Strategic Key Account & Portfolio Management

Marketing Institute of Singapore - Executive Development

Course introduction

Top accounts come with a double edged sword - while they contribute a sizeable portion to your company's bottomline, they become the target of competition that constantly tempt them with better offering and price discounts. In addition to the competitive attacks, key accounts often exercise their heavyweight pressures by demanding more for less as they know their bargaining power with the strategic vendors. It is quite common that account teams while managing the key accounts become too operational in the day-to-day and lose sight of the need to be proactive, nurturing and developing the account more strategically. Sophisticated buyers today have access to a borderless market and more information through the power of the internet. As the business environment becomes more competitive, vendors are now seen as a critical extension to help the client achieve their goals. With an effective key account plan, vendors unwittingly corner themselves into accepting price discounts as a retention strategy without realising that they could be booted out by the next vendor who can provide a better price or a better value proposition. As we enter a turbulent economy of wobbly fundamentals and a shaky economic outlook, we need to adopt a proactive approach to handling our core assets, our top customer base by systematically crafting a clear plan of action to achieve the competitive edge for your customers' needs and their business outcomes.

Target Audience

This course is designed for anyone who is responsible for the strategic direction of the customer accounts. Typical designations that have found this course useful are those who are strapped with a lean account sales team who strive to improve the growth of their installed base. Past attendees titles include Group or Senior Sales Managers, Account Directors, Account Managers and National Account Managers.

In addition, senior leaders who are spearheading the areas of business development, product marketing management and country marketing are recommended to attend to achieve a better understanding of a customer-driven approach to strategy planning. Past attendees titles include Business Development Directors, Product Management Directors, New Product Commercialization Managers and Marketing Directors.

As the definition of a key account varies widely between organisations and industry-type, we define that it is any account or customer that is either large or important to your business growth and therefore needs one-to-one managing in order to ensure good relations and a productive win-win for both vendor and customer.

Course Outline

Part 1: How to use key account management as a tool beyond the planning process

  • Self-test checklist: Assessing if you need a key account management plan
  • The power of leveraging your key accounts during such turbulent economic conditions
  • The benefits of key account planning in competitive strategy development
  • Risk of implementing a weak key account plan
  • Nurturing your account from a vendor-supplier status to a collaborative trusted partner
  • Group Discussion: Analysing the advantages and disadvantages of a collaborative relationship with your key customers
Part 2: How to understand your customer profile besides their annual purchases
  • Self-test checklist: Is your organisation customer-driven enough to support a key account plan?
  • Re-thinking your role vs. the dynamic role and challenges faced by the purchasing function
  • The expectations of a purchasing unit in vendor relationship beyond the standard contract term and why you cannot command a premium price advantage?
  • "The Discipline of Market Leaders" and differentiation amongst world-class vendors
  • Adopting competitive strategies at an account by account level
  • Group Discussion: Dow Chemical and its purchasing approach – identifying the value-add factor from the vendor
Part 3: How to build customer intelligence to understand the health of the account
  • What is a key customer and is it a pure revenue or margin approach?
  • How to develop a ranking system for your customer base to identify who the key customers are?
  • Identifying target accounts by developing the customer attractiveness criteria for evaluation
  • Adapting the BCG matrix to develop the customer strategy grid to focus on a value-add proposition for a potential segment
  • Four basic strategies to increase the key customer business opportunity
  • Group Discussion: Dell direct model and the strategic advantages of the direct model
Part 4: How to create an effective key account team in your organisation
  • Reviewing the turnover vs. the optimal resources allocated to support the plan
  • How can you improve your sales forecasting by differentiating the customer type?
  • Tracking internal resource activity management to prevent insufficient allocation
  • Key account team and areas of responsibilities defined using the P&G Account team example
  • Example of a customer service team matrix that break down traditional functional barriers
  • Garnering senior management support and its advantages to your team
  • Group Discussion: Defining a team structure when you have a lean team
Part 5: How to dive deeper to fully understand the unspoken needs of the key account
  • Leverage key account planning to develop a partnership approach with your customers
  • Relating the Michael Porter 5 Force Analysis® and competitive vulnerability
  • Analyse your customer's competitive challenges with the SWOT technique
  • Group Discussion: Developing the SWOT impact MacDonald's fast food chain of restaurants and the market demand for a healthier choice
  • Using the annual customer performance review process to summarise their business performance, market share and financial performance
  • Group Discussion: Selecting a criteria to understand your customer's business model
Part 6: How to develop a compelling value proposition that impresses your customers
  • Porter Internal Value Chain ® and the crux of vendor positioning within the customer's business mode of operations
  • Understanding incremental expectation of customers from long-term strategic vendor and the danger of ignoring this request
  • Identifying how vendor can value-add to the different needs of your customers apart from cost and quality
  • Group Discussion: Developing a value chain for your key account and aligning your offering to his/her business outcome
  • Pressures that a buyer face beyond price
  • Customer buying process and the decisions attached to each area
  • Group Discussion: Seeing the elephant – achieving a multiple-touch point strategy to flank your key account
Part 7: How to transform your competitive attacks into a strategic advantage
  • The value of vendor competitive comparison analysis for your key account
  • Understanding your position vs. the competitor and the perception from the customer's viewpoint
  • Why you should never discount the perception of the customer's view of your competitor
  • Strategies to use when your competitor offers an irresistible offer to your customer
  • Conducting an annual client performance appraisal dialogue to uncover needs
  • Group Discussion: Developing a mission for each key account
Part 8: How to prepare ahead to ensure that I have traction to follow through and see results
  • Adapting your growth strategies to develop your account in turbulent times
  • Identifying the key success factor of your organisation and addressing roadblocks early
  • Action program templates to guide your annual key account initiative and progress
  • Trend of linking key account planning to relationship marketing and its advantages
  • Organising and creating a high performance key account team
  • Group Discussion: Building an effective SWAT Key Account Team using the Belbin model to handle difficult clients

Available Course Sessions

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Trainer Profile

Regina Chua

Regina Chua is a global corporate veteran who has spent more than fifteen years holding various regional management positions in multinational corporations, specialising in marketing and business development of cutting-edge new technology solutions in Asia-Pacific for both industrial and consumer industries.

Her past seven years in China and Asia focused on sales and marketing development and new business market penetration initiatives in companies like Scott Paper, Apple Computer and Compaq Asia Pacific.

Her hands-on approach in global IT companies such as Verisign Inc., Schlumberger International Industries Asia, Compaq, Kimberley Clarke and Ogilvy Direct has proven that her strategies work, thus validating her frameworks and processes, which have become the key to translate business plans into successful sales achievements. Her strategic and operational approaches were highly effective in localising and adapting regional plans to maximise sales and marketing effectiveness across diverse cultures and business practices.

Regina brings a powerful blend of corporate veteran, consultant and trainer experience to the workshop. She has provided inhouse and public sales training for more than 1,200 executives and managers in just 18 months for MNCs and SMEs. Understanding the challenge of the Asian B2B consumer, the outcome of the workshop is evident by her impressive customer credentials and testimonials of the improved sales performance.

Regina holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the National University of Singapore in 1988. She earned her MBA in Strategic Marketing from the University of Hull, United Kingdom in 2000 and a Diploma in Action-based Training from the Atlantic International University, USA in 2003. She also attended the highly acclaimed profession executive development programme, Developing Strategic B2B Opportunities at the prestigious Thunderbird University in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. She is also a certified behavioral consultant with DISC personality profiling.

Today, Regina provides business consultancy for those who need practical, down-to-earth solutions strategic business plan, go-to-market strategy and deployment, marketing strategy and planning and sales force management. Consulting clients today included global leaders and leading SMEs in Singapore and the region.

She is also a pioneer in developing B2B training workshops such as B2B Marketing Strategy, B2B Key Account planning and management, B2B Lead Generation Development in Asia for companies in Asia. Most participants come from the Fortune 500 and Singapore 1000 companies such as Philips, British Council, Dupont, Boston Scientific, NEC, Osram and Elsevier.