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

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Designing strategic account management programmes

by Kaj Storbacka

Abstract

This paper aims to generate a better understanding of the design elements and related management practices of strategic account management programmes, in order to assists firms wishing to design such programmes. The research process is based on systematic combining of literature, empirical data from interviews with nine multi-national firms, interaction with the firms during the research, and the knowledge resource base of the Strategic Account Management Association.

A strategic account management programme (SAMP) is defined as a relational capability, involving task-dedicated actors, who allocate resources of the firm and its strategically most important customers, through management practices that aim at inter- and intra-organizational alignment, in order to improve account performance (and ultimately shareholder value creation). The research identified four inter-organizational alignment design elements – account portfolio definition, account business planning, account-specific value proposition and account management process – and four intra-organizational design elements – organizational integration, support capabilities, account performance management, and account team profile and skills. The management practices pertinent to each element are discussed.

Firms need to ensure that a SAMP is configured so that there is fit between the design elements discussed. Focus should be put on identifying framing ...

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