The impact of the industrial environment on a sequential model for key account implementation

Molina, Jamie Castelló (2018) The impact of the industrial environment on a sequential model for key account implementation. (DBA thesis), Kingston University, .


Key Account Management (KAM) has become one of the most widely used strategies for companies willing to develop relationships with their customers. KAM has evolved from a sales strategy to a relationship marketing strategy, involving people and resources beyond the sales or marketing domains in the organisation. This increase in complexity has made companies and academia question the effectiveness of implementing KAM and the payoffs that should be expected. The answers provided by researchers have failed to provide answers to two important aspects, (a) the sequence of the variables affecting KAM effectiveness and (b) the impact of the industrial environment. To address the above, this study proposes and empirically tests a framework grounded on extent KAM literature. The framework is a notable departure from published frameworks in terms of, (a) being the first to conceptualise KAM related constructs as an ordered set of activities that sequentially represent strategic, organisational and operational levels, (b) accommodating the often mentioned but not examined construct of Account Selection Process in the organisational level, and (c) considering, drawing on market orientation literature, the effects of industrial environment. Functional relationship between the variables are expressed as hypotheses and are tested with data from a survey of KAM executives in Spain, through the Partial Least Squares structural modelling statistical technique. The results of this study make a number of important contributions to the study and practice of KAM. In terms of theoretical contributions, the overarching finding is the need to study KAM as comprising a sequential set of activities that, although they are performed by different parts of the organisation, are interlinked in delivering KAM effectiveness. In addition, results provide new insights into the importance of top management in the implementation of KAM, the differential behaviour of diverse modes of KAM implementation, and the manner in which a market orientated implementation of KAM can minimise the impact of economic and market conditions. The developed operationalisation of the Account Selection Process, Activity Intensity and Activity Proactiveness as higher order constructs represent methodological contributions. As for managerial contributions, the framework provides managers with a blueprint that acts as a guide to the implementation of KAM and provides a mechanism for identifying and remedying failure points.

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