Making the case for managing strategic accounts
This paper argues the case for the adoption of account management programmes by first recognizing that all firms in business-to-business markets have a relatively small number of customers (current and potential) that are critical for long-run future health. Because they are so important, the firm should treat them better than it treats its average customer. It further argues that traditional go-to-market strategies are under pressure from a range of environmental and customer-related factors, leading to fragmentation of the traditional system, and that this system will remain but two additional systems are forming – for small customers and for key, strategic and global customers. For the effective implementation of KAM programmes companies must achieve agreement or congruence between the four key organizational elements of strategy, organizational structure, systems and processes, and human resources.
The best place to start in making the case for managing strategic accounts in a business-to-business (B2B) environment is with the fundamental business model (Figure 1). This model assumes that the basic operating task for managers and their companies is to make profits today and promise profits tomorrow. If the firm is successful in this task, it will survive and grow, and shareholder value will increase. However, if the firm is unsuccessful in making profits for a sufficiently long ...