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Handbook of Strategic Account Management: A Comprehensive Resource by Diana Woodburn, Kevin Wilson

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A configurational approach to strategic account management effectiveness

by Christian Homburg, John Workman, Jr. and Ove Jensen

Abstract

At the turn of the millennium, most firms struggled with the challenge of managing their strategic accounts. Adopting a configurational perspective on organizational research, this paper reports the empirical state of SAM implementations at the time. Eight prototypical SAM approaches are described based on a cross-industry, cross-national study. The results show significant performance differences between the approaches. The prototypes are based on an integrative conceptualization of SAM that defines key constructs in four areas: (1) activities, (2) actors, (3) resources, (4) approach formalization. Finally, the paper reports findings on the effectiveness of SAM approaches. Internal culture matters a great deal while the formalization of the SAM approach does not. Overall, the study shows that companies should proactively manage their strategic accounts.

Introduction

This paper summarizes the findings of empirical research that was conducted in 1999 and published in two articles. One article, Homburg et al. (2002), focused on configurations of strategic account management. The other, Workman et al. (2003), focused on determinants of strategic account management effectiveness. At the time, the research project was the largest – and still is among the largest – empirical study on strategic account management ever done. In this paper, the summary ...

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