In this short video (4 minutes) I address some KAM Basics – Bowties and Diamonds (Video). What key client relationships look like when they are a bowtie or diamond configuration.
(Video script KAM Basics – Bowties and Diamonds)
Hi I’m Kim Tasso
And today I am going to talk about an idea to help client relationship management which is often used in Key Account Management programmes.
It focuses on the need to convert a BOWTIE relationship into a DIAMOND relationship
So let me start with the BOWTIE (draw)
Imagine you have a major client where you are in the contact with a number of different people – different levels of seniority and different roles in the decision making unit
In a traditional BOWTIE relationship there is one person at your firm with overall responsibility for managing and developing that relationship
So they become a vital channel through which all communications flow. That’s good in some respects as it allows control and co-ordination
However, There are two issues here.
First, if anything happens to the key person in your firm or client-side you are at risk of losing that relationship
Second, the others in your firm have less involvement and responsibility and you are not growing future leaders – there’s no succession planning
A simple evolution might be to place ANOTHER person in take joint responsibility – so the client has another channel. This reduces the risk of client loss if anything happens to the two key people. And this might also be good for promoting other parts of the business – for cross-selling.
Now let’s consider the DIAMOND arrangement
An early aim of many KAM or ABM programmes is to empower more people in the organisation to take a role in business development – by forming close relationships with their peers in the client organisation.
In this model – many people in your firm form close relationships with their peers client-side.
Sometimes this is called zippering.
Naturally there is still a key person overseeing, co-ordinating and managing the relationship from both your firm’s perspective and one doing the same at the client organisation
But the relationship is stronger as it is NOT reliant or at risk if one of those key people moves
And we build in succession to the relationship – as the junior people move up the organisation, so do their peers client-side
So. Think about your key clients – are your relationships more bow tie or diamond?
What can you do to move your key client relationships from bowties to diamonds?
But of course you should always remember that a key aim of KAM is to deliver real value to your client – so make sure your KAM programme isn’t just focused on the needs of and benefits to your firm.