3 Essential Qualities of a Good Key Account Manager

What are the qualities of a great key account manager? Experience counts, so does skill. But there's always a little something more that makes someone stand out.

You don't want to settle for "average" do you? 

No-one wants to be described that way.  Here are some qualities that will transform your key account management style if you embrace them.

Success and recognition will surely follow.

1. Leadership

Leadership is about inspiring other people to join you in achieving a goal.

It's not rocket science and it's not a title bestowed on you by Her Majesty or by your boss.

It's a mindset. And your heart and your head are aligned.

Have a unique perspective and share your point of view.  It's so inspiring to see someone who isn't afraid to express their opinions.

Take risks.

Leaders are bold ... and so are good key account managers.

Your clients need you to share your opinion and advice to guide them to get the most value from your solution.

Encourage your clients to be brave and give them the safety, security and freedom to know they can make choices that will challenge the status quo.

Embrace these qualities and you will lead your client to success.

2. Charisma

Charisma is a very misunderstood quality.  You don't need to be some great, big, outgoing, life of the party kind of person to have charisma. You don't need to be the centre of attention. It's a completely different thing.

But that doesn't mean you can't have a personality.  Bring those little quirks of yours to life.  I always respond to account managers that walk into a room with great energy and a certain something that makes you sit up and take notice.

How do you get charisma?

  • Be happy. Be joyful.  Be at peace with the world or life.  Or at least fake it until you make it.  Nothing is perfect and good account managers are optimists. Have you ever been around people who are positive and energetic?  It’s contagious, don’t you think?
  • Be confident. There's a really big difference between asking questions and questioning yourself. Good account managers don't doubt their abilities. Know that you can deliver on your promise to help your customers. Show that you believe in success and your customers will believe it too.
  • Show empathy. Be an active listener.  That means hearing what your customers are actually saying.  What are their pains and challenges?  How can you understand them better and connect with your clients’ situation?

The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism

What you'll find here is practical magic: unique knowledge, drawn from a variety of sciences, revealing what charisma really is and how it works. You'll get both the insights and the techniques you need to apply this knowledge. The world will become your lab, and every person you meet, a chance to experiment.

3. Authenticity

A good key account manager must be authentic.  Earn trust and credibility through honesty. So how do you do that?

Simply tell the truth.

It's so much better to be upfront especially if you know:

  • you won't be able to get them to where they need to go.
  • your solution is not right for them.
  • you can't do something.

Honesty won't destroy your relationship.  In fact, sharing the truth about what will or won't work for your client will go a long way to establishing trust and credibility.

Be generous with your advice.  A good account manager shares the benefits of their experience with their clients - even when there are no dollars attached.

Show genuine appreciation for their business and don't take your clients for granted.

Say thank you.

3 qualities that make a good key account manager

Warwick Brown

Warwick Brown has led business development and account management teams in Australia and Europe for more than 15 years and worked with some of the world's most prestigious firms, including Merck & Co, Deutsche Bank, McKinsey & Company and Vodafone. As the founder at Account Manager Tips, his mission is to help organisations leverage the power of key account management to accelerate client retention and revenue.


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