PODCAST

KAMCast - Key Account Management Strategies for Business Leaders

David Ventura | KAMGURU.com

A show hosted by me, David Ventura, a specialist in training, educating and consulting on practical strategies for harnessing the power of Key Account Management (KAM) in SME’s today. I am also the principal KAM consultant and Managing Director of www.kamguru.com. In a world of diminishing customer loyalty, what can business leaders do to retain their top customers, while still adding value. In this podcast I explore some hands-on tips and tactics you can implement today – to remarkably shift your sales culture in your business. The episodes are designed to challenge your thinking and preconceptions of “sales”. They will teach you techniques for: - protecting your most important customers from competitors; - building & maintaining profitable partnerships with your key contacts; & - developing the strategies, systems & skills to deliver customer growth (i.e. identify, retain and grow your top ten customers). I am joined by business leaders who have learnt to radically shift their culture and attitude towards sales, and empower their business with the ability to grow rapidly from within. I also invite experts in the fields of leadership, coaching and customer experience to share their insights into the psychology of sales, organisational culture and leading business growth. In the modern, digitally-heightened business world we operate in today, can you afford to be flippant about your top customers, and why they choose to work with you? No, you cannot. I invite you to subscribe to KAMCast and listen openly as I challenge you to reimagine your customer success protocols and relationship strategies.

#027 Account Management is Where Marketing Starts, with Bryony Thomas
11-11-2021
#027 Account Management is Where Marketing Starts, with Bryony Thomas
IN THIS EPISODE...Sales and Marketing is like stealing your neighbour’s cat…and in this episode, I talk to Bryony Thomas at Watertight Marketing to find out why. Bryony is the creator of the Watertight Marketing methodology, captured in her best-selling book of the same name which acts as the hub to a suite of thinking tools that have been designed and refined over two decades and across over 2000 organisations.  - - - 𝗕𝗥𝗬𝗢𝗡𝗬 𝗧𝗛𝗢𝗠𝗔𝗦 𝗕𝗜𝗢: Bryony is an award-winning speaker, author, marketing strategist and the creator of the proven Watertight Marketing Methodology. She stops people from wasting money on marketing. In 2008, she left her corporate role as Director of Marketing for Experian, a FTSE100 company, and set up her own consultancy. She believes that small businesses are a real lever of meaningful and sustainable change in the world, and she has built a proven methodology to help them to do just that. Through her 12-month marketing transformation programme, book and speaking she reaches audiences far and wide, and today also has a team of licensed Watertight Marketing Practitioners. 𝗗𝗔𝗩𝗜𝗗 𝗩𝗘𝗡𝗧𝗨𝗥𝗔 𝗕𝗜𝗢: David is the principal KAM Consultant & Managing Director at KAMGuru.com, a specialist Key Account Management training and consultancy business, based in the UK. David is a Speaker, Author and Performance Coach with more than a decade of hands-on and consultative experience in sales and management roles in the leisure, entertainment and telecoms industries.
#026 Getting Closer to the Close, with David (Ledge) Ledgerwood
28-10-2021
#026 Getting Closer to the Close, with David (Ledge) Ledgerwood
IN THIS EPISODEHow strong is your account management team when it comes to the skills of closing new business? I’m not talking about taking repeat orders from happy clients here. I’m talking about applying the art of winning new business, creating opportunities, and closing deals, with existing customers. In this episode, I am joined by Nashville-based David ‘Ledge’ Ledgerwood, Managing Partner at Add1Zero, a business that provides lead-to-close sales execution for tech-enabled B2B service companies ready to take the leap from 6 to 7-figure annual revenue. He and his team spend their days, week in week out, sharpening the tools and crafting the processes for maximising revenue and sales opportunities. David truly is the expert here having personally closed more than $40million worth of deals in his career (with an average deal size of $150k plus).   HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS EPISODE:  With Ledge’s deep-rooted experience and expertise in predominantly selling software and services, and an impressive track record of having helped several companies grow from $0 to $5million in sales – I was keen to tap into his brain and find out: how he and his team define the sales process, what great onboarding looks like for him and how key account managers can use a methodical approach to insight-led selling (where every team member who interacts with clients is feeding information and intelligence back into the business to enable better marketing, better selling and great account management) How informed is your sales approach? Are you and your team acting as intelligence agents who are able to feed powerful insights into your sales approach back into the business? Thus providing higher levels of value to your key account customers and ultimately creating more opportunities for account growth? For me, Ledge’s approach clearly works well for him and his team, I love the intentionality in his work. You will have your own processes and ways of engaging with accounts and onboarding new customers, and it’s always nice to hear how other people work to then decide if there are any great ideas, new or otherwise, that could enhance our account management approach. Did you hear something you liked? Or perhaps disagreed with? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Do get in touch and let me know what you’d like you to hear more of as well. Like many of the episodes on KAMCast, LEARNING is the running theme and again, after listening to Ledge - we see more examples of how important it is to close the gap between sales and other departments.    FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY GUEST: DAVID (LEDGE) LEDGERWOODDavid (‘Ledge’) is the Co-founder and Managing Partner at Add1Zero, a business that provides lead-to-close sales execution for B2B services and tech companies ready to take the leap from 6 to 7-figures. With start-up founder, executive, and sales experience spanning more than a decade, Ledge has led growth efforts at several companies into the 7-and 8-figure revenue stages. In his career in sales, he has amassed an impressive deal closure sum of $40M, with an average deal size in excess of $150,000. You can find out more about him on (his website,) connect with him (on LinkedIn) or follow him on (Twitter.)
#025 Selling Through Partnering, with Fred Copestake
14-10-2021
#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 important customers?” 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...
#024 Perfect Your Communication Style with Practice
30-09-2021
#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 ABC Consider 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 yours The 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 KAM Walk 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...
#023 The Loyalty Loop, with Drew Davis
16-09-2021
#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 anticipation Maximise the honeymoon phase Re-inspire them Answering their trigger questions Scale comradery (at KAMGuru we refer to this as KAM being a team sport) Remove friction from the experience Crucial concern (YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS ONE) Through our really interactive discussion we talk about: identifying moments of commitment engineering 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 competition My 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...
#022 A Conversation about Race in KAM, with Sharon Amesu
02-09-2021
#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 relationships What 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 relationships What 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 the biases 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...
#021 CX – A serious opportunity to add value as a KAM Pro
29-07-2021
#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 -
#020 The evolution of a key account manager, with Chris Ortolano
08-07-2021
#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 world focus on the front-end of the sales process, not the backend (closing) talk about return on investment, not products and services say 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 own play it long – understanding that genuine relationships take time understand what customers’ expectations are follow-up and stay connected, even if they do not win the business Today’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...
#019 Employee Engagement in a Hybrid Working World, with Robert Hicks & Lou Kwakye
10-06-2021
#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 and what 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: Cooperation Collaboration Coordination and Communication Perhaps 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...
#018 Mapping your way to success, with Ian Windle
27-05-2021
#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 for early 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 contact customer satisfaction responses the number of decision makers we are connected to and actively engaging with the number of open issues is 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 business How we measure success and performance across all levels of the business How to foster transparency and accountability team-wide in your organisation Where to start with KPI’s and metrics in a sales team My 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...
#017 Five Reasons your KAM Programme is Failing
13-05-2021
#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 heard When 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 fire We 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 time The 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...
#016 The ‘Next’ Normal, a KAM Industry reflection with Warwick Brown
29-04-2021
#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.
#015 Mind the Intergenerational Gap with Henry Rose Lee
15-04-2021
#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 are How those differences play out in the workplace, particularly in a virtual working environment How communication styles, techniques and strategies will vary across the ages and where ‘clashes’ are likely to happen How, as leaders, we can drive higher levels of engagement and motivation from our younger teams Ultimately 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...
#014 KAM and COVID, One Year On
01-04-2021
#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
#013 What does a strategic conversation look like?
18-03-2021
#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 context Why 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...
#012 When you lose…don’t lose the learning, with Vince Tickel
04-03-2021
#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, and c.    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 top As leaders we need to be a student…always TIP #2: Let people see what they can’t see Create 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 sessions Your 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...
#011 Great Answers to Tough Questions, with Michael Dodd
18-02-2021
#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...
#010 The Five Types of Talk Triggers with Jay Baer
04-02-2021
#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...
#009 Crafting Talk Triggers with Jay Baer
21-01-2021
#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 market And, 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 lastly why 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, and Repeatable Those 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 talk 30+ 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 businesses The...