Value in strategic account management

by Antonella La Rocca and Ivan Snehota


Strategic account management (SAM) is responsible for adding value to customers and capturing value for the supplier in customer relationships. It is generally accepted that effective account management is vital for generating value in relationships with strategic accounts. The authors integrate this idea by examining value creation in business relationships, arguing that value is generated in interaction between the supplier and the customer, rather than within the supplier organization. This aspect of the value-generating process in business relationships affects the task of SAM and calls for specific skills. Since the task of managing strategic accounts involves allocating resources and efforts in the relationships, and enabling the customer to create value together with the supplier, understanding the relational interaction and the interaction skills involved is crucial to SAM.


While few will contest the premise that strategic account management is about profit and not just about revenues, opinions on how to grow profits from strategic accounts and how to manage them are seldom made explicit, and when they are spelled out, they tend to vary a great deal. This paper starts by assuming that the profitability of an account for the supplier company is related to the value created in the relationship between the customer and the supplier, and examines how that is achieved in companies ...

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