The H. R. Chally Strategic Account Manager Competency Model


The H. R. Chally Strategic Account Manager Competency Model [3]

H. R. Chally's strategic account manager competency model revolves around these five skill areas: the ability and willingness to

  1. Take initiative.

  2. Commit time and effort to ensure success.

  3. Provide proactive assistance/support.

  4. Develop technical competencies.

  5. Train others.

In Figure 5-1 we define the skill areas, as well as how strong and weak performers tend to score in the assessment.

Takes Initiative

High Scores

Low Scores

  • Positions self as a champion.

  • Initiates plans and suggestions for reaching goals.

  • Self-sufficient and sees tasks and responsibilities through to completion.

  • Positions self as a champion and will push to set plans and reach goals.

  • Likes to take charge.

  • Will follow up and see tasks through to completion.

  • Hesitant to push own ideas or drive new goals or plans.

  • Tends to procrastinate or wait for orders rather than proactively follow up.


Figure 5-1: The H. R. Chally Strategic Account Manager Competency Model

At its strongest, taking initiative tends to be associated with risk taking. Most often the skill is manifested by individuals who notice a gap or problem in the organization and take it upon themselves to find and implement a solution. Such people, when they are trying to overcome barriers to productivity, are comfortable with "begging forgiveness rather than asking permission."

Those with higher scores actively manage their plans and stay alert to potential obstacles. They have alternatives ready when things don't go as originally planned, so problems don't jeopardize the overall outcome (Figure 5-2).

Commits Time and Effort to Ensure Success

High Scores

Low Scores

  • Sets job as a first priority.

  • Willingness to work long hours to meet objectives but does not simply clock hours.

  • Self-developmental.

  • Prepares plan to ensure success.

  • Invests time according to the goals that must be met.

  • Values success and money, and "lives to work."

  • Takes personal responsibility for own life and success.

  • Open to constructive criticism and driven toward self-improvement.

  • Prefers to be in control by achieving goals and preparing action steps regularly.

  • More inclined to work by the clock than to commit resources as required by the objective.

  • "Works to live" and does not make career a high priority.

  • Lacks concern for feedback and motivation to improve skills.

  • Doesn't see opportunities to control success by preparing special actions.


Figure 5-2: Chally on Time and Effort

This scale originally used a sample of consultative sales-people who tended to achieve higher results in direct proportion to the time they were willing to commit. People who demonstrate this skill thrive on working and place a high value not only on accomplishing the tasks specified in their job description, but devoting the additional time necessary for planning, preparation, and skill development.

High-scoring individuals typically use the extra time to develop more in-depth plans to achieve their objectives. They also build personal sales tools and tracking processes to increase their sales volume and margins. They tend to believe that the basic job is accomplished between 9 and 5, and the effort required to be a top performer is spent from 5 to 9 (Figure 5-3).

Provides Proactive Assistance and Support

High Scores

Low Scores

  • Gains personal satisfaction from volunteering assistance or advice to others.

  • Patient with individuals in a learning mode and seeks methods for sustaining their motivation and enthusiasm to learn.

  • Takes personal pride in the success of learners.

  • Enjoys being held in high esteem by individuals being helped.

  • Enjoys teaching and developing others.

  • Motivated by the opportunity to be seen by others as a mentor and takes pride in others' success.

  • Takes the initiative to give advice or assistance.

  • Does not like to volunteer unsolicited advice.

  • Impatient with individuals who lack the motivation or enthusiasm to learn what is being taught.


Figure 5-3: Chally on Proactive Assistance

This skill is derived from a motivational scale, and as a result, a variety of behaviors can provide the desired satisfaction. Typically, those with a strong need to provide proactive assistance derive a genuine satisfaction from giving advice and helping others to learn and grow. They take responsibility for motivating others to learn the important things that will contribute to their long-term success. They will gladly deal with the very basic or rudimentary issues to bring a novice up to speed because they enjoy seeing the light bulb go on.

Those who provide proactive assistance also derive satisfaction from being appreciated, having the opportunity to demonstrate their expertise and wisdom and being seen as mentors or models. Lastly, seeing learners blossom and demonstrate new-found skill creates a great sense of pride and shared triumph (Figure 5-4).

Willingness to Develop Technical Competencies

High Scores

Low Scores

  • Driven to become expert on product applications and the key competencies required to function in the position.

  • Works to understand fully the principal technologies, processes, and methods of the business.

  • Maintains awareness of new product developments in their field.

  • Wants to understand the most modern, state-of-the-art research and technology.

  • Continually asks questions to learn how things work, and to understand the underlying principles.

  • Routinely collects and reviews key data and information to track progress on all important functions.

  • Keeps up-to-date on technical or process knowledge.

  • Tends to rely on others' expertise in areas in which he/she doesn't understand the technology or basic principles.

  • Can procrastinate and spend insufficient time tracking all key business information sources.


Figure 5-4: Chally on Developing Technical Competencies

In all businesses, some functions are more critical to success than others. Depending upon the nature and driving forces of the business, critical functions could be in engineering, marketing, finance, or production.

Strategic account managers who succeed in those businesses must learn the basic technical information and understand the core technologies. Even if their background is in a different area, individuals who score high typically are intellectually curious and enjoy learning. For example, in the business world, someone who has technical competence in the engineering world may need to learn finance to understand the cost analysis associated with certain technical or engineering applications. There is a natural quest to stay abreast of new developments in one's core competencies and to learn enough about related fields to apply knowledge effectively in the business (Figure 5-5).

Training Others

High Scores

Low Scores

  • Keeps the focus of training or education on improving others' effectiveness in meeting business goals and objectives.

  • Emphasizes those things that are the most useful to know and are going to make a difference to the individual being coached or educated.

  • Committed to having an impact on others.

  • More concerned about results produced or change accomplished than with how attractive or entertaining the training can be.

  • Emphasizes activities that will help improve skills, focusing on efficiency of effort and eliminating irrelevant "fluff."

  • Concentrates on the three or four key issues that will make a difference in training people.

  • Too concerned about detail, correctness, or other content issues.

  • May focus on making the training entertaining at the expense of making it informative.

  • May spend too much time in noncoaching activities developing elaborate training methods that do not provide added value.


Figure 5-5: Chally on Training Others

George Bernard Shaw once said, "Those who cannot do, teach." It is more likely, however, that doers have a strong contribution to make—if they have the patience to show others how to do, thereby expanding their overall potential by working through others. Account managers who demonstrate a willingness to train and coach others understand the need for continued reinforcement of existing issues as well as presenting new concepts and ideas. They are comfortable taking responsibility for the group's continued learning and their motivation for the process. This skill is usually focused on formal sessions to provide information to a group to help them do their job more effectively.

Chally also came up with some working principles that correlate high-performing SAMs. Chally found they tend to believe the following points are critical:

  • Learn how to meet and interact with your customers' top decision makers.

  • Never take your competitors for granted; they'll usually surprise you.

  • Set realistic goals, and be prepared for the stress of last-minute problems or changes that will come with no warning.

  • Get to work before everybody else does.

  • Know your customers' needs and concerns intimately.

  • Help customers even in areas unrelated to your product or service.

  • Only bend the rules when it's necessary to service the customer.

  • Remember that competitors may sometimes offer better service.

  • Make sure your customers know when a problem has been solved and that they know you know.

The "mind set" of less effective SAMs:

  • The best thing about this job is the freedom it offers.

  • I get so much information it's hard to keep up with it all.

  • We could do better if we had better marketing materials.

  • Marketing will keep us apprised of what the competition is doing.

Chally's competency model is one among many and we would strongly suggest researching which models might best apply to the expectations of your strategic accounts. The authors, with the help of a world-class practitioner panel, also developed a SAM competency model that provides another way of looking at the SAM's key competency categories.

[3]Used with permission from John Wood at H. R. Chally, Kettering, Ohio.




The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts
The Seven Keys to Managing Strategic Accounts
ISBN: 0071417524
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 112

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