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Critical Skills for Strategic Account Managers

Audience: SAMs – All levels, SAM team members

An enabled, empowered SAM with the right combination of leadership traits and business acumen is an unbeatable combination. Learn what’s in the DNA of an elite account team leader and how the best SAMs and GAMs orchestrate the strategic value creation process and drive business outcomes for their customers. Sessions will cover managing teams with diverse cultural backgrounds, understanding and outwitting Procurement, using data to bring new value streams to your customer, how to win bigger (and better) deals through upstream certification and specification, and much, much more.


Track Sessions

Date: 06/17/2020   |   8:00am-9:00am CST

Presenter: Jacques Sciammas, President, Selling to Executives

When dealing with the C-suite, SAMs and GAMs must be extremely well prepared in their research and preparation to understand their clients’ businesses, challenges and goals. Only one report provides comprehensive invaluable insights into the company and its management: the 10K. Yet, it is estimated that less than 5 percent of GAMs and even a lower percent of SAMs review their client’s 10K. This is unfortunate but almost understandable as a 10K is anywhere from 100 to 350 pages and is a very dry document. The Annual Report is no substitute for the 10K as it is often viewed as a marketing document that has no regulatory governance, The 10K, on the other hand, is regulated and is a standard format for ALL companies. Moreover the CEO, the CFO and the Legal Department are heavily involved in the 10K, whereas it is the Marketing Department that is most involved in the preparation of the Annual Report. What better insight can one get other than directly from the top?

This session demystifies the 10K and highlights and helps interpret only those sections that SAMs and GAMs must focus on to understand their client’s business at a deeper level in order to identify untapped opportunities. In addition, it helps SAMs and GAMS establish strong credibility and relevance with the C-level and differentiate themselves from their competitors. 

The session is interactive and uses real-life 10K examples to help SAMs and GAMs easily apply the session learnings to their accounts–providing them with critical skills needed for their success. 


Date: 07/17/2020   |   10:00am-11:30am CST

Presenter: Nathalie Delmas, Founder and CEO, Connexion TIP

In order for today’s businesses to stay in the performance game, they need to bring the digital “connection” world to their structures, processes and systems. Ironically, the more “connected” an organization is, the more “disconnected” human beings are. More than ever, the organization’s SAMs, who by nature are connected inside and outside the business, will be at the heart of endeavors to achieve extraordinary levels of performance. We believe that the SAMs who have the ability to truly “connect” beyond their knowledge and create authentic alignment with their key stakeholders will lead their organizations and their customers’ organizations to new levels of unprecedented performance.  

But how do you know if you are truly “connecting” with your key stakeholders? How do you create authentic alignment? 

If you are interested in experiencing and demystifying for yourself a ground-breaking approach at the source of producing breakthrough business results, you won’t want to miss this workshop, in which you will: 

  • Understand the PerformanceCO™ model: thinking in new ways for producing Breakthrough business results 
  • Understand the importance of elevating the stakes and finding a common stake for all stakeholders in order to cause authentic alignment with all 
  • Experience the power of increasing your level of connection with anyone 
  • Apply the concepts to a concrete situation you have, giving you new ways to be and act 
  • Practice coaching skills, including giving and receiving feedback and feed-forward 
  • Have loads of fun in the process

Date: 07/14/2020   |   10:00am-11:30am CST

Presenter: Adrian Davis, President, Whetstone Inc.

In this interactive workshop, Adrian shows how telling better stories is the most effective way to engage key stakeholders and motivate them to approve bold ideas. He will demonstrate why storytelling is the single most important skill SAMs can develop to build trust and motivate key stakeholders to proceed with important initiatives.

 This is a hands-on workshop where participants will use a practical framework to craft their personalized value propositions in the form of a compelling story. In addition to real-time coaching provided during the workshop, each participant will receive a practical template as a take-away.

Date: 07/07/2020   |   10:00am-11:30am CST

Presenter: Jeff Cochran, Partner and Master Facilitator, Shapiro Negotiations Institute (SNI)

A relationship-based approach improves your negotiation abilities—a critical skill for SAMs in any industry. This highly interactive session gives participants the opportunity to hone their probing skills and practice tools to more effectively get to the other side’s interests. In addition, participants will try out their proposing skills in a simulated negotiation and learn to become more confident in any situation and translate that confidence into results.

Date: 07/15/2020   |   11:00am-12:30pm CST

Presenter: Tim Pollard, CEO, Oratium

Effective communication is critical for large organizations globally for everything from engaging and managing people to leading cultural change and growth. When we finally get that elusive executive meeting, we just don’t seem to be able to tell the story as effectively as we’d like. Even when the dreaded PowerPoint slide deck isn’t in view (and it still too often is), messaging is typically confusing, too detailed, too sender-oriented, and too focused on “how it works” and insufficiently focused on “why you should care.” Not to mention, messaging and communication are not aligned with how the brain consumes information. 

As a result, win rates and cycle times aren’t where we need them to be. Faced with this underperformance, ironically, most companies look to simply run the sales engine harder rather than fix the true underlying problem of ineffective messaging. 

The good news is that this is a far simpler problem to solve than most people believe. Executive messaging can be created that is tight, crisp, simple, customer-problem-centric – and most importantly, driven by critical ideas rather than a deluge of fact and data. Effective communication is simpler than you may think. By transforming the design and delivery of the message to align with the brain, you can enhance retention and inspire action to achieve your desired outcome.

Presenters: Vasily Chadnov, Commercial Excellence Program Director, Air Liquide; Mustapha Bouraoui, Vice President, Strategic Marketing, EMEA Region, STMicroelectronics

In March 2019, SAMA honored Air Liquide, a world leader in gases, technologies and services for Industry and Health, as co-winner of the 2019 SAMA Excellence Award for “Implementation of specific customer engagement strategies enabling, and successfully impacting, the value co-creation process. In this presentation Air Liquide and STMicroelectronics will illustrate their newest successful cooperation. STMicroelectronics is a leading semiconductor manufacturer delivering solutions that are key to Smart Driving, Smart Industry, Smart Home & City and Smart Things. Because these two organizations established a structured framework aiming at innovating together in the sphere of Industrial IoT and Industry 4.0, Air Liquide is now not just a strategic supplier to STMicroelectronics but a true partner and even a potential new key customer.

Presenter: Dave Ward, Principal, Vantage Partners

SAM success requires you to be seen as a trusted advisor to customers, and to engage strategically with senior executives. This requires thinking more broadly, creatively and deeply about business risks and their causes, about opportunities for expansion and innovation and about the broad and complex business landscape in which your customers operate. This highly interactive workshop provides practical frameworks and tools to enhance SAMs’ abilities to think and operate strategically, build credibility with executives and provide strategic insights to customers.

Date: 07/01/2020   |   10:00am-11:30am CST

Presenters: Danny Haykal, Global Strategic Account Director, T.D. Williamson; Jon Rovig, Scandinavia Sales Director, T.D. Williamson

A value co-creation mindset is critical when growing successful customer relationships at T.D. Williamson. SAMs not only need to engage in a deep discovery process, but abandon any bias or personal agenda, be ready to think like the customer and THEN be strategic enough to pull everything together to create value for both the customer and supplier. When done well the results can transform customer relationships. In this session, you will learn how SAMs at T.D. Williamson engage their most strategic customers with a value co-creation mindset and experience extraordinary business impact as a result.

Presenter: Andrew Middleton, Global Program Director, GE Healthcare; Danielle Kneppers, European Commercial Transformation Leader, GE Healthcare

Developing a provocative perspective for priority accounts that can be impacted by the supplier’s unique capabilities means ensuring internal resources are aligned, coordinated and committed to deeply understanding customer priorities and addressing their problems and business outcomes.  In this discussion, we will share our journey to align our commercial organization around strategic customers and what can happen when the customer is engaged as part of this process.

Date: 06/09/2020   |   9:00am-10:30am CST

Presenter: Bill Wallace, Executive Vice President, Revenue Storm

Traditional thinking about account management is killing your business. Instead, shift to thinking about account leadership and focusing on how to increase speed-to-wallet share. Account leadership is dynamic and centered around bringing new ideas to key stakeholders to unlock revenue potential for the client or protect the client from impending harm. It’s about having a strategic vision while building competitive immunity. 

In this session you will learn: 

  • Where to invest in your accounts for the largest returns 
  • How to master demand creation and experience account growth 
  • Create barriers for competitive entry to reduce account loss or revenue churn

Date: 06/22/2020   |   10:00am-11:30am CST

Presenters: Dominique Côté, Owner and Founder, Cosawi in/Sprl and Principal, The Summit Group and Kate Burda, Owner and Founder, Kate & Co. and Principal, The Summit Group

In today’s complex world, customers are looking for partners that integrate many aspects of their organization and bring their full and broad value. SAMs are the closest to their customer and that their ability to leverage their organization to bring insights, meaningful data, and leverage marketing within their customer engagement on multiple levels will be invaluable to their customers.Part of the account team, marketing can bring tremendous insight that can accelerate and differientiate the insight and solution provided. In this session we unlock the critical steps of how SAMs integrate and co-create with marketing by having communication points throughout the customer buying journey to create high-value partnerships with your customers. You will take away a pragmatic and integrated approach to enable account-based marketing that elevates and differentiates you and your offering. SAMs explore and map the customer-buying journey from the point of inspiration to the point of sale and leave with a toolbox to bring marketing at the account table and use to accelerate and scale the organizational journey.

Date: 06/25/2020   |   9:00am-10:30am CST

Presenter: Steve Andersen, President and Founder, Performance Methods, Inc. (PMI)
Panelist: Dino Bertani, Executive Director, SAM Excellence, Allergan; TBA

This facilitated panel discussion will feature organizations currently implementing SAM/KAM. Steve Andersen will introduce a tool that PMI has developed from within the SAMA community that provides participants with a model of “what great account planning looks like,” and the session will begin with participants conducting a self-assessment of their own implementations of strategic account planning. Following this assessment, a discussion will be facilitated using the “Great Account Planning” (GAP) model in which the guest panelists will provide insights regarding:

  • How their organizations have implemented SAM/KAM best practices
  • Experiences and lessons learned in implementing SAM/KAM throughout their organizations
  • Tips for the audience regarding their SAM/KAM journeys considered to be “best in class”
  • Where they’ve seen the highest returns and the most significant challenges in pursuit of SAM/KAM excellence

Specific areas of emphasis will include:

  • Culture and leadership to support SAM
  • SAM program infrastructure and organization
  • Internal alignment and team collaboration
  • Growing and leveraging strategic customer relationships
  • Value co-discovery and co-creation
  • SAM metrics, incentives and recognition
  • SAM sponsorship, coaching and adoption

The session will close with participants being challenged to select two GAP categories in which they will proactively seek to drive improvement within their organization and/or account team in 2020.