GAM Reloaded #4: Generating support for the programme
- Post 1: Introducing GAM Reloaded
- Post 2: Typology of International Clients
- Post 3: Strategic options on International Accounts
In this post, we move closer to the real work – design and implementation – looking at how to generate support for a KAM/GAM programme within the organization.
Use dialogue and be as transparent as possible
Designing, implementing or simply revamping a KAM/GAM programme has an impact on the whole business and on many people. Being as transparent as possible and using a dialogue-based process will help reduce resistance and generate support. This does not mean that programme design should be a democratic process and result from a vote but taking information and opinion from key people and using it in a genuine way, will create awareness and interest for the project. This implies of course that the programme owner is willing to rely on flexibility and will avoid imposing a too rigid system.
Link the programme to the overall strategy
We have seen in previous posts that a really good KAM/GAM programme even if aiming at a stronger profitable growth should also have qualitative strategic objectives. Therefore the programme should be designed and communicated within the frame of the company’s strategy. For example, highlight how the programme will make the organization stronger and how it will help develop and sell the most innovative part of the offering.
Balance the local and global views
A main cause of resistance to KAM/GAM programme, not to mention revolt and sabotage, is the perception by local management and teams that it conflicts with their interest. As much as possible, these conflicts should be avoided or managed. For example, implementing Client segmentation and best practice for KAM should be started at local level so that the international side of the programme is perceived as a logical extension. Where a conflict is unavoidable – for example when related to a difficult choice in terms of production site – the situation must be handled with care by the leadership team.
Feature the KAM programme in the company’s global objectives
Not only the programme must be placed within the frame of the strategy, but it must also be reflected in the company’s yearly goals. This also means that the programme must support other key initiatives such as developing talents, retaining clients and sustaining product innovation.
Define a compelling balanced score card
Unless it makes the management of objectives too complex, the KAM programme should have its own balanced score card. Along revenue and profitability metrics, the score card should measure success in terms of client relationship (satisfaction, retention), impact on the leading edge offering, team morale and development. Relevant objectives should be cascaded to teams and people according to their function and to their contribution to the programme.
Make leading Key Accounts an attractive career path
Working on a Key Account at all level of seniority and being in charge of leading a Key Account team must be a valued career path. Make sure HR are involved into this process and position working on KAM/GAM as one of the best opportunities the company has to offer (and make it real!).
Make local senior management accountable
All local and international, senior managers (at least the leadership team and local leaders) should be accountable for the programme’s overall success. Of course taking care of operations can be delegated, but senior managers should be measured on maintaining the conditions that will lead to performance (like in any other areas). Too many KAM/GAM programmes are just ignored – when they are not torpedoed – by local senior managers without any consequence for them.
Plan an escalation process to manage crisis
Don’t dream, conflicts of interest will happen! You have to be realistic and plan an escalation path to handle them. This will help protect the programme and leadership team credibility when problems occur. Of course, problems need to be handled rapidly, consistently and in a transparent way.
Stating the obvious? Well ….
The elements listed above sound obvious and they apply to any important project that impacts the whole company. However, experience shows that very few companies have all of these in place. Those who do usually benefit from a higher acceptance for the programme. They also have less drama when facing tense or ambiguous situations.
In the next post, we will focus in the Client segmentation and the selection of Key Accounts.