Key account managers (KAMS) – is it time to adopt Waigaya?


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According to Accenture over the last decade companies are increasingly adopting the key account manager model (KAM) in response to the consolidation of buying power in the B2B sector.

One case in point is where KAMs are spearheading sales to large consolidated healthcare IDNs seeking standardization of products and cost savings.  But healthcare is only one example; in many industries companies are adopting strategic sourcing to consolidate purchasing and to leverage buying power across departments and divisions to achieve cost savings.

With this shift in how large customers are buying and in particular in their demands to achieve cost savings across product lines, the classic individual territory sales reps is no longer the way to go.  Rather, companies are making a strategic shift – adopting the KAM model where a KAM works to coordinate and leverage the sales efforts of sales reps that are calling on the individual components of the organization.

We’ve written a bit about KAMs and the sales and business skills they need.  One idea that caught our attention was a piece about Waigaya by Jeffrey Rothfeder in strategy + business.  Waigaya is a made-up word embraced by Honda that means “the noise from heated discussion and the free flow of ideas.”  It is all about the merits of the facts and opinions that emerge from chaotic communication, open disagreement, and inharmonious decision-making.

We think this idea is important for KAMs to consider and perhaps embrace.  KAMs are very skilled sales account executives but they only have one piece of the puzzle.  Every other salesperson at the individual hospitals or divisions of a company has insight and information that can help in formulating a more creative and responsive solution.  In crafting and executing sales strategy, it’s critical to introduce and discuss all ideas, issues, and concerns in order to achieve the best sales strategy.

That’s why Waigaya intrigued us.  It may be a made-up word but it is based on a compelling idea.  “At the heart of Waigaya is a single concept: paradoxes and disagreements are the essence of continuous improvement.”  However a KAM chooses to implement Waigaya – the underlying principle holds – without incorporating the sales and competitive intelligence from others supporting the account, only an incomplete solution can emerge – which reduces the probably of sales success.

Read more about sales strategy in our free white paper – Getting Sales Strategy Right in Major Accounts.


*IDN – Integrated delivery network of facilities and providers working together to provide a continuum of care for patients – like multiple hospitals, standalone surgery centers

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Janet Spirer
For more than 30 years Janet Spirer has worked with the Fortune 1000 to craft sales training programs that make a difference. Working with market leaders Janet has learned that today's great sales force significantly differs from yesterday. So, Sales Momentum offers firms effective sales training programs affordably priced. Janet is the co-author of Parlez-Vous Business, to help sales people have smart business conversations with customers and the Sales Training Connection.


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