The key accountization of the firm : A case study

in Industrial Marketing Management, 24 (2)

ISSN : 0019-8501

Pardo, Catherine (19..-....) ; Salle, Robert (19..-....) ; Spencer, Robert

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This article focuses on the adaptation process undergone by a company to manage a particularpart of its customers' portfolio : the key accounts. It is based on an in-depth study of the evolution of a unit dedicated to the management of key accounts in a company belonging to the telecom sector. Data was gathered on a total often interviews with different managers of the key accounts unit using face-to-face interviewing techniques. After describing their theoretical framework grounded on the ... Interaction Model developed by an European research group (the IMP Group) and the networks perspective, the authors first concentrate on the description of the various stages of the process corresponding to different supplier organizational modes. Then the authors propose a categorization of the possible explanatory factors of this process. Several associated managerial implications are discussed. Particularly, the authors will show that the key accountization process is not uniquely a result of adaptation to the customers but also a process of adaptation to changes occurring at the supplier level or at the environment level. This process appearing more as a "muddling through'process than a carefully planned and implemented chain of events. Finally the authors will show that this process sometimes is also creating complexity by its very existence. This is raising the question of the desirable degree of organizational differentiation in key account programs.

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