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

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KSAM as an organizational change: making the transition

by Diana Woodburn

Abstract

Once convinced of the efficacy of KSAM, companies need to consider how to achieve the vision that academics have painted for them, but the literature has very little to say about how to make the change. Success is not guaranteed. This paper looks at the journey to best practice KSAM and identifies early and later phases of activity that mark the development of the organization as a KSAM operator. The different elements and actions that comprise these phases are determined in terms of strategy and planning, organization and culture, and processes.

Introduction

Academic literature is largely focused on the very important need to paint the picture of how key strategic account management (KSAM) should look or does look. However, as increasing numbers of companies have ceased to challenge the KSAM vision and accepted the concept, their attention has shifted to issues of implementation and particularly how the transition can be achieved. Research has concentrated on inter-organizational relationships (e.g. Ford 1980; Gosman and Kelly 2000; Ivens and Pardo 2007; Millman and Wilson 1995) rather more than intra-organizational structures and adaptations for managing them (Kempeners and van der Hart 1999; Zupancic 2008).

Indeed, KSAM failure is not uncommon (Napolitano 1997; Wilson and Woodburn 2014) and companies are understandably anxious to avoid it, although academics may be more interested in examining ...

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