Account portfolio management: optimizing the customer portfolio of the firm
The account portfolio management (APM) process deals with grouping customers and developing meaningful strategies for each group incorporated into resource allocation decisions to meet marketing objectives. Portfolio techniques offer a convenient and comprehensible framework for strategic decision-making. This paper presents a comprehensive guide to developing customer portfolios using variables identified in previous studies. The paper also illustrates implications for marketing strategies and future resource allocation for the strategic account portfolio. A portfolio approach may reveal necessary actions for important relationships and may streamline the decision-making process for suppliers' account portfolios. Each customer relationship requires different types and degrees of investment and produces different outcomes (Cannon and Perreault 1999). Hence the paper emphasizes customer heterogeneity in the business-to-business (B2B) marketing context and arrives at sound evaluations of individual customers.
The APM approach divides customers into subgroups, evaluates each group and suggests a strategic group of customers as a major output of its analysis. Such strategic groups have been variously termed ‘major accounts’, ‘national accounts’, ‘key accounts’, ‘strategic accounts’ and ‘global accounts’. Pardo et al. (2006) argue that key account management originates in suppliers' ...