Key Account Manager Interview Questions and Answers
This section covers commonly asked and expert level Key Account Manager Interview questions and answers. You can find conceptual, general, behavioral and experience based questions along with interesting examples and sample answers.
Who are these Key Account Manager Interview Questions useful for?
The questions presented here will be highly useful to all the freshers and experienced candidates interviewing for the role in automotive, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, investment and banking, software etc. industries.
1. Why does a company need key account manager?
A key account manager helps to develop opportunities for both the clients and the company to grow and sustain your businesses. They help to get more revenue and build a stronger relationship with clients. They also help to withstand any competition.
By having a key account manager you can:
i.) Boost customer loyalty.
ii.) Improve business relationships.
iii.) Create company awareness.
iv.) Become valued partners.
v.) Increase sales.
Video : Key Account Manager Interview Questions and Answers
2. What skills would you try to see, if you were hiring a Key Account Manager?
While hiring a Key Account manager I would look for qualities that focus on the acquisition and retention of new clients. The person taking up this role must be patient but should not give into client's unreasonable demands.
Some of the qualities, I would pay attention to are:
i.) Leadership skills: To lead the internal team and at times, the client as well. For this, you need to know your client’s business, industry, geography better than they know themselves.
ii.) Excellent communication skills: They need to possess communication skills that are clear, convincing and concise. They need to keep all the stakeholders informed on all important issues.
iii.) Ability to see the larger picture: A key account manager needs to always look beyond closing deals. They need to understand the business and must be able to see the larger issues and resolve them in a way profitable to both the client and their company.
iv.) Relationship builder: They need to be able to understand people and connect with them. They need to develop and nurture a strong relation with the clients. This will help them with partnerships that are meaningful and trustworthy..
v.) Ability to multi-task.
vi.) Excellent presentation skills: A key account manager needs to be a good presenter. They often need to lead a presentation on account reviews or give project updates.
vii.) Result oriented: They should be the one who would take the failures as learning and would give credit to the team for success.
viii.) Achiever: They should be able to set a goal for themselves and must always try to achieve them.
ix.) Learning skills: They should find opportunities to improve themselves and should see that they are constantly growing.
x.) Flexibility: All the plans do not execute as expected. They should be flexible and open to change, if required.
3. Acquiring a new client is one of the duties of a key account manager. What are their other duties and responsibilities?
Well, as the question itself suggests, the interviewer here is interested in knowing your understanding of this role beyond sales.
Your answer to this question immediately tells them, how prepared are you for the interview and how serious are you for this position. Do some research about the company and the position & make sure that you are well prepared.
Some of the duties that you can talk about are:
i.) Develop and maintain a trustful relationship with the client so that they work with you wholeheartedly, without getting attracted by your competitors.
ii.) Understand the objectives and needs of your client & find ways to help them meet them. This needs you to be their consultant rather than a sales man.
iii.) Ensure the availability of right stock with your client at the right time.
iv.) Get new products that’ll help them meet their objective.
v.) Negotiate various deals with them.
vi.) Work as a point of contact between your account and the internal team.
vii.) Solve problems faced by your client.
viii.) Train them with the new ways of business so that they can improve their sales.
Make them competitive.
ix.) Prepare MIS reports for internal consumption and reports that’ll be useful to the client.
4. How will you manage multiple clients at the same time?
Well, the two most important things that you would need to achieve this are:
i.) Ability to multitask
ii.) Ability to stay organized
To answer this question you can say something like: "I have created a spreadsheet of the different accounts I'm handling. I make it a point to update and manage it daily. It keeps me well informed about the current status as well as any important information which needs to be kept in mind.
I’m very confident that managing multiple clients won't be a problem for me."
If there are any other strategies you follow to achieve these, this question is the right opportunity to talk about them.
5. How does purposeful listening skill help key account managers?
As the name suggests purposeful listening refers to listening with purpose. The key account manager's purpose is to get more business and strengthen the relationship with the client.
Skilled managers should know how to apply purposeful listening skills. They need to understand what they need to listen and how to use the information they hear. They can also use purposeful listening to solve the problem. They need to understand the reason and listen to details associated with the problem. They need to focus on the keywords and agree on how they can resolve the problem.
They need to listen carefully to give out the useful information required by the clients. Also, they need to use correct words to guide the client to make a sales decision and to strengthen the relationship with them.
6. Tell us about a time when you were unable to meet a goal.
As a Key Account Manager, you need to meet your goals with a given deadline.
To answer this question, talk about a project that you failed to deliver on time and what led to the failure. Weave it into a story. Lay emphasis on what have you learned from this situation.
The interviewer would be more interested in knowing, what you did to overcome the failure.
You can say something like: "Once we were working on a promotional campaign. The shooting was to take place in a western state but due to the opposition of local people, the law and order situation became bad and the shoot got delayed.
As the Key Account Manager, I explained it to the client and also got in touch with the local law and order administration to set things in order. Ultimately, we began after a week and finished the shoot.
The experience taught me that whenever the subject of shooting is sensitive, it is extremely important to take local administration and people into confidence."
In business, everything driven by success and measuring the performance is an important part of it.