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

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The role of the key/strategic account manager

by Kevin Wilson and Sue Holt

Abstract

The role of the manager of relationships with strategic accounts has received little attention in the literature encompassing the topic of national/key/global and strategic account management. Indeed, where it has been discussed, much of this literature has generally seen the role as an extension of the role of the salesperson. This paper explores and reviews the extant literature and research about the role, and the authors conclude that this is a new and emerging position that is fundamentally different from more traditional sales and account management roles.

We therefore wanted to differentiate this emerging role and have adopted the term key strategic account manager (ksam). When referring to the work of the authors cited here we will, in the main, retain the terms they used, but when describing our perception of the role we will use the term ksam.

We end this paper by discussing the important managerial implications of the ksam role and propose a conceptual framework that attempts to explain this new and complex role.

Introduction

The role of the key strategic account manager1 (ksam), whether operating at local, national or global levels, must be viewed as evolving. Its roots are embedded in the sales function, but there is increasing evidence to suggest that in its evolving form, the role of account manager is much more than the creator of sales, reflecting an increasingly strategic importance ...

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