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ISMM Key account expert

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ISMM Key account expert

  1. 1. 48 WINNING EDGE KEY ACCOUNT EXPERT Winning Edge meets key account growth expert, JERMAINE EDWARDS What is your current role? I’m a speaker, coach and author specialising in growing key accounts. I’ve founded and run my own consultancy helping key account managers and business-to-business professionals retain and grow their high value customers. You can find out more about me at www.jermaineedwards.com How long have you been working in a sales-related role? I’ve been in sales for more than 10 years. Before founding my company, I was in key account management and senior account management roles for seven years. I didn’t so much find my current role as graduate to it. If you could imagine a young, hungry, rough around the edges, east London charmer, that was me. The only thing was, I was using skills I had crafted naturally, but without consciously applying them to selling. When I saw the powerful combination of these skills and ‘intentionality’ – targeting the skills on a deliberate process and objective – represented by selling, well, that’s when my success increased. I was given the opportunity to look at much larger accounts based on those selling skills and crafts I had worked on – skills such as building rapport, creating trusted environments and developing messages that echo the story of the customer. I haven’t left it since and I’m still learning. What do you like about the role? For me, it’s the problem solving. It’s looking at the challenge and working out the ‘lightbulb moment’ that moves the sales professional or client from a position of stress to one of success. What do you like least? By far, it’s the admin and waiting. In those moments when I know it is not within my capacity to focus on or enjoy something, I’ve learnt to automate, delegate and ask for help quickly. There are always certain things you have to do whether you enjoy them or not, but there are also a lot you don’t. What’s changing in your industry? The biggest change is the shift to customer success being not about a platform or technology but the slow re-realisation that it’s about one-to-one relationships. This highlights the importance of the sales rep, their relationship to the customer, their knowledge and the real time insight they give back to their companies. Key account management, among the many terms that it’s known by, is more than a set of strategies, graphs and SWOT analyses. The real success comes from the tactical day-to-day implications of how we build trust, reduce risk to purchase, make meaningful and influential connections and create value that matters. What are your biggest challenges? The honest answer is myself and how fast I can learn, implement and grow. The other answer is doing what I love, but not losing sight of the goal, which is building a company that will help change the way key account management professionals engage with their customers forever. There will always be challenges, but I find the biggest are always those that require you in the middle. What skills do you think are most important to your role? There are three main skills that are important or helpful to being successful in this role: patience, persistence and passionate practice. You need the patience to wait for success, the persistence to pursue it despite inevitable challenges and setbacks, and the passionate practice to strive to be better at it. If you have those three things in mind, all the other skillsets will follow, like building trust or adapting your message to different audiences. How do you benefit from the ISMM? Well, for one thing, I’m a big fan of Winning Edge, not least because I’ve been invited to contribute a new series to the magazine. In the coming months I’ll be exploring various aspects of key account management and offering my fellow sales professionals some practical advice on how to do it more effectively. I’d like to encourage readers to contact me with any particular issues they’d like me to address. They can call me on 07884 070 968 or email me at jedwards@jermaineedwards.com What do you do when not working? I’m a father of four (you can guess what that’s like), a keen movie-watcher, a basketball fanatic and a long-time Arsenal supporter. “Three main skills are important in this role: patience, persistence and passionate practice” ISMM MEMBER PROFILE ISMM.CO.UK

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