Managing Key Customers


Every organisation would have big or important customers, commonly referred to as key or strategic accounts. Yet, the truth is that the definition of key customers may differ from company and industry. Consequently, the impact and contributions of these customers will vary.

Some companies’ key customers are global accounts whereby the local Sales personnel purely “service” the account. The important elements like pricing, credit terms, technical support, and duration of contract and so on are negotiated at the respective headquarters. The local sales team’s responsibility is purely to retain the business.

Yet, there are key customers that are defined as such because they contribute a major portion of the sales volume, revenue and profitability. These are the customers that the vendor cannot afford to lose as the PAIN of doing so is too great. These are the GENUINE KEY CUSTOMERS THAT WE MUST RETAIN, DEVELOP AND NURTURE DURING GOOD AND TOUGH TIMES.

 Unfortunately, there are also PERCEIVED KEY CUSTOMERS that DESTROY VALUE because they buy such significant volumes at LOW OR NO PROFIT. Should these be even considered as key customers and what should we do about them?

 The brutal fact is that managing key customers requires different competencies and strategies compared to the normal customers. It is too common to find that many organisations have job titles like Key Account Executive/Manager but they work as though they are dealing with normal customers.

This two-day intensive session will impart the essential process and competencies necessary to manage key customers. It is based on the trainer’s real-life experience in managing key customers that range from global, regional and local customers.  Participants can expect to gain major insights into what works and what pitfalls to avoid.

Benefits to You

  • Appreciate what a key customer is and what it is not
  • Decide on the criteria on existing and potential accounts that fall into the category of key customer
  • Know when it is a DEAL and when it is a RELATIONSHIP
  • Be able to identify and classify key customers for their own business, and determine if the current key customers are genuine
  • Use a template to ascertain if the vendor stands a chance to be a key supplier and whether the customer is one who could qualify to be a key customer
  • Learn and implement a structured process to manage key customers—the time from qualifying the key customer to making the move to securing the account and after
  • Acquire a powerful technique to ask impactful questions to determine if the customer could be a potential key customer or a normal customer at all
  • Acquire the Levitt Construct to assess how we can differentiate ourselves and leverage on this difference to secure, retain and develop the key customer
  • Make informed decisions as to the key customers to develop, hold, harvest or drop
  • Appreciate the formal and informal organizational structure and the politics of key customers and use this knowledge to build relationships with the right people
  • Recognize the four main reasons why key customers do not buy and learn strategies to overcome them (failing which, we will treat them as normal customers)
  • Acquire the proper skills to penetrate competitors’ key customers—know when and how to apply the “partner” or “convert” strategies

Programme Outline

  • Getting the fundamentals right
  • Who are our REAL EXISTING and POTENTIAL key customers?
  • Common mistakes made when determining key customers and the consequences—how to avoid these mistakes
  • Key Customer Management (KCM) Process and what is involved
  • KCM Stage 1: Qualifying the Key Customer
  • What criteria must the potential key customers and potential key supplier fulfill?
  • How can we differentiate ourselves against our competitors in the key customer?
  • Comparing ourselves against our major competitors in the key customer
  • KCM Stage 2: Organisational Structure Analysis—Recognizing Formal/Informal Power
  • Use of the “sociogram” to determine who we should be interacting with
  • KCM Stage 3: Making the Move
  • Deciding who to meet up with first and justifications for doing so
  • Planning the strategy
  • Introduction to behavioural analysis and how it impacts the manner we manage the key personnel in the key customer
  • Knowing our own preferred style of meeting up with customers
  • The challenge is to ask the difficult or dumb questions to flush out the lies
  • KCM Stage 4: Building the Rapport
  • Deciding whether to “partner” or to “convert”
  • The Bicycle model for making key customer management work
  • The Ben Duffy technique—seeing and thinking like the key customer
  • Using the appropriate questions to understand the underlying concerns
  • Handling objections using APACP
  • KCM Stage 5: Nurturing the Relationship
  • Using the Service Level Agreement (SLA)
  • Gaining access to senior management of key customer
  • Knowing when it is time to move away from a key customer—the clear signals
  • Penetrating competitors’ key customers—the do’s and the don’ts

Who Will Benefit by Attending

  1. Sales & Marketing Vice-Presidents/Directors
  2. National/Regional Sales & Marketing Managers
  3. Sales & Marketing Executives
  4. Key Account Managers and Executives
  5. Entrepreneurs
  6. Anyone who manages strategic or key accounts

Programme Leader 

This programme will be conducted by:          

Mr. Patrick Ng is a highly acclaimed international Sales and Marketing cum Management trainer/consultant who will use his 21 years of corporate experience and fourteen years’ training/consulting to help you achieve the desired results. The corporate experience garnered from the ranks of sales/marketing executive, Sales Manager, Head of Strategic Business Unit and then to Chief Executive Officer of a multinational in different industries ensures that participants learn practical tools that can be implemented. Participants have consistently commented that his training is effective because they are able to relate to what they are actually facing.

He is an associate of the Harvard Business School Alumni Club of Malaysia which allows him to keep abreast with the latest developments from the Harvard Business. In addition, he is the external Sales/Marketing trainer for the Europe, Asia and Middle East Region for a leading U.S. based medical device company with annual turnover of US$9 billion. This allows him to share global best practices.

Patrick will challenge and change your perspectives, delight and entertain you and impart essential competencies and the appropriate mind-set to enhance your effectiveness.  His greatest satisfaction are seeing his participants become more productive and enjoy what they are doing and coaching his two children to graduate as medical doctors from the University of Cambridge.

Venue The Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur
Duration Two Days
Time 0900 to 1730
Fee RM2, 756 per person for local delegates or US$880 per person for foreign delegates [price is inclusive of 6% GST, programme documentation, tea breaks and lunch]
Enquiries +603-27131165
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