11 October 2011
Comments: Comments Off on The Profile of a Successful Strategic Account Manager – Best Practice SAM Behaviors, Competencies / Aptitude, Skills, Style and Intangibles (Part 2 of 5)

The Profile of a Successful Strategic Account Manager – Best Practice SAM Behaviors, Competencies / Aptitude, Skills, Style and Intangibles (Part 2 of 5)

If you are reading this, than you already buy in to the importance of hiring the correct SAM for the job – so I will not delay the delivery of the value of today’s post. In Part 1 we gave an overview of the profile and covered the Behaviors of a successful and effective SAM in detail. Listed below are the 5 distinct elements of the successful SAM profile.

  • Behaviors – The way in which one acts, or conducts oneself (Part 1)
  • Competencies and Aptitude – Capabilities or abilities; innate or acquired capacity for something
  • Skills – Proficiency, facility, or dexterity of an art, trade or technique, that is acquired or developed through training or experience
  • Style – The way in which something is said, done, expressed, or performed
  • The Intangibles

Today we are detailing the Competencies and Aptitude part of the SAM profile.

PART 2 – Competencies and Aptitude

For clarification purposes, here are the definitions of competency and aptitude, broken out:

Competency –trained or innate capability the person can effectively execute

Aptitude – degree of learning ability

These are distinctively different profile components, but the actual capability of executing a competency at a high level of effectiveness may be influenced by one’s degree of aptitude to learn the competency; if it is not an innate competency. This highlights the importance of evaluating and understanding proven experience, degree of education and other indicators that validate that the candidate will be able to learn if necessary the required competencies – some are not easy to learn and/or execute.

The chart below lists and describes the competencies of an effective SAM and then also documents the degree to which a high aptitude in that capability can affect the development of the specified competency.

Here is a definition of the levels of aptitude affect:

None – no effect, this competency is either present or not.

Low – a competency that is very hard to develop despite aptitude; in extreme cases, candidates who do not naturally possess the capability but have a high aptitude can be developed, trained and coached.

High – a competency, that given the aptitude can be developed, trained, and coached.


Competencies & Aptitude




Financial and Business Acumen  

An acute level of knowledge and intuition on; business organizations, operating procedures, trends and the key financial metrics / ratios that often predict and measure business success.



Problem Solver



Can listen to complex challenges and logically work through the root causes of the challenges and offer several options that may address the challenge.



Creative / Innovative  

Can create solutions to challenges or visions that may have otherwise not been defined or executed. Does not need an existing solution template in all cases. Effective at free-form solution development and relationship management.




Is technology literate at a level to effectively utilize the Microsoft Office suite of products including quality development of basic presentations, spreadsheets, communication documents and cell phone applications.



Senior Level Interaction  

Is comfortable and able to engage and coordinate initiatives with senior leaders in a variety of business situations. Would most likely prefer that these types of relationship engagements were their primary focus.



Thought Leadership  

Continuously develops their individual knowledge level around industry or business practices, trends and/or events to substantiate their value to a client.



Working knowledge of products / services  

Knows well enough to be credible the products and/or services that they represent. As well as their value and effective utilization in the marketplace.



Competitive / Results Oriented Practices; Measures Progress  

Commonly utilizes tools to track and chart their performance and/or the progress within a project as compared to other people and/or projects.



Team Builder  

Can assess and engage talent to be a motivated and passionate part of the team.




What is important to note in closing is the necessary support structure a SAM organization needs to develop and/or maintain competencies. Once hired, it is important that an organization continues to develop the list of competencies above – times change, business changes, and so do the requirements of customers…A successful SAM will take the initiative to adjust, and get better, and the organization needs to make the resources available for the SAM to hone their craft, strengthen their competencies, and get better


Coming soon, part 3; the Skill set of the successful SAM