Key Account Management: Strategies to Leverage Information, Technology, and Relationships to Deliver Value to Large Customers
Now more than ever, companies are faced with a critical and challenging truth. Today's customer is demanding more attention, superior service and the expertise of a dedicated sales team. Suppliers must make difficult choices to determine how to allocate limited resources, including which customers receive the highest level of service. Increasingly, supply side organizations are working to design and implement key account programs to meet or exceed these expectations. Key account management is a specific business strategy that involves complex sales processes, large-scale negotiations, and the alignment of multiple internal and external stakeholders. This multi-pronged process is anything but straightforward, and the business world is filled with examples of key account programs that have not achieved the expected results. This book addresses the strategic challenges facing top executives and sales leaders as they build strategies to better manage their key accounts, while also delivering value to both customer and supplier. Through the introduction of the selling center concept, the text offers sound, experiential solutions to better managing the buying center, resulting in co-creating value for both organizations. The objective of key account management is to increase the value of the relationship to the stakeholders of both organizations. To achieve this value optimization, the authors have integrated the processes/objectives/planning of key account management and sales effectiveness while leveraging information, technology, and relationships. To this end, this text provides direct, action-oriented answers to the following key questions: When should a key account program be implemented and when should it not? How does one align key customer and supplier interests? How is value co-created for key customers and suppliers? How can complex customer and supplier processes be streamlined to better integrate the buying center with the selling center? How should customer relationship management technology be used for co-creation of collaborative value? How can key account programs maintain and grow market leadership? By leveraging the most up-to-date research, testimonials drawn from interviews with experienced practitioners, the best practices of successful companies, along with straightforward practical guidelines for executives and sales leaders, this text can serve as instruction manual and toolbox for organizations working to achieve success through their key account strategies and meet the demand of their key customers.
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