open issuesis there an active KAMPlan for the account?These are all quantifiable indicators that would either comfort you that the relationship with your most important customers is all in order or shine a light on the vulnerabilities that present the biggest risks… way ahead of time… ultimately giving you time to sort it out!In this episode I speak to Ian Windle, an award-winning Leadership and TEDx speaker, Executive Coach and team builder. He is the author of Amazon best seller “The Leadership Map: The gritty guide to strategy that works and people who care.”He works with leadership teams on their strategy, vision and values, as well as developing their capabilities to perform at their peak. HIGHLIGHTS TO THIS EPISODE:In this discussion we dig into:What success looks like in businessHow we measure success and performance across all levels of the businessHow to foster transparency and accountability team-wide in your organisation Where to start with KPI’s and metrics in a sales teamMy hope is that after you have listened to this episode, you will seriously reflect on what the definition of success is for you and your team, and how are you measuring performance today.Do you have a MAP that you are following to guide you, the team and the business steadily on course for achieving your strategic goals in the next 12 months?If you haven’t had the conversation around how you are judging success in your business, perhaps that is the best to start.Are you obsessed with targets, with little focus on the granular steppingstones, the route to success? Focussing too heavily on the target, is like trying to win a game of basketball by staring at the scoreboard!For me, learning to lead can be a bit like learning to drive: no amount of training can prepare you for contact with the real world.If you are finding leadership easy then you are probably not doing the right things! What are the KEY things that drive your Economic engine? What are your critical numbers?Are you tracking and reporting information that is useful not just interesting? Do you have a balanced selection of key metrics that support you and your account management team to track the journey?KILLER QUESTION SEGMENTIn each episode we ask you, our listener, a killer question that is designed to get you reflecting on your business, your KAM Culture and where changes in thinking and behaviour could lead to increased customer success.In this episode we asked Ian to give us his killer question which is:“What would you have to do…to grow 50 to 100%?”To put this in context, Ian explains that you will get more energy and creative thinking if you asked what would we have to do to grow 5o to 100% this year” instead of “we need to grow by 15% this year, what are we going to do to achieve that.”The former question spurs a jarring in the room which will mean you may get a push back when you ask that sort of question, where your team may say: “hang on, in the past year you only asked us to grow 15%. Aiming for 50% - that’s impossible.”However, Ian’s further advice is to ask the question…then leave the room and ask them to come up with some ideas of what COULD they do to achieve 50% for when you come back in the room.When you do return to the room, you will have a buzzing, excited and energised team filled with what’s possible. The outcome is – you may not reach 50%, but you will achieve 30 or 40%. That’s considerably more than your dry, year-on-year 15% isn’t it? I wonder what reflections you have on Ian’s Killer question and whether you are having regular dialogue in the business about what we would have to do to grow 50-100%? Do you foster creative thinking for those larger ambitions that only come into the conversation when you remove the glass ceiling?I’d love to hear from listeners and know what KPI’s you have found to be most effective in mapping your way to success. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY GUEST: IAN WINDLEIan is an award-winning Leadership and TEDx speaker, Executive Coach and team builder. He is the author of an Amazon best seller The Leadership Map: The gritty guide to strategy that works and people who care. He works with leadership teams on their strategy, vision and values, as well as developing their capabilities to perform at their peak.In his first career Ian worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in many European capitals and in Asia; this was in a variety of roles from Political Desk Officer, through to Strategic Change Consultant. He then moved into consultancy with Celemi International, where he was Managing Director for 10 years of the UK business and Head of Global Consulting.You can find out more about him on his website, connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter. You can find out about his open programme called The Leadership Map, which is designed to help middle and senior managers grow their skills and raise their game.
18 minutes | May 13, 2021
#017 Five Reasons your KAM Programme is Failing
IN THIS EPISODE:Key account management is a beautifully simple business basic…one that isn’t that easy! If it was, we’d all be doing it brilliantly wouldn’t we? Like most working practices in business, there are a handful of common, or typical reasons why a KAM culture struggles to get off the ground in an organisation. In this episode, I seek to shine a glaring light on the assassins of good KAM practice.The intent for this episode is this: we’re big believers in shining a light on vulnerabilities in a business – it serves as a wonderful opportunity to mitigate risks, develop and create new ways of working and foster better ways of thinking.In this episode, David shares the experiences we’ve had in working with clients. Some of these clients have called for our support as a result of experiencing the loss of a customer and realising their vulnerabilities way too late.Others have started their respective KAM-Paigns to implement a KAM Culture and the momentum has dwindled and progress halted, caused by one or several of the reasons shared in this episode. HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS EPISODE:We’d urge you to bookmark this episode and make sure that you listen to it properly – dig really deep and reflect. It could be the spur you need to make a long-term systemic change which could in turn could bring meaningful (and profitable) transformative change.Here are the highlights that David walks you through on the 5 reasons your KAM programme is more than likely failing: #1 Your Key Account criteria lacks focus & clarityDo you and your team know who your key accounts are and why they are qualified as “key”? Yep, a simple one right? But so many businesses miss this.I find that this lack of clarity often comes from a place of assumption. Assumption that the key accounts are simply the largest ones. The accounts that make up the lion’s share of revenue or profit.For me, the true definition of a key account is whatever is, or whatever will be, important to your business.It’s so important to reach a focus and clarity of the defining characteristics of a key account in your business. Without that, a KAM programme runs the risk of becoming something we talk about rather than do.(Listen to the episode to get the 5 reflective questions you need to ask yourself).#2 The customer’s voice isn’t being heardWhen was the last time you proactively sought feedback from your key contacts at your most important customers?And did that feedback make its way back to the business, into your team discussions and shape the way you engage with that customer going forward?We spend a lot of time making decisions that impact the customer and creating products and services that deliver an end value for the customer… and yet, all too often, we do this whilst sat around a boardroom table, without a customer in sight.In the world of KAM, the customer’s perception becomes your reality… #3 Your KAM strategy is shot down by friendly fireWe believe that key account management is a team sport. It’s not a job for lone heroes who go where nobody has gone before, in pursuit of commercial glory.Key account management is, in many ways, part of everyone’s job within the company. Looking at it simply, maybe there are only two groups of people within an organisation?There is a group of people who are (a) servicing the customer and there is another who are (b) providing an internal service to the group of people servicing the customer.So, if we run with the notion that the quality of the service you deliver the customer is directly influenced by the quality of service you deliver each other, we see just how important teamwork is…(Listen to the episode to hear more if this “speaks” to you!) #4 Your Key Account Managers don’t have timeThe trouble with time management is that it is not possible! Nobody ‘manages’ time, it’s a myth. Time moves by at the same pace for everyone - no amount of intent will slow it down or speed it up!What we do manage, is our own priorities.So, next time you hear ‘time’ being banded around as the excuse for lack of progress on key account activity – take a long look at the prioritisation and level of importance being put on different tasks.Perhaps the team’s definition of ‘important’ is different to yours.Are you going to let time be a reason why your KAM programme fails? #5 You’ve prescribed the plan, but the team haven’t subscribed to the actionLike most business initiatives, a KAM Programme starts at the top, or it simply won’t start. The danger with board level sponsorship is that it takes the shape of an authoritative prescription.The sort of messaging that suggests, ‘we’ve discussed this in the board meeting, and we think it’s the best for everyone’, communicated down the chain of command like a memo to ‘all staff’ detailing the new policy for key customers.In our experience, prescriptions rarely work and instead we need people to subscribe to the changes and the ‘movement’. To do this, we must first demonstrate our buy-in and commitment at leadership level.If it sounds like something you want people to do but don’t want to get involved in yourself, it’s likely to fall flat. QUICK REF TO MENTIONED RESOURCES:FREE – KAM Audit Template:If you would like help with devising a KAM Audit for your business – download your copy here from our resources area. Book Recommendation: “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”There are plenty of incredible books and resources on building high performing teams. In this episode David particularly recommends this book by Patrick Lencioni. Not only is it an enjoyable read, written as a fictional story, but it is packed with totally relatable reasons why teamwork falls down and projects and initiatives end up being killed off by our comrades who are supposed to be supporting us on the battlefield.IN SUMMARY...Do you think it’s a good time to think about your KAM programme? What stage are you at?Do you already have a KAM programme in play within the business? How’s it going?Is it a living, breathing KAM Culture that puts the customers voice at the heart of what you do?Do you foster organisational-wide teamwork and collaboration?Do you provide inspirational sponsorship to the movement?Perhaps, you are new to building your KAM programme and are using this thinking to flag up the early warning signs for potential failures.Of course, this list of five reasons is not an exhaustive one. There are plenty of other reasons why a programme may fail. What reasons have you experienced or seen elsewhere? And how did you overcome the barriers.If you have a story to share, please do get in touch.As always, our hope is that whenever you are listening to our episodes – you are remembering to hit the PAUSE BUTTON on your day to think about what you can do to take the ideas from the show and bring them to life in your business.
42 minutes | Apr 29, 2021
#016 The ‘Next’ Normal, a KAM Industry reflection with Warwick Brown
IN THIS EPISODEAre you 'ready' for getting back to normal? And…what is normal?For many of us, the effects of the pandemic have been going on for so long that we can’t quite remember what normal is anymore.So, as we start to 'unlock' society, here in the UK, and begin thinking about how we will reengage with our key accounts, many of whom we won’t have seen for over a year, how ready do you feel to hit the ground running'?Have you thought about who you need to see first, what you want to achieve and how you will need to adapt?In this episode of KAMCast I welcome back my good friend and fellow KAM activist, Warwick Brown, as we set about answering some listener questions and talk about some common themes we are hearing with our clients at the moment.Our aim for this episode is to pause and reflect on what we may need to do - to be “match fit” for the NEXT normal, and fast track the performance of our most important accounts. HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS EPISODE:I’d be really interested to hear what your thoughts are on this topic, when you are finished listening to this episode. (Email me and let me know. Also – has it spurred another topic you would like to hear us chew on, in an upcoming episode? Or do you have more burning questions? Let me know.)Warwick and I get into a great discussion on:How we best engage with C-Suite decision makers going forward?How we can sense check our understanding of the decision-making process and fill any gaps we might have? (Post-Covid changes)What the next normal will look like and what will we need to adapt and change as we re-emerge into society Whatever you are planning next when it comes to engaging with your key contacts, and however close you feel to a sense of normality, I’d really encourage you to hit the pause button and reflect. Use these prompter questions to sense check your strategies, systems and your team’s skills: What can you do to be more intentional and impactful in your client interactions?How will you approach engaging key decision makers you are yet to meet?Do you have a clear view and understanding of the decision-making structure in your key account’s organisation?How are you going to managing the transition, continuing to be mindful of social distancing, without becoming ‘socially awkward’?What ‘traditional’ practices will now become tactical for you?Maybe you can really relate to the challenge of engaging with C-suite execs, so there’s an extra question to ask:What changes do you need to make in your approach to improve your impact when building new relationships with high level decision makers? Like anything we talk about on KAMCast, I really value those opportunities for honest reflection before deciding what to do next. My wish is that something we have talked about in this episode has triggered and ignited some positive action for you. If it has let us know…please! FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY GUEST: WARWICK BROWNWarwick is a Key Account Consultant and Founder of The KAM Club, has led business development and account management teams in Australia and Europe for more than 15 years. He has worked with some of the world's most prestigious firms including Merck & Co, Deutsche Bank, McKinsey & Company and Vodafone. His mission is to support in-house KAM Professionals with the right advice, tools and learning resources to boost their results. He also spends time educating organisations about the importance of leveraging the power of key account management which in turn to accelerates higher performing KAM Professionals, improved client retention and increased revenue.You can find out more about him on his website, connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter. You can find out about his learning community, The KAM Club as well.
48 minutes | Apr 15, 2021
#015 Mind the Intergenerational Gap with Henry Rose Lee
In this episode…Have you ever found yourself struggling to understand, or get along, with people who are older or younger than you?Perhaps a clash in communications style, working preferences, belief systems, values or motivational needs?Many of the business leaders that we talk to in our work at KAMGuru tell us how difficult they find driving higher levels of motivation and engagement from younger sales teams.They say that age is just a number… except it isn’t, is it?GENERATIONAL DIFFERENCES ARE REALThe nuances of dealing with people across the generations can prove to be challenging, whether consciously or unconsciously, and the solution, as we’ve talked about so many times on KAMCast, is in the ability to raise your awareness, understand yourself, understand others and then choose if and how to adapt your behaviours to get the best out of your relationship interactions, whether it be with your teams or Key Customer contacts.Whether you are working closely with the external customer base or whether you recognise your internal customers, on your team and colleagues across the business, you are likely to come up against the ‘generation gap’, highlighted by the notable differences across the different age groups.In this episode of KAMCast, I talk to Henry Rose Lee - one of the few inter-generational diversity experts in the world. Henry works with all generations in the workforce and particularly with Millennials and Gen Z - to help them become more productive and effective. As an author of three books on maximising today’s young talent, (consisting of Generation Z and the Millennial generation), Henry busts myths and provides business leaders with practical tactics for attracting, recruiting, engaging and retaining your youngest employees. I hope you enjoy it – let me know what you think! HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS EPISODE:When I was preparing for this conversation, I was conscious that for many, this is a burning topic and I was keen to get a deeper understanding of:What the differences across generations really areHow those differences play out in the workplace, particularly in a virtual working environmentHow communication styles, techniques and strategies will vary across the ages and where ‘clashes’ are likely to happenHow, as leaders, we can drive higher levels of engagement and motivation from our younger teamsUltimately understanding how we can MIND THE GAP in generational diversity across our key accounts and sales teams.I wasn’t disappointed!When you listen to this episode – you’ll gain some really pragmatic and practical advice from Henry Rose Lee who helps us look through the intergenerational lens from a position of understanding.ENGAGE THE MOTIVATIONAL NEEDS OF YOUNGER TALENTI particularly liked Henry’s thoughts on engaging the motivational needs of younger talent on our teams.With three quarters of Gen Z yearning to start their own business - I wonder if you have a team of entrepreneurial salespeople? And how you harness their enthusiasm and creativity within the remits of your organisational structure?Do you build a COMMUNITY that your talent can feel part of?What are the CAUSES that you, you teams and your business care about?And what CAREER progression opportunities are available to your team to grow and develop in their role and bring higher levels of commitment, enthusiasm and contribution to your business?CHECK "IN" RATHER THAN CHECK "UP"I’m often amazed at the lack of trust between sales leaders and their teams. Henry gives us some great advice on how to build trust and I love the notion of checking IN, not checking UP. She shares that you can do this by coaching your team with open questions like:What have you experienced in the last week that’s good and bad?Of those good and bad things, what do you think you’ve learned from that?How are you going to use what you’ve learned going forward?What do you need from me?MONEY MATTERSWhen it comes to young talent, I found it so important to recognise that money DOES matter – the youngest generations have the least money and the least savings. We need to find a way to pay them right and take the worry of financial pressures off the table.Perhaps this will earn their focus, loyalty and commitment. For me, money really is a hygiene factor and too many sales organisations use it as a motivational tool, designed to encourage salespeople to ‘try harder’.In my experience, money neither motivates the best people, or the best in people. WHILE YOU LISTEN, ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:How do you feel about the way you are currently managing the generation gaps on your teams and with your most important clients?Do you know which generation you fall in to?Do the theories we talk about in this episode resonate with you? How do you feel about it? What have you learned about yourself, and your teams?Let me know how you will look at things differently after hearing Henry’s insights. What action will you take, which behaviours will you alter and how will you bring more understanding into the workplace? Drop me an email, DM me on Twitter, or connect with me on LinkedIn. If you have a great example of applying this learning – who knows, maybe I’ll get you on the podcast to share it with us! FIND OUR MORE ABOUT MY GUEST: HENRY ROSE LEEHenry Rose Lee is a speaker, author and consultant specialising in Intergenerational Diversity, an emerging science and management skill of maximising the engagement, collaboration and productivity within and across the five distinct generations in today’s workplace.She is one of only a few sought-after intergenerational diversity experts in the world - helping organisations to improve the contribution and profitable performance of the youngest talent in the workplace today. Henry worked for 15 years in business development and sales positions for brands like Filofax and Salter, where performance and results were essential. Since 2004 Henry has worked as a CIPD qualified HR consultant and Master ICF qualified Coach and specialised in researching and developing diagnostic tools on human motivation, and generational attitudes and behaviours at work.She is passionate about busting the many myths people have about Millennials and Gen Z, and has written three books on maximising today’s young talent. She focusses her attention on providing business leaders with practical tactics for attracting, recruiting, engaging and retaining their youngest employees. You can find out more about her on her website, connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter. You can find out about her theory on intergenerational workplaces.
16 minutes | Apr 1, 2021
#014 KAM and COVID, One Year On
IN THIS EPISODE...How has the last 12 months been for you and your business?At the time of recording this episode, it’s been a year… to the day that I delivered my last ‘in person’ seminar for a group of Chief Executives in Leeds.By then, we had already stopped shaking hands with people and we were pouring copious amounts of antibacterial gel over our hands at every opportunity.We were beginning to come to terms with the idea that we would likely need to ‘hibernate’ in a home working environment for a few weeks while it all ‘blew over’. Little did we know that as we watched on as other parts of the world plunged into draconian lockdowns, we were only at the beginning of what would turn out to be a very strange time to be alive and a hard time to be in business.Wherever you are in the world and whatever the last 12 months has been like for you, I’ve no doubt it will have been a rollercoaster of emotions and adaptation as we settled in to a ‘new normal’ whilst constantly asking ourselves what the ‘next normal’ was likely to be like.Compassion and empathy have been the currency in many of our client relationships and we have all become well versed in the ways of asking ‘how are you?’… ‘no, how are you really?’In this episode, I wanted to look at what we’ve seen in our KAM practices in the last 12 months. What have you noticed in your client relationships? How have you adapted your communications styles and contact frequencies to adapt to the situation?I wanted to share with you some of my reflections. Some things I’ve seen, some things I have learned and some thoughts on where the ‘next normal may take us’. HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS EPISODE:Moving to a virtual world, where even those who hadn’t used video conferencing before, now became Zoom and MS Teams’ experts, took real adjustment for some people.Let’s face it, for most Key Account Managers, one of the things that keeps us going in our work, is the person-to-person interaction that we get when partnering with important customers. The best ongoing, trusted relationships that we build tend to be accelerated when we have the opportunity to sit down over a coffee, a lunch or even play a round of golf at an away day.So, the move to working online screamed disaster as we fumbled our way through finding a balance between relationship building and the business agenda.TWO THINGS I NOTICED:At first, the business agenda, for many, went out of the window and the early iteration of the ‘Zoom call’ was primarily a ‘check-in’ and an opportunity to share experiences and see how each other’s businesses were shaping up. (If anything, this was a good opportunity to really connect with clients, from a vulnerable position and fast track the connection you have and the rapport between you.)Then it flipped the other way… small talk about the ‘crisis’ was dropped and the business agenda took centre stage. (The pace at which we needed to work accelerated and our diaries were packed with back-to-back video calls and we simply didn’t have time to dwell on the niceties.)Now is the time to combine the two – ensuring that partnerships in a virtual environment really do cater for the person-to-person connections as well as the business agenda.Listen to the full episode to hear my specific reflections about your video call behaviour (timestamp around 4mins 45secs)REGAIN THE WIN:WIN BALANCEFor many, who found themselves worrying about what the future would hold, uncertain about the stability of the business, their industry or their job, they allowed desperation to take hold and started a frantic race to the bottom.Compassion meant compromising the win:win balance and many organisations started to devalue their time, service and products by giving them away for free, perhaps in a veiled attempt to win the long-term loyalty of the customer.The thing about something that is free, is that it often lacks a perceived value.. creating the danger that customers will undoubtedly question the price when it’s reintroduced later in the day.Value-for-free has it’s place in a marketing strategy and, indeed, as an ‘extra mile’ tactic for existing, paying customers. And, at the same time, we need to be careful that we don’t obliterate the value for money offers and services that need to remain a staple in our product suite.A key account relationship needs to be WIN:WIN to retain and maintain repeat business.In this episode I ask you some critical questions around what you have done to perhaps create an imbalance in your WIN:WIN scale. (Timestamp: 8:20)ASK THE TOP 3 FEEDBACK QUESTIONS (timestamp 8:56)How have you proactively sought feedback from your key customers on how you have performed against their expectations in the last 12 months?We need to really get a handle on what the perceptions, feelings and thoughts of our clients are and ask them the three big feedback questions:Where are we meeting your expectations>?Where are we exceeding your expectations? AndWhere are we falling short of your expectations?Quite often the answers are often littered with assumptions and guesswork and tainted with our own perspective and what WE would expect if we were the client.In a key account partnership, we want customers to feel comfortable telling us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so that we can really understand how the customer perceives us, our business and our team.I give you three questions that you also need to ask YOURSELF (and your team) – listen for all the detail (Timestamp 11:26) HOW DO WE GO FORWARD FROM COVID?I talk about some of the frustrations, challenges and fatigue many businesses have experienced in the last 12 months and then ask:Looking at the pandemic now, as we start Q2 of 2021, what opportunities do you see, as a result of COVID?How is today’s version of normal affecting the way you engage with your important customers?What will the NEXT version of normal be for your business and are you prepared for it?I’d encourage you take some time and reflect on some of the questions and hit the pause button on your busyness, to think about your business.The juggle struggle has been real and balancing work, family, home-schooling, friendships and our own mental health has often felt like too many things to do!For many, there have been moments of joy, basking in the glorious sunshine in the spring of 2020, trying to become ‘Tik Tok famous’ and starting lockdown or furlough projects.And for others, the last 12 months has been incredibly tough, trying to stay optimistic and upbeat in difficult market conditions, knowing that their performance really will determine the survival chances of the business.Whichever camp you find yourself in, I’d really encourage you to reflect on how the last 12 months with your key customers has been:How has your experience affected the value you bring to those partnerships?How has their experience affected the value they need from you?How do you see the next 12 months in these relationships and what will the ‘next normal’ look like for you, your business and your client engagements? COMING UP...In the next episode of KAMCAST, we will be talking to Henry Rose Lee, an Inter-Generational Diversity Expert, and we’ll be digging into the future of work and creating harmony in our client relationships across the generations.
43 minutes | Mar 18, 2021
#013 What does a strategic conversation look like?
IN THIS EPISODE:Do you wish your team members were having more strategic conversations with your key accounts?Do you have a clear understanding of what strategy is?Does your team have a clear understanding of what strategy is?It’s fair to say that the S word – strategy – gets bandied around a lot in business - we even talk about it as one of our guiding pillars for success in KAM.And with words that get so heavily used, it’s common for the waters to get muddied and the definition to become overcomplicated, leading to overthinking activities and behaviours.Do you let the words you use with your key accounts do the heavy lifting - rather than developing the skills to open up more curious, value-based conversations - looking at a longer-term vision and the actions that will get your there?In this episode I take a look at the topic of strategy, with brand strategist Shelley Röstlund.Shelley works with subject matter experts to clarify their brand purpose and value by leveraging a blend of brand archetypes, belief systems, customer insights & core product refining. With Shelley having strategic conversations on a daily basis with her clients, I was keen to hear her thoughts and dig deep on this topic.With our clients, at KAMGuru, we work heavily on developing teams to have more strategic conversations with their most important customers, ultimately forging the trusted partnerships they desire, and developing long term profitability.With strategy being such an important component to understanding our customers, it’s so important that, as KAM Pros, we are able to get a firm grip on the strategic skillset, empowering us to truly Become the expert in the customer’s world. HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS EPISODE:We really peel back a few layers of the strategic onion in this episode. Shelley and I dig into:How to define strategy, in a business contextWhy does it become so complicated?The value of having strategic conversations with clients, and how to have them Shelley shares some top tips on how to set yourself up for a strategic conversation:When is the right time to start a strategic, value-based conversation with your clients?How to handle the entrepreneurial personality types when having focussed discussions?With strategy being such an important component to understanding our customers, it’s so important that, as KAM professionals, we are able to get a firm grip on the strategic skillset - empowering us to truly become the expert in the customer’s world.I love the way Shelley describes her definition of strategy as being “the path that links vision to action.” And the notion that the how and the what become clear when you know your why.Let’s face it – we all like to get distracted with the shiny ball of the ‘how’. All too often I see businesses get sucked into the tactics when talking about strategy, when in reality the Strategy has to comes first.Pulling from a well-known Stephen Covey principle: when you or your team are talking with clients on their strategic vision - do you listen with the intent to understand or with the intent to reply? You are, in essence, risking showering the client with an ill-timed pitch fest, and a ‘spray and pray’ sales approach.Curiosity doesn’t kill the cat when it comes to trusted partnerships and it’s time to hone the skills to be curious with our clients. Remember that, as account managers, we don’t need to have all the answers – we just need the right questions and the enthusiasm to learn more. -----I hope after listening to this episode it will leave you reflecting on your team and business. Perhaps you will think that your team talks ‘strategy’ but don’t really see it fully through (to the ‘value add’ bit).Perhaps the very idea of the team having more strategic conversations with clients worries them, or you? Is there potentially a skill deficit when it comes to carrying out ‘value-based’ conversations? Or maybe you have all this nailed and that true strategic conversations are the way you are already differentiating from your competition?Either way….Take a moment to pause and reflect about this topic and decide what, if anything you would like to do as a result.Remember that it’s less about the 45 minutes we share together on this podcast and more about the next 45 days in your business as you discuss and implement positive change.Wherever you are listening to this, get involved in the conversation. It’s a big topic so head over to LinkedIn or twitter and tell us what you would add to the topic and what ideas you have for having better, value-based, strategic conversations with your most important clients. KILLER QUESTION SEGMENTIn each episode we ask you, our listener, a killer question that is designed to get you reflecting on your business, your KAM Culture and where changes in thinking and behaviour could lead to increased customer success.In this episode we asked Shelley to give us her killer question. She has posed one for a KAM Pro to ask him/herself - which is:“What does your desired future state look like in your ideal future relationship with this client?” The idea is that you then have to describe in in vivid (visual/kinaesthetic/auditory) detail how you think, feel, act, and behave. Once you have that in mind and can almost physically experience what that feels like: you can work backwards to the present day and work on how to engineer having that kind of relationship?”This way you, as a KAM pro, will move away from purely transactional conversations, and on to more meaningful, care-based interactions. Customers want to be heard, understood and feel like you care. You may have to learn how to become this desired future version of yourself (i.e. one that is confident, capable and at ease having strategic conversations). FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY GUEST: SHELLEY RÖSTLUNDShelley is a Brand Strategist who teaches subject matter experts to clarify their brand purpose and value by leveraging a blend of brand archetypes, belief systems, customer insights & core product refining. She hails originally from South Africa, has an Honours Degree in Economics and, when in employed, worked in the fitness, property & franchise industries. Since 2010, she has run a strategic digital marketing agency, Harbour 32, with her Swedish husband.Having had delivered 150+ one-to-one strategic sessions with SME's across more than 30 different industries in the private, public and third sectors – she is well-versed on holding strategic conversations to cut to the chase and articulate intent and value.She has worked with multimillion-pound boards as well as young growing brands. She attends international conferences on social media, content marketing and strategic thought leadership to stay on top of her game. Today she runs programmes to help micro businesses scale through brand clarity & balancing purpose vs. value.You can find out more about her digital marketing agency on her website, connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter & Instagram.
44 minutes | Mar 4, 2021
#012 When you lose…don’t lose the learning, with Vince Tickel
IN THIS EPISODE:How often do you put aside time to reflect honestly on the learning you have gained following the closure of a deal, whether you won or lost it?Do you pause for a moment to celebrate the victory or commiserate the loss?Or do you go deeper than that, in pursuit of feedback that can be fed forward into future pitches?Creating a learning culture in an account management team is hugely beneficial and requires us all to embrace feedback, even the painful stuff.The sort of feedback that tells us specifically what went well, so that we can repeat and replicate, and how things could have been better, so that we can tweak and develop our approach to maximise chances on the next attempt.It will always feel better to focus on the wins and brush away the losses. And, at the same time, the risk we run is blindly ignoring the rich layers of feedback and learning that are available, if we intentionally go looking for it.In this episode you get to listen and learn from my guest Vince Tickel - a seasoned entrepreneur, executive coach and group chairman of the Vistage Central London group.Having started a career in the marketing departments of multi-national food companies, he set up his first company, a marketing consultancy called Interface, aged 24, working for branded companies such as Unilever, Bacardi-Martini, Bass and P&G.In the late 90’s he diversified, setting up a chain of sales and marketing service companies in the UK and Europe building it into a £15m turnover group with over 100 staff.I invited him on to KAMCAST to share with you what his experience has been in implementing a learning culture in his businesses - where feedback was king, and teams live by the mantra:When you lose, don’t lose the learning. HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS EPISODE:The reality is that you are highly unlikely to win all the deals or contracts you pitch for, right? Losing is part and parcel of the world of account management.So how would rate yourself on learning from the feedback you get along the way?Vince says that curiosity starts at the top of an organisation and we want to be recruiting ‘sponges not stones’. I like that – a great analogy.Team members who are constantly looking for:a. constructive criticism,b. understanding what went well, andc. what would be even better “if…(insert here)”…could be the difference between static performance in the comfort zone and developing performance and growing relationships and revenue.I am convinced after this conversation with Vince that Critical Feedback should be hard wired into a KAM Culture.Of course, that requires TRUST and VULNERABILITY. To lead from a position of trust means not pretending to know everything. Being comfortable saying ‘I don’t know’, ‘I got that wrong’, ‘I’m sorry’.This level of vulnerability will induce an attitude towards failure that embraces it in pursuit of learning and feedback. Ultimately eliminating the fear.In this episode you’ll hear Vince’s top three tips on implementing critical feedback into your business:TIP #1: A learning culture starts at the topAs leaders we need to be a student…alwaysTIP #2: Let people see what they can’t seeCreate ways for your team to be able to view or listen to their own client facing activity so that they can analyse their own performance.TIP #3: Have open sessionsYour peers can be your best coaches and guides - so give them the opportunity to listen, question, challenge and advise on what they would do if they were in your shoes. KILLER QUESTION SEGMENT:In each episode we ask you, our listener, a killer question that is designed to get you reflecting on your business, your KAM Culture and where changes in thinking and behaviour could lead to increased customer success.In this episode we asked Vince to give us his killer question which was:“Can you read anybody’s mind?”Vince says the answer is NO (of course). In his experience invariably people superimpose their own thoughts on to others…however more often than not…it’s wrong. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY GUEST: VINCE TICKELVince hails from an early background in brand marketing, working with businesses like Unilever, Bacardi-Martini, Bass and P&G. In later years he focussed on building teams and growing businesses to multi-million-pound enterprises.He has extensive experience across several categories across B2C and B2B sectors, and today he is the CEO and majority stakeholder at Hunter Luxury, a UK-based award-winning luxury packaging provider, and is the Chairman of a premium printer and office solutions business called Four Digital Solutions.Vince is not one to stand still. He is also the Group Chair for Central London for Vistage – a peer group organisation for high performing Managing Directors, CEO’s and Business Owners. With Vince’s business philosophy being ‘drive your business, don’t let it drive you’ – he gets to motivate, inspire and drive his members to do just that.When Vince is not at work, he enjoys spending free time with his wife Sue, a counselling Psychologist, their four children and way too many animals to count.You can find out more about him on the Vistage Central London Group page, or connect with him on LinkedIn.
41 minutes | Feb 18, 2021
#011 Great Answers to Tough Questions, with Michael Dodd
IN THIS EPISODE:What is the toughest question you have faced from your most important customers?What is the toughest question you have faced from you team?How did you handle those questions?Did you answer with confidence and finesse? Or did you crumble under the pressure and end up blurting out more that you would care to share?As a business leader, you will have undoubtedly faced some really tough questions over the years. Your ability to answer them will have played a really important role in the growth and success of your business.So, what happens when you are not around? How do the account managers in your business cope under the mounting pressure of a difficult and challenging question?Are the team naturally skilled in remaining cool, calm and collected under pressure or is this an area that needs development?In this episode, I talk to Michael Dodd, international speaker, consultant and author of “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work”.Michael works with organisations to help them deal more effectively – or EVEN more effectively – with those nightmare questions that people in business can get any time from clients, prospects, members of our own team, or even the media … particularly given the challenges we face in a climate affected by the disruption of the pandemic. Michael brings his experience as a political journalist from Australia - and as a foreign correspondent – where he was trained to ASK the toughest possible questions.But he now helps clients to ANSWER them. HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS EPISODE:In our conversation, I put these main questions over to Michael:Is this a skill that can be learned, or are we looking for natural ability to deliver confident answers under pressure?What can we learn from people we see in the news? Can we model what good looks like from what we see on the news?How can we handle some of the most common questions that send us into a spin when we are put on the spot by clients and new prospects?I would say that this episode does cause you to reflect inwardly on your own business and team and ask: “How would you rate your team in their ability to handle tough questions from your clients?”-Option 1: You feel confident in your team. Your action now then is: how would you model that so that new team members can also learn the art of giving great answers in your business?Option 2: This question causes your stomach to turn. Your next step then is to look at what you can do over the next few weeks to bolster this skillset and protect yourself from uncomfortable challenges.-Michael’s ‘first step’ advice is to start to evaluate your skillset on this by thinking about what the hardest question is that you and your team could be asked? And what’s the best thing (right now) that you can respond with, on that topic?If you are at risk of facing those - what Michael calls - ‘blow torch on the belly’ questions, it’s clear that we need to build a culture of planning, preparing and practising so that we are consistently and confidently READY with great answers. (I reckon these need to go into your KAM Plan structure somewhere!)With communication being a huge factor to the success or weakness of the relationships with your key accounts, this really is an area that needs focus on, in the same way that we would focus on how we communicate new features of our products or service. Don’t you think?Listen to the episode and let me know your experiences in tackling those tough questions. What’s your survival technique?KILLER QUESTION SEGMENTIn each episode we ask you, our listener, a killer question that is designed to get you reflecting on your business, your KAM Culture and where changes in thinking and behaviour could lead to increased customer success.In this episode we asked Michael to give us his killer question which was:“What is the worse question for you?”i.e. the one that you are secretly hoping (before you walk into THAT meeting)…that the customer won’t ask you?Once you have the question then reflect on what the best thing is that you CAN say on that topic?It’s worth saying too that Michael says as a precursor to the above – be sure to position your questions better too – ask them in a cleaner way without tainting your opinion into the question.FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY GUEST: MICHAEL DODDMichael is a Communication Specialist focussing on training clients to sharpen their skills in how to deal with tough questions from prospects, customers, staff, shareholders and the media.With a background in broadcast journalism, Michael has learnt at the coal-face how to react, respond and communicate at warp speed. In the past he has worked as the Berlin and London Correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), has filed reports from across Europe and the US, and covered events in Eastern Europe before, during and after the 1989 revolutions for the ABC, Radio New Zealand and the BBC World Service. AS if that wasn’t enough - he has worked as a political correspondent in the Australian capital, Canberra, for national and international current affairs programs, and is a visiting lecturer on broadcast journalism for MA students.Today, Michael draws on his rich media background & experience on camera, to teach entrepreneurs, professionals and business leaders how to tackle tough questions with confidence and finesse.You can find out more about him on his website, connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter. You can find out more about his Media Master Classes, and his book ‘Great Answers to Tough Questions at Work’.
38 minutes | Feb 4, 2021
#010 The Five Types of Talk Triggers with Jay Baer
IN THIS EPISODE:I continue my discussion with Jay Baer, Hall of Fame Keynote speaker and the author of SIX best-selling books which all point to the importance of the customer experience. One of those books is ‘Talk Triggers’ which delves into creating intentional mechanisms within the day to day carrying out of your business which spur your customers to CHOOSE to talk enthusiastically about you to their friends, colleagues and networks. This is without being prompted by you!This introduces the importance of having a contagious Word Of Mouth (WOM) strategy –which creates involuntary marketers out of your existing customers and ultimately wins you more business (for free!)If you haven’t listened to the first part of our conversation where we explained what a Talk Trigger is and what the structure of true and impactful Talk Trigger is >> make sure you listen to that one first (EP009 Crafting Talk Triggers with Jay Baer). It will help contextualise this second part to the conversation for you.In the first part to our interview - Jay talked about the criteria for a successful Talk Trigger. To qualify as a Talk Trigger, they need to be:𝙍𝙚𝙢𝙖𝙧𝙠𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚(truly worthy of remark and packed with detail that would make for great story telling)𝙍𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚(given the resources and financial investment that may be required to fulfil these experiences and consistently over time)𝙍𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙫𝙖𝙣𝙩(to your business, your industry and your customer demographic)𝙍𝙚𝙥𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚(becomes part of the business, and is available at scale to your most important customers, and beyond)With 91% of B2B decisions being influenced by word of mouth, it is so important that we consider the stories that our key contacts might be telling their networks and design experiences that feed them with great stories to tell.Have you ever wondered why a deal with a key account is stalling, not going anywhere fast or, at worst, heading in the direction of the competition?Do you know what stories your key contacts are telling about you when you are not in the room? HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS EPISODE:This episode really offers up some incredible insight and inspiration from Jay. You will not walk away disappointed in spending the 30mins with us. Plug us in when you next take a walk to get away from your desk.Jay walks us through the Five Types of Talk Triggers & shares some superb real-life examples of how businesses are using these types in their businesses. He also shares some superb real-life examples of how businesses are using these types in their businesses.The Five Talk Trigger Types are:Talk-able Generosity. Where you are not just giving your clients value for money, but also value for free.Talk-able Speed. Every customer cares about speed, and being nimble is often unexpected. With huge potential for B2B businesses in using pace and reaction times to differentiate, what can you do or improve within your working practices to optimise speed and delight your customers?Talk-able Usefulness. Being massively helpful and providing informational resources will never go a miss. Maybe you are helping clients to D-I-Y (knowing that your secret sauce is almost never secret.) By removing the fear of giving away too much simply hones in on the right clients who are desperate for your support. Remember that a list of ingredients doesn’t make someone a chef!Talk-able Empathy. Treating customers with empathy and care used to be the norm, however we have fallen by the wayside. In a world where empathy and compassion is key and we are often suffering from empathy deficit, businesses have a real opportunity to be different in this area.Talk-able Attitude. Are you ready to push the boundaries - be wacky and different and add attitude to experiences?This is a really interactive, fun and engaging episode to listen to. It is powerful in its simplicity as well. As David always says: KAM is a beautifully simple business skill. Adding a Talk Trigger to the mix – just makes sense.The book really is a great read and we’d love to hear from anyone who is picked up a copy and see what you think. What ideas do you have for creating a Talk Trigger in your business? (I’ve included a spotlight below on the book for you.)Can you create a Talk Trigger that feeds your key account contacts with the fuel for telling great stories - spreading the word and evangelising the great messages for you and your business?The objective is to motivate people to literally spill out and tell a story about your business, however in order to do this, we need to focus on our storyteller’s audience:What stories will they find remarkable?What do we need to do to empower people to tell those stories? (Think about the customer touch points on their journey with you).If you like this concept, where will you start?Remember that G-O-O-D is a 4-letter word and not just in the literal sense! DIFFERENT will be what makes the difference for great KAM Success, and incidentally DIFFERENT is what causes unprovoked chatter. (Jay reminds us that just being competent retains a customer – they expect you to be competent. You need to be DIFFERENT to create conversation and a spontaneous buzz about your brand (which comes from customers and not you). KILLER QUESTION SEGMENT:In each episode we ask you, our listener, a killer question that is designed to get you reflecting on your business, your KAM Culture and where changes in thinking and behaviour could lead to increased customer success.In this episode we asked Jay to give us his killer question. However, he gave a QUESTION that you can use to ask YOUR Customers:Please can you complete this sentence (in relation to working with you) :-You won’t believe what happened to me when…(insert here)What comes in the “(insert here)” …is your Talk Trigger. Perhaps you can make a start by asking your key contacts how they would describe what it’s like to work with you in 3 words? (That will get the ball rolling). SPOTLIGHT ON 'TALK TRIGGERS' - THE BOOK:Jay has created a lot of resources to help you on this journey – so be sure to buy the Book and take advantage of his and his co-author Daniel Lewin’s excellent insight into creating these remarkable moments.The Book contains: Proprietary research into why and how customers talk30+ detailed case studies of extraordinary results from big hitters like Doubletree Hotels by Hilton, The Cheesecake Factory, Penn & Teller and also dozens of delightful small and medium-sized businessesThe 4-5-6 learning system for creating and activating talk triggers in your businessClick here to learn more. You can easily buy the book on Amazon (available as an audio book too).If you get stuck and need help in really looking at the touch points in your customer journey in order to identify the opportunity for a Talk Trigger – we do this customer touchpoint work during our KAM Excel Programme, so do reach out and ask David more about this.FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY GUEST: JAY BAERJay Baer, CSP, CPAE has spent 27 years in digital marketing and customer experience, consulting for more than 700 companies during that period, including 36 of the FORTUNE 500. His current firm – Convince & Convert – provides content marketing, social media, and customer experience advice and counsel to some of the world’s most important brands.Jay is best described as one of the world’s most inspirational marketing, customer experience, and customer service keynote speakers. He is a Hall of Fame speaker and emcee, a New York Times best-selling author of six books and an Internet pioneer. As a 7th-generation entrepreneur, he has founded five, multi-million-dollar companies and today runs his digital strategy consulting and media firm, Convince and Convert. Jay has two College-age children and lives in the idyllic college town of Bloomington, Indiana with his wife and travels from Indianapolis to speaking opportunities world-wide.You can find out more about him on his speaking website, connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter. You can find out about his Talk Triggers Podcast, as well as his digital strategic consultancy, Convince and Convert.
29 minutes | Jan 21, 2021
#009 Crafting Talk Triggers with Jay Baer
IN THIS EPISODE:How many of your Key Account contacts have a story to tell about their (customer) experience of you?I am not talking about a prompted testimonial packed with marketing quotes, engineered to pitch your products and services to a new audience.I am also not meaning a review of the features and benefits they enjoy from using your solution or engaging in your service.I am rather referring to the kind of story that arises only from a truly REMARKABLE customer experience.One that… ensures that you stand out from your competition, and differentiates you from the overwhelming noise in your crowded marketAnd, more importantly, one that your contacts are delighted to spontaneously tell their network of peers, colleagues and friends...ultimately giving you the very best form of advertising (FOR FREE) - enabling you to win more business and influence wider stakeholders.My guest on this episode is a Hall of Fame Keynote speaker and the author of SIX best-selling books which all point to the importance of the customer experience. If you haven’t heard Jay Baer speak yet, you are in for a treat. We deep dive into his Talk Triggers concept. He shares his proven method of implementing a system (“Talk Triggers”) to help you to engineer your ability to provide your customers with the kind experiences that create spontaneous conversations and ultimately make your customers your volunteer marketers. HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS EPISODE:Firstly, just know that we had quite a conversation on this topic, so this episode is only the first part to our really animated chat. In this part, I talk to Jay about:what a Talk Trigger is;what are the defining criteria that separate a Talk Trigger from accidental, and often average, customer service moment; and lastlywhy having a Word Of Mouth (WOM) strategy is so important (for B2B and not just B2C businesses).It’s clear to me after this conversation with Jay that the real opportunity here is to look at this as an operational choice to engineer and orchestrate intentional experiences that are different to create conversations.The kind of conversations that will support you in influencing wider stakeholders and winning new business.Consider this: If 91% of B2B purchase decisions are influenced by word of mouth in some way, is your business in the 99% of businesses that DOES NOT currently have a word-of-mouth strategy? Wow. Pause on that for a second.After you listen to this episode, I’d invite you take 10minutes to reflect on your own business (maybe invite your team to do the same) before you dive into the second part of this conversation (goes live on 4 Feb 2021).Ask yourself: Do you have a WOM strategy?If so, what is it? Is it documented and shared as an actual process in your business?What does your business do for customers within the experience that isn’t just GOOD – it’s DIFFERENT (and would instantly delight and spur spontaneous story sharing?)What stories do your customers tell about you, your team and your brand?What ideas are you having, and where you can see the opportunity for creating an intentional Talk Trigger that is:Remarkable,Reasonable,Relevant, andRepeatableThose are the four criteria for a Talk Trigger – listen to the episode to get the real insight direct from Jay. (It is also handled in-depth in Section 2 in his Talk Triggers book – a must read!)SPOTLIGHT ON 'TALK TRIGGERS', THE BOOK: Jay has created a lot of resources to help you on this journey – so be sure to buy the Book and take advantage of his and his co-author Daniel Lewin’s excellent insight into creating these remarkable moments.The Book contains: Proprietary research into why and how customers talk30+ detailed case studies of extraordinary results from big hitters like Doubletree Hotels by Hilton, The Cheesecake Factory, Penn & Teller and also dozens of delightful small and medium-sized businessesThe 4-5-6 learning system for creating and activating talk triggers in your businessIt is available on Amazon.If you get stuck and need help in really looking at the touch points in your customer journey in order to identify the opportunity for a Talk Trigger – we do this customer touch point work during our KAM Excel Programme, so do reach out and ask me more about this. FIND OUT ABOUT MY GUEST: JAY BAERJay Baer, CSP, CPAE has spent 27 years in digital marketing and customer experience, consulting for more than 700 companies during that period, including 36 of the FORTUNE 500. His current firm – Convince & Convert – provides content marketing, social media, and customer experience advice and counsel to some of the world’s most important brands.Jay is best described as one of the world’s most inspirational marketing, customer experience, and customer service keynote speakers. He is a Hall of Fame speaker and emcee, a New York Times best-selling author of six books and an Internet pioneer. As a 7th-generation entrepreneur, he has founded five, multi-million-dollar companies and today runs his digital strategy consulting and media firm, Convince and Convert. Jay has two College-age children and lives in the idyllic college town of Bloomington, Indiana with his wife and travels from Indianapolis to speaking opportunities world-wide.You can find out more about him on his speaking website, connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter. You can find out about his Talk Triggers Podcast, as well as his digital strategic consultancy, Convince and Convert.
41 minutes | Jan 7, 2021
#008 Survive the speed of change - become an irreplaceable advisor
IN THIS EPISODEHow well have your client relationships faired against the almighty test that was 2020?With research suggesting that 68% of customers citing ‘perceived indifference’ as their top reason for leaving a supplier - have you lost customers by not remaining close enough to them? Or, by not fully understanding what they really needed from you, during the stormy waters of the pandemic.Perhaps you were led by political rhetoric and generalisations, which suggested that EVERYONE was facing financial ruin…leading you to discount and offer concessions through compassion? Did your strategy pay off or have you damaged the relationship - missing the customer’s need for confidence, clarity and clear leadership?In this episode David speaks to Jermaine Edwards, a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of The Irreplaceable Advisory Group and a Key Customer Growth Specialist. With more than 10yrs in sales, sales leadership and customer growth management, Jermaine now spends his time being invited by companies around the world like Gartner, Dell Technologies, London Business School and GE to create unique customer growth and loyalty strategies which make them irreplaceable in their market. To date Jermaine has helped his clients uncover more than $250 million in new and undiscovered revenue from existing customers. HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS EPISODEDavid was keen to understand Jermaine’s view on:why businesses may have lost important clients during the pandemicwhat we should all be doing to improve the retention of key accountswhy he believes that ‘retention’ is the wrong mindsethow a blame culture and silo working INTERNALLY leads to a real risk in EXTERNAL relationships.In a year where we were all in the same storm, but experiencing it in different boats (the highlight key phrase for 2020) - did you take enough time to understand what your customers needed from you to support them in navigating uncertainty?In a time of hyper-adaptation (now a real “thing”), what changes did you make in the way you manage your customers that will:-stand the test of time,pay back in dividends over time andcement customer loyalty…. and which changes will be reversed at your earliest opportunity?It was great to hear Jermaine’s thoughts on customer retention and we really love the notion of changing the mindset from retention to becoming irreplaceable.Jermaine suggests that we need to first ask ourselves: Why do we want to retain this customer? And then work on being intentional in our activity from there on out. Love that point of view.In the conversation, Jermaine underlines the importance of setting two-way expectations, having a clear vision for the customer relationship and becoming future-focussed in your conversations to cement future commitments.With blame being a choking hazard in business it’s important to be constantly on the lookout for the tell-tale signs of a blame culture. Deciding what kind of organisation we want to be internally will determine how we express ourselves externally. This fits in so well with the KAM Culture work we do with our KAMGuru clients.By becoming an irreplaceable advisor, we really do take the option for the customer leaving us …off the table. KILLER QUESTION SEGMENTIn each episode we ask you, our listener, a killer question that is designed to get you reflecting on your business, your KAM Culture and where changes in thinking and behaviour could lead to increased customer success.In this episode we asked Jermaine to give us his killer question which was:“Do you, your team, your dept, your business have a known, understood, practised and proven way to generate phenomenal relationship revenue retention results within your business with your most important customers?”If those things aren’t true for you – this is a great opportunity to sit down and get a shared understanding across your team and organisation. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY GUEST: JERMAINE EDWARDSJermaine is a serial entrepreneur, co-founder of The Irreplaceable Advisory Group and a Key Customer Growth Specialist. With more than 10 years-experience in sales, sales leadership and customer growth management, he has developed the 'Customer Ripple System' and 'Customer Mastery Programme' to help his clients make the impact they always knew was possible with their most important customers.Jermaine has been featured as a Customer Growth Author for Inc. Magazine and has personally trained and delivered talks to more than 4000 customer leaders, executives and teams for B2B businesses.With a Degree in German and Economics, and a Masters in Behavioural Psychology, Jermaine is invited by blue chip companies around the world to create unique customer growth and loyalty strategies which make them irreplaceable in their market. He has worked with brands like Gartner, Dell Technologies, London Business School and GE.You can find out more about him on his website, connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter. You can also find out about his Customer Ripple System and The Irreplaceable Advisory Group.
32 minutes | Dec 17, 2020
#007 Be a Value Creator, not a Cost Generator
IN THIS EPISODE:In today’s world we could categorise organisations into two camps: those that add value, and those that add COST.Why type of organisation are you?What is your definition of value?How will you know when you are adding and creating value for your customers?Do your most important clients know the extra lengths you go to provide them with unexpected, relevant and personalised value that is ultimately useful to them?With value being undefinable to many and different to each of your accounts, I wanted to peel back a few layers of this really big onion and explore value with our guest for this episode: Warwick Brown.As a fellow KAM “Activist”, Warwick’s mission is to help organisations leverage the power of key account management to accelerate client retention and revenue.He has more than 15 years’ experience in the field, leading business development and account management teams in Australia and Europe and working with some of the world's most prestigious firms, including Merck & Co, Deutsche Bank, McKinsey & Company and Vodafone.He has also recently launched The KAM Club – a private learning community that helps busy account managers get results.Listen to this episode to hear Warwick’s definition of value; where he feels the most mistakes are made by account managers when it comes to value; how we track and demonstrate what we are achieving for clients; and what today’s market has done to the value playing field in the B2B world.So, are you a value creator or a cost creator? Let us know once you have digested this packed episode.HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS EPISODE:If you can hold your hand on your heart and say that you create value for your key accounts…Do they know? Are you telling them? And, are you measuring it in the business?In a world where clients want and need more from you than ever before, Warwick shares his three tips, which are a great place to start:Ask your main contact at the client’s company about what they need to achieve and how you can help them.Create a highlight reel of all the good things you have done, ready to share in reviews with your accounts.Find a way to track and measure the value you create for clients - what are your lead measures that you monitor to guide you in the direction of success?With differentiation being a real challenge for so many businesses, what is your business the best at doing, the first to do or the only one doing?Value really isn’t a one size fits all and our job as key account managers is to identify what is important to different stakeholders and customise the value for each of them. Warwick reminds us to always ask the “so, what’s next” question.𝗞𝗜𝗟𝗟𝗘𝗥 𝗤𝗨𝗘𝗦𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡 𝗦𝗘𝗚𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗧:In each episode we ask you, our listener, a killer question that is designed to get you reflecting on your business, your KAM Culture and where changes in thinking and behaviour could lead to increased customer success.In this episode we asked Warwick to give us his killer question which was:“Write down two or three things, that make your company completely different. Unique qualities that nobody else can claim to do.”It’s a good place to start when trying to nail down your value.𝗤𝗨𝗜𝗖𝗞 𝗥𝗘𝗙 𝗧𝗢 𝗙𝗥𝗘𝗘 𝗥𝗘𝗦𝗢𝗨𝗥𝗖𝗘 𝗙𝗢𝗥 𝗧𝗛𝗜𝗦 𝗘𝗣𝗜𝗦𝗢𝗗𝗘:In line with this topic, we have designed a quick, free 5 PART KAM health check tool for you – if you want to temperature check how your organisation, team and systems fare on some of the topics we covered in this episode. The health check is delivered as short, bite size videos with some prompting questions to ask yourself and your team. (CLICK HERE FOR ACCESS) 𝗙𝗜𝗡𝗗 𝗢𝗨𝗧 𝗠𝗢𝗥𝗘 𝗔𝗕𝗢𝗨𝗧 𝗠𝗬 𝗚𝗨𝗘𝗦𝗧: 𝗪𝗔𝗥𝗪𝗜𝗖𝗞 𝗕𝗥𝗢𝗪𝗡Warwick is a Key Account Consultant and Founder of The KAM Club, has led business development and account management teams in Australia and Europe for more than 15 years. He has worked with some of the world's most prestigious firms including Merck & Co, Deutsche Bank, McKinsey & Company and Vodafone.His mission is to support in-house KAM Professionals with the right advice, tools and learning resources to boost their results. He also spends time educating organisations about the importance of leveraging the power of key account management which in turn to accelerates higher performing KAM Professionals, improved client retention and increased revenue.You can find out more about him on his website, connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter. You can find out about his learning community, The KAM Club as well.
34 minutes | Dec 3, 2020
#006 How can our systems support KAM success?
𝗜𝗡 𝗧𝗛𝗜𝗦 𝗘𝗣𝗜𝗦𝗢𝗗𝗘Picture the scene…You have just asked one of your top account managers to meet you and walk you through their account plan for your most important customer.You want to know what we know, what we don’t know, what we are planning to do and how we are going to achieve it.Sounds like a simple ask right?And now you stand back and watch as your account manager battles with half a dozen spreadsheets, a PowerPoint slide deck, an under utilised CRM System and overwhelmed email inbox.Where is the information? What is the intelligence? Do we have the right SYSTEMS in place?The role of technology is to SUPPORT the business, to make the life of an account manager more productive, more effective and ultimately more successful.The benefit of all of that for business leaders is clear – more visibility, more accountability and more control for the trajectory of where your top accounts are heading.My guest on this episode is Alex Raymond, CEO and founder of KAPTA, one of the world’s leading KAM Enablement tools. He’s joining us from Boulder, Colorado, across the pond in the States to discuss:What systems could we use, and should we have to support our teams in driving KAM success?Why the utilisation and adoption of new technology is woefully poor?And, ultimately ask ourself whether our systems support our success. 𝗛𝗜𝗚𝗛𝗟𝗜𝗚𝗛𝗧𝗦 𝗙𝗥𝗢𝗠 𝗧𝗛𝗜𝗦 𝗘𝗣𝗜𝗦𝗢𝗗𝗘: In a world where customers are easier to lose and harder to engage than ever before, it’s increasingly more important that we have the right systems in place to achieve consistency and visibility of our most important accounts.In the future of account management, the winners will be able to answer 3 simple questions:Which of my customers are healthy and which are at risk?Do I have clear actionable plans to keep and grow my accounts?Are we doing a good job of measuring and communicating the value we provide to our customer?With the use of technology, we can build an infrastructure to help get us there. Systems should be the support, the guide, the roadmap to success, to help us achieve trusted partner status, rather than ‘just another vendor’.𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘀𝘆𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗺𝘀 𝗱𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗯𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝘁𝗼𝗱𝗮𝘆?Are your systems being used to full effect? - I strongly believe in the GIGO effect when it comes to sales enablement tools – garbage in, garbage outAre your strategies supported by the systems or driven by them?Alex shared with me his top 3 tips for being more effective at account management, all of which can achieved in a notepad or on a napkin, and can be even more effectively supported by the right systems:Hone in on the customer’s goals when building an account plan – focus on building plans around what the CUSTOMER cares about.Hold ‘Voice of customer’ interviews – where the mission is to understand THEIR WORLD not YOUR OPPORTUNITIES - packed with open-ended, future-looking, strategic questions. Get the customer talking about themselves.Build a SWOT analysis – be thoughtful and objective and reflective. Remember to collaborate with team members to challenge perspective and understanding.Fantastic value packed episode. Be sure to listen.𝗞𝗜𝗟𝗟𝗘𝗥 𝗤𝗨𝗘𝗦𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡 𝗦𝗘𝗚𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗧:In each episode we ask you, our listener, a killer question that is designed to get you reflecting on your business, your KAM Culture and where changes in thinking and behaviour could lead to increased customer success.In this episode we asked Alex to give us his killer question which was:“If we were looking out at a time in the future (say 2 or 3 years): do you know why your biggest customer stayed with you in that period of time, or left during that period of time?”Alex says that you will more than likely expose risks and opportunities by asking yourself that question on a consistent basis and answering it honestly.𝗙𝗜𝗡𝗗 𝗢𝗨𝗧 𝗠𝗢𝗥𝗘 𝗔𝗕𝗢𝗨𝗧 𝗠𝗬 𝗚𝗨𝗘𝗦𝗧: 𝗔𝗟𝗘𝗫 𝗥𝗔𝗬𝗠𝗢𝗡𝗗Alex is the co-founder and CEO of Kapta.com, a customer experience mapping company based in Boulder, Colorado (US). Kapta is purpose-built for organisations who want to establish, expand, or improve their Key Account Management function. Their technology removes the busy guesswork from client services, so you can focus on the work that matters: building strong relationships.With an MBA from INSEAD and a Bachelor’s Degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, Alex is a smart man, with 20 years-experience in the customer experience software sector.You can find out more on his website, and he is also active on LinkedIn where he is happy to connect with you there. Kapta also hosts an event called KAMCon which is held in Colorado every year which you can check out.𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗨𝗣:In the next episode of KAMCAST, we will be talking to Warwick Brown, a fellow KAM Expert. We’ll be exploring VALUE at all it’s different levels and reflecting on how we can add value, and not cost to our most important customers.Warwick, a Key Account Consultant and Founder of the KAM Club, has led business development and account management teams in Australia and Europe for more than 15 years. He has worked with some of the world's most prestigious firms including Merck & Co, Deutsche Bank, McKinsey & Company and Vodafone.His mission is to support in-house KAM Professionals with the right advice, tools and learning resources to boost their results. He also spends time educating organisations about the importance of leveraging the power of key account management which in turn to accelerates higher performing KAM Professionals, improved client retention and increased revenue.
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