Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop an innovative conceptual view on the management of strategic or important customers in business markets, so‐called (key) account management. Central to this new perspective is customer value creation through external customer alignment. The paper additionally proposes two propositions, based on quantitative empirical analysis and rooted in congruency, transaction cost economy and economic rent generation theory. Design/methodology/approach – The study is quantitative research based on questionnaire survey. Findings – The paper's proposition is that account management can create important competitive advantages for companies which can acquire and develop the necessary organisational competences to implement an integrative process through alignment with strategic or important, well selected, customers. Originality/value – Traditionally, most companies view account management as a sales activity. Views that are more recent consider it as a marketing activity with emphasis on relationship marketing. The paper's approach, however, is to look at account management from an integrated business process perspective, encompassing marketing and sales as development activities as well. Two elements are central in the proposal: customer selection and alignment.
Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 1, 2006
Keywords: Accounts management; Key accounts; Sales management; Marketing management; Industrial marketing
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