B2B sales leadership: KAM as quarterback

jose monsalve Published by Jose Monsalve – 22 February 2024

A salesperson is often compared to a top-level athlete, but in most cases this comparison is far removed from reality, and the analogy is not so obvious.

If, despite everything, I had to do one with sport, I’d probably choose American soccer and say that a Key Account Manager (KAM) is the “Quarterback”, the strategist who influences the B2B sales game. Here’s why:

A strategic vision: the centerpiece

Just as a quarterback evaluates the opposition’s defense before and during the game, a KAM must have in-depth knowledge of the market. This means analyzing customer needs and anticipating competitor tactics. The ability to interpret data, understand market trends and act quickly is essential, putting the KAM in a strategic position to direct his vision.

Leadership on the pitch: leading the team to victory

Leadership is a crucial skill in the game of American soccer, which also finds its equivalent in the world of B2B sales. A quarterback directs his team’s play and ensures that every player is aligned with the strategy. Similarly, a KAM coordinates sales activities, works closely with internal departments and ensures that everyone is aligned with key objectives.

Effective communication: the perfect pass

The “Quarterback”, master of the art of the precise pass, communicates clearly and effectively with his team. A successful KAM is also an outstanding communicator, able to convey the value proposition convincingly, both internally and externally.

Just as a Quarterback delivers a perfect pass that gets the receiver into the end zone, a KAM must also be able to clearly convey the value of the offer and help his team win.

Data analysis: the information-based strategy

In both cases, data analysis is crucial. A quarterback examines statistics, looks upstream at game patterns and uses the information available to make decisions informed by extensive preparation. In the same way, a KAM must exploit available data to understand customer needs, identify growth opportunities and adapt his strategic approach in a highly analytical way.

Adaptability: an unexpected twist

Adaptability, an essential skill in any sport, is also evident in the world of B2B sales. As markets fluctuate, demands change and strategies evolve, a successful KAM must adjust his or her approach to the conditions of the game, just as a savvy quarterback does when faced with an unexpected defense.

Post-match evaluation: continuous learning for lasting success

After each match, Quarterbacks review the results and performance of the match to learn from their successes and failures. In the same way, KAMs must carry out a post-sales evaluation, analyzing the performance of the strategies implemented and constantly looking for areas of improvement. Continuous learning is essential for lasting success in both areas.

Celebrate every victory with your team

Just as a “Quarterback” celebrates his team on the field, a KAM shares his successes with his sales team. Key account management isn’t just about closing deals, it’s also about building long-term relationships and strengthening the company’s reputation, just as a “Quarterback” leads not just to win games, but to achieve excellence.

This mix of preparation and instinct, solo and collective, vision and operational, immediate performance and long-term spirit is so complex and difficult to achieve in both cases.

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