14 November 2011
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The Profile of a Successful Strategic Account Manager – Best Practice SAM Behaviors, Competencies / Aptitude, Skills, Style and Intangibles (Part 5 of 5)

To see where we are going, you have to first see where we have been…as a refresher; here are the first 4 components of the profile of a successful and effective SAM we have already covered.

  • Behaviors – The way in which one acts, or conducts oneself (Part 1)
  • Competencies and Aptitude – Capabilities or abilities; innate or acquired capacity for something (Part 2)
  • Skills – Proficiency, facility, or dexterity of an art, trade or technique, that is acquired or developed through training or experience (Part 3)
  • Style – The way in which something is said, done, expressed, or performed (Part 4)
  • The Intangibles

The Intangibles…our final stop in a journey through the profile of a successful and effective strategic account manager (SAM). By definition, intangible means “nonmaterial or hard to define”, which would make a blog post defining the indefinable an oxymoron of sorts. But we know that intangibles exist and that they count for a great deal of “something” when determining success. We can liken the intangibles of a SAM to the characteristics and attributes of an athlete who is often referred to as a “winner” – they just have a way of making situations and the people around them better…or in other words, successful!

Of the all the parts of the SAM profile, intangibles are by far the most subjective component. They are very difficult to test for and to measure. As a result, the measurement of a person’s intangibles usually requires a qualitative assessment of the SAM candidate and the personal and/or business life they currently lead, and have led. This assessment is much less structured, and formal than the previous 4, and will most likely be measured in a simple cliché, “they just have IT”.

As for what “IT” is, here is a list of those intangibles to look for in a SAM:

The Intangibles

Description

Drive and Commitment for Success The relentless commitment toward tasks and accomplishment. Usually requires minimal leadership to sustain their motivation and drive. Their focus is more on a clear understanding of the mission and what success looks like; this is their goal. 
Well read Values knowledge. Is in constant search of valuable nuggets of wisdom that will help them perform their role. They are constantly researching the web, books, conferences and other sources for knowledge. 
Higher education Has earned at least a college educational degree. It may be from any institution over long periods of time – but the accomplishment is there. 
Willingness  to do – has done They really want to perform the role of the SAM. They see it as a good fit for who they are and what their career is headed. They take the initiative to seek out input and come prepared with questions. 
Career match The role is a logical progression in their career. It assimilates many of their previous career roles into one role. The SAM role is the opus of their career. 
Integrity with a respect for others They reflect a world of them versus me. They listen and can adapt to different types of people and environments. They value relationships and demonstrate the art of good manners. They run their life according to a strong value system – that is considerate of others. 
Comfortable in senior level environment They are able to be in the presence of and interact with experienced leadership. They have put themselves in this position many times previously. They seek out this type of interaction. They do know how to utilize others to help them accomplish this task. 

A couple of summary points…

  • Be looking for someone who is better than your best SAM
  • Know the candidate beyond the interview –solicit input from others
  • Know the whole book the whole person– not just the cover

This concludes our blog series on identifying and employing a highly effective and successful SAM. I wish you the best on this important endeavor. Keep in mind that the SAM is often the face of your organization.

What face do you want your important clients to work with and depend on? Our profile of an effective and successful SAM has painted what we know is the face of SAM success. Study it and hire to it!