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

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Drivers for key account management programmes

by Per-Olof Brehmer and Jakob Rehme

Abstract

Key account management (KAM) programmes are a way for companies to develop existing relationships and increase sales, thus being proactive and searching for opportunities which are expected of KAM. It is also a way to meet changing customer demands arising from changes in purchasing strategy, buyers' mergers and acquisitions, and the search for synergies in order to reduce costs. This paper analyses the way in which different key account management programmes manage the sales process complexity and customer expectations.

The paper draws on qualitative data collected during a field study of ABB and six of its major customers, based on annual or bi-annual interviews with 50 individuals within ABB from 1996 to 2006, and 3–10 individuals from each of the customers. Interviewees included corporate managers, key account managers and sales personnel/project managers. The customers involved in the study belonged to mining, automotive, process equipment manufacture, building technology, energy production and telecommunication sectors.

In this study three different programmes have been identified and analysed: (1) the proactive programme, which is driven by sales opportunity; (2) the reactive programme, which is driven by customer demands; and (3) the organization-based programme, which is driven by the belief in customer-centric organizational units. With an empirical base the paper provides a basis ...

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