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Article

Catherine Pardo

Aims to analyze the process of key account management in the industrial sector by highlighting the most recurrent problems that arise linked to this process. The research…

Abstract

Aims to analyze the process of key account management in the industrial sector by highlighting the most recurrent problems that arise linked to this process. The research is based on a period of six years, during which several major industrial groups in France either set up or developed their key account management programs. It represents both a theoretical positioning according to the process of key account management, and the discovery made early on of an emerging picture of this process and the absence of any real understanding of it. Proposes two terms that best sum up key account management research: co‐ordination and transversality.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article

Fawaz Baddar ALHussan, Faten Baddar AL-Husan and Lulu Alhesan

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of senior managers in managing intra-and inter-organizational relationships with key customers and the factors that…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of senior managers in managing intra-and inter-organizational relationships with key customers and the factors that influence such involvement in a novel context in the Arab Middle East region.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory qualitative research design was used in which 68 face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted in Jordan with endogenous and Western firms.

Findings

Top/senior managers play a significant role in Arab business relationships and in creating value for the firms. Their involvement in key accounts is imperative at all levels – strategic, operational, and relational – mainly due to cultural and institutional factors that are unique to the Arab context.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited to operations in one emerging country situated in a novel setting in one particular region of the world, which is the Middle East.

Practical implications

Arab senior managers’ participation is imperative and should continue with their relatively intense involvement with key accounts. For foreign investors operating in that part of the world, it is highly recommended that senior management have a more a hands-on approach when dealing with the Arab key customer and to focus more on the relational aspect of key account management than on the organizational aspect.

Originality/value

This paper adds to the very limited number of studies on senior management involvement in key account management, making a theoretical and practical contribution and adding insight on how to manage the relationship with the Arab key customer.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 32 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article

James I.F. Speakman and Lynette Ryals

Salespeople are frequently required to manage a wide range of complex internal relationships. This paper seeks to explore one aspect of the key account manager's internal…

Abstract

Purpose

Salespeople are frequently required to manage a wide range of complex internal relationships. This paper seeks to explore one aspect of the key account manager's internal selling role which has not been addressed before, specifically how the key account manager handles multiple incidents of simultaneous conflict while carrying out their internal selling duties.

Design/methodology/approach

The research uses the critical incident technique together with an interpretive framework for data coding in order to explore the complex behavioural sequences adopted by key account managers while managing the many incidents of conflict which they frequently encounter within the organisation. Twenty‐nine key account managers from seven participating FMCG, Blue Chip organisations in the UK and USA participated in the research describing 112 incidents of conflict.

Findings

The research provides further insight into the complexity perspective of conflict management, suggesting that conflict episodes do not occur as discrete, isolated, incidents, rather incidents occur simultaneously requiring a combination of behaviours in their management.

Practical implications

The implications for a complex role such as selling are that, while carrying out their internal selling duties, rather than adopting a single managerial style or single combination of styles, key account managers are able to adapt and use a combination of management behaviours which can be modified throughout and across conflict episodes.

Originality/value

In contrast to the majority of research into personal selling, this research takes an interpretive approach through the analysis of transcripts from a series of CIT interviews with key account managers in the field.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 27 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article

Faten Baddar Al‐Husan and Ross Brennan

The strategy of carefully selecting the most important group of business customers for special treatment – for which several terms are in use – has come in for…

Abstract

Purpose

The strategy of carefully selecting the most important group of business customers for special treatment – for which several terms are in use – has come in for considerable recent attention from both academics and practitioners. The purpose of this paper is to examine “strategic account management” at a large telecommunications operator in a developing country (“Arab Telco”).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents an in‐depth single‐company case study.

Findings

The approach to strategic account management employed by Arab Telco shows excellent fit with the recommendations of Western authorities about the implementation of such programs. In particular, there is evidence that the program is being implemented sincerely, with the allocation of additional resources to the strategic account function and the delivery of special treatment to strategic account customers. However, the strategic account program is still relatively immature and the term “key account management” is also in use at Arab Telco; this term refers to many customers who are not of particular strategic significance to the company.

Research limitations/implications

Further research is needed into the impact of culture‐specific factors on the implementation of strategic account management. The transference of Western marketing models to emerging economies offers fruitful scope for additional research.

Originality/value

The paper examines the direct transfer of a well‐known Western management technique – i.e. strategic account management – to a major company in an emerging economy in the Arab world.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 24 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article

Hanna Salojärvi, Sami Saarenketo and Kaisu Puumalainen

This study aims to identify the organizational antecedents of intra‐organizational customer knowledge dissemination in the context of key account management (KAM).

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to identify the organizational antecedents of intra‐organizational customer knowledge dissemination in the context of key account management (KAM).

Design/methodology/approach

The data were collected from large industrial companies in Finland by means of a structured survey. Linear hierarchical regression analysis was used to test the hypotheses.

Findings

The findings of the study show that esprit de corps among employees and the formalization of key account management facilitate customer knowledge dissemination in industrial key account organizations. Moreover, the findings show that the intra‐organizational dissemination of customer knowledge is positively related to the supplier's KAM performance and dissemination fully mediates the relationship between esprit de corps and KAM performance.

Research limitations/implications

The study contributes to research on key account management in providing quantitative empirical evidence about the antecedents and consequences of the intra‐organizational dissemination of key account‐related knowledge.

Originality/value

Building on previous research on customer knowledge management, market orientation and key account management, the study identifies customer‐specific knowledge dissemination as an intra‐organizational determinant of the successful management of industrial key account relationships.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article

Björn Sven Ivens and Catherine Pardo

The concept of key account management (KAM) has received considerable attention from practitioners and scholars for well over 20 years now. However, numerous articles…

Abstract

Purpose

The concept of key account management (KAM) has received considerable attention from practitioners and scholars for well over 20 years now. However, numerous articles build on a set of tacit assumptions for which we lack empirical evidence. This paper seeks to propose an empirical test of several of these assumptions.

Design/methodology/approach

The contribution draws on a study conducted among 297 purchasing managers in two industries (packaging goods, market research data).

Findings

The findings indicate that parts of the foundations of KAM are not as solid as they may appear at first sight.

Practical implications

This paper invites managers of KAM programs to carefully consider the objectives they assign to such programs by integrating the idea of value created both for key customers and for suppliers implementing such programs.

Originality/value

The paper extends knowledge of key account management in the business field by providing new – and, in the light of the extant literature, sometimes rather counter‐intuitive – insights in this important management phenomenon. It does this by systematically comparing key account relationships and non‐key account relationships.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 23 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article

Xuan Lorna Wang and David Bowie

This paper aims to explore the links between revenue management and business‐to‐business (B2B) relationships and explains how revenue management can both support and…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the links between revenue management and business‐to‐business (B2B) relationships and explains how revenue management can both support and damage B2B relationships.

Design/methodology/approach

A single case study method was employed to conduct qualitative research into a company and its key accounts. In‐depth data were collected from three divergent sources (company revenue managers, company account managers and nine of the company's key accounts) through semi‐structured interviews, observations and document studies.

Findings

The research findings reveal that from the company's perspective, managers acknowledge that revenue management has positively influenced the process of identifying and analysing key account activities and conducting contractual decision making with key accounts. However, from the key accounts' perspective, revenue management practices were found to have significant negative consequences which damage trust and undermine long‐term relationships and commitment.

Research limitations/implications

Although the research findings cannot be generalised to other service sectors because of the single‐case study research method, the implications of this study suggest that the impact of revenue management practice on B2B relationships should be further investigated in a wide range of organisational and industry settings.

Practical implications

The research findings confirm the long‐held assumption that revenue management can negatively affect B2B relationships. The benefits of revenue management primarily reward the company, whilst long‐term B2B relationship development suffers from the short‐term consequences of the company's opportunistic behaviour.

Originality/value

This paper bridges the gap in the literature between revenue management and key account management. It also explores the conceptual incompatibility between revenue management and a long‐term relational approach to B2B relationships and provides evidence to support this proposition.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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Article

Jukka Ojasalo

What is the nature of the key account management (KAM) approach? Various themes have been discussed under the title “key account management”, however, the approach seems…

Abstract

What is the nature of the key account management (KAM) approach? Various themes have been discussed under the title “key account management”, however, the approach seems to lack coherence and clearly requires further conceptualization. Based on an extensive literature analysis, this article identifies and describes the basic elements of KAM and offers a definition of it. What kind of managerial practices facilitate KAM at the company and individual levels? Although paying customers in the business‐to‐business market are organizations, they are always represented by individuals. Thus, successful KAM requires appropriate handling at both the organizational and the individual levels. This paper describes the nature of company‐ and individual‐level customer benefits in business‐to‐business relationships. As a synthesis, this paper suggests a framework for KAM practices deploying the main elements of KAM and the company and individual levels of business‐to‐business relationships.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article

Robert Spencer

This case study is the result of in‐depth investigation into a major Swedish multinational company in the data processing and computer equipment field. Addresses the issue…

Abstract

This case study is the result of in‐depth investigation into a major Swedish multinational company in the data processing and computer equipment field. Addresses the issue of key account management and questions some of the existing views in the literature. In particular, it demonstrates that key customer account management involves much more than “better relationship management”, and extends far beyond sole consideration of sales to, and profitability of (for the supplier), the individual customer. Covers many considerations, which start at the corporate strategy level, going via customer portfolio management, and down to the management of complex networks of actors involved in the relationship between supplier and key customer account.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article

Tony Millman and Kevin Wilson

Recent interest in relationship marketing and customer retentionhas refocused the attention of marketing academics and managers towardskey account management (KAM) systems…

Abstract

Recent interest in relationship marketing and customer retention has refocused the attention of marketing academics and managers towards key account management (KAM) systems as a means of operationalizing long‐term buyer/seller relationships. Examines the nature of KAM in industrial markets structured around several strategic issues elicited from two main sources: first, empirical research in the area of industrial sales management and selling to major accounts; and second, observations from running a series of management development programmes for account managers. There inter‐related conclusions have emerged from this work. First, most of the literature and debate on KAM has taken the seller′s perspective. Second, there appears to be inadequate matching of the seller′s total offering with the buyer′s increasingly strategic and dynamic context. This is particularly evident in the short‐term focus pervading some seller companies and in their failure to keep abreast of the kind of supply‐chain issues currently facing industrial buyers. Third, key account managers are often ill‐prepared for the wider and more demanding roles which take them into areas of business development, industry/market analysis, benchmarking, relationship management and so on.

Details

Journal of Marketing Practice: Applied Marketing Science, vol. 1 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2538

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