Key Account Manager Sonia Riveiro

Sonia Riveiro is Key Account Manager. She is responsible of managing, centralizing and coordinating relations between the company for which she works and its customers. The main objective of her work is to manage a lasting and quality commitment.

We talked with Sonia about the tools she uses on a daily basis in her work. We reflect on the importance of not only managing the good relationship between Key Account Manager and clients but between this professional and the company for which he or she works.

On the other hand, we also take advantage of Sonia’s experience working with large accounts to ask her about their peculiarities. She answers our doubts about when we can be considered a large company, the differences in approach to strategies depending on the size of the company and how we have to act if we aspire to become a great account.

What exactly is a Key Account Manager? Its duties?

A KAM is the reference figure that manages, centralizes and coordinates the commercial, strategic and business relationship of a client within a company, aligning interests and generating synergies.

One of the most relevant points of the job is to build and maintain a lasting relationship over time that links both the client and the company in the long term, entrenched in a relationship of trust.

A KAM does not focus solely on selling, but on creating a link that goes beyond selling. The KAM is the main figure that comes to mind when you have a need that is often not entirely clear, and you need to land it so that a business opportunity can be built.

The KAM must endorse that need and help the client to achieve his or her goal. As I said, a relationship is established beyond a pure sale, it is a relationship of trust.

 

What tools cannot be missing from a Key Account Manager in your daily work?

A CRM can be a great help, but more than a tool in itself, I would say that the basis of a KAM’s work must be an adequate organization.

Many companies work with very powerful tools while others use less sophisticated tools, everything will depend on the type of client, the complexity of the projects addressed by the organization, the amount and levels of dialogue by that client, etc.

But I insist, whatever is used, the most important thing is to be methodical and organized. A client is mainly looking for a benchmark in the company that has its needs, projects and requests properly managed, giving it an additional value every day beyond pure management. This is only achieved with method and organization.

 

How important is managing the relationship between the Key Account Manager and the company for which you work? How do we create that same trust in the client?

In recent years, especially large companies, they have begun to value this job as a key figure within the organization.

Customers are increasingly demanding things, either because they seek differentiation, positioning, innovation etc. Very often they look for solutions that move away from the standard, so it is very positive that organizations have a figure with a transversal vision that is capable of transferring such fundamental aspects to the organization as exactly what is the need, importance, aspect of business to cover, the criticality in terms and, finally, providing the client with an already integrated and customized solution.

IThe objetive is that the client see the KAM as the person who is going to help him materialize the result he is looking for. As I said before, it is not about selling, it is about building a lasting relationship, based on principles as simple as honesty, credibility and commitment, being the sale simply the natural consequence of the whole process.

 

“The KAM is the main figure that comes to mind when you have a need that is often not entirely clear, and you need to land it so that a business opportunity can be built.”Sonia Riveiro

How is business development for large accounts different from that of a smaller company?

When we think about business development we always tend to associate it with the final objective, the sale. However, we all know that the needs of a large company and a smaller company are manifestly different.

A large company with a significant market share, in addition to generating business, needs, above all, to retain and evolve it. In that sense, the commercial profile will be more of a “farming” style, that is, it will focus on generating value through existing customers, carrying out what is known as consultative sales.

A smaller company gives more value to the closing of new contracts, so the profile you will look for will be what is known as “hunting”, based on a figure that maximizes the number of calls, meetings, presentations, and proposals to materialize the sales

As there are different types of companies, in the development of business there must be different profiles to respond to different needs.

 

In that same context, when can we consider a company “big? What aspects should we look at?

The concept of a “big” company is increasingly volatile. It makes more and more sense that we focus on the client and the dependence that the results of our organization have on certain clients. Regardless of the size of your company, if a client is so relevant that losing it can compromise the objectives or even the continuity of the company, you must ensure that a figure representing you and establishing a solid alliance between your organization and the client.

 

What recommendations would you give us if we aspire to become a great company?

Planning your goals, measuring them and sizing you properly should be the basic pillars. Something fundamental is segmentation.

Knowing what type of client you have, who you are going to address and how your experience with you should be is crucial to plan and optimize business efforts in a realistic way.

It is not the first time that there are KAMs that aim to sell a lot and to all but in the medium term they prove that they do not obtain the great results that had been raised.

In short, it is about having a strategy, knowing how far you want to go and how much effort you can devote to getting it.

 

How important are digitalization and new technologies in the expansion and mobility of a company?

From my point of view and experience I would say that it is essential, fundamental.

I am convinced that, even today, even the smallest company has established some kind of synergy, even if it is basic, between technology and its business model.

The truth is that digitalization is flooding all sectors and changing many businesses and companies. Like all developments, not all solutions will materialize in long-term products.

However, we are seeing that the adoption of big data systems or based on artificial intelligence or learning, to give two very clear examples, are great tools to monitor and optimize processes, increase productivity and connect customers with the company.

The new technologies are allowing companies to have a greater knowledge of their customers, helps them make better decisions and offer individualized experiences through different channels such as websites, mobile applications, social networks … etc that allows them to interact immediately and more Direct with the end user.

Offering your services through different channels, individually for each client, with a well-designed customer journey and in an agile way is essential if you want to grow with guarantees and consolidate your position in a solid way in the long term.

 

What recommendations can you give us if we seek to internationalize our brand?

Be flexible and listen to your client. These concepts are very important to me and sometimes we don’t give them the value they should have.

I think that very few companies can afford to impose their criteria in any market because the peculiarities of the environment and the characteristics of the customers mean that what is valid in one market is not 100% in another.

If you want to succeed globally, you may have to reformulate your model and adapt it to the local market, transferring the criteria of your company based on globalization to criteria based on glocalization.