CHICAGO, June 26, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new report on current trends and practices in strategic account management (SAM) reinforces the complexity of implementing a customer-based corporate strategy at the enterprise level, the challenges of becoming a customer-centric company and creating alignment across a matrixed organization, and the continuing trend of double the growth rate for accounts that are managed in a SAM program compared to accounts outside of the program.
Conducted biennially, the 2014 Report on Current Trends & Practices in Strategic Account Management, from the Strategic Account Management Association (SAMA) and customer intelligence consulting firm Walker Information, provides the opportunity to understand and analyze the current state of the strategic account management profession in B2B firms around the world. The research covers strategic account management practices at the individual and organizational levels and address topics such as:
- SAM program management, account management and the role/authority of the SAM
- Strategic account selection and criteria
- Talent management
- Account performance and metrics
- Impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty
The study indicates the rate of growth for strategic accounts dipped four percentage points in the last two years, from 14 percent to 10 percent. Nevertheless, growth compared to all other (i.e., non-strategic) accounts was still strong: For respondents reporting account growth in the last year, 41% experienced growth of more than 10 percent, while just 16 percent reported double-digit growth for all other (i.e., non-strategic) accounts.
"Strategic account management is the most significant engine for organic growth of B2B enterprises," said Bernard Quancard, president and chief executive officer for the Strategic Account Management Association. "With limited corporate resources, we have to be able to target strategic accounts, invest those resources accordingly and maximize the return on that investment."
Reinforcing this statement is the fact that for seven out of 10 respondents, gross profitability across strategic accounts was up over the last year. The slightly slower growth and substantially higher profitability of strategic accounts indicate a new trade-off in some companies between growth and profitability in favor of the latter.
The study indicates that companies looking to focus their SAM program to maximize organic growth should examine the following key drivers:
- Adapting policies to develop future strategic account managers
- Having an institutionalized process for customer-driven innovation
- Adapting policies for SAM-specific training
- Having a defined process for creating customer value
- Adapting policies for identifying and recruiting potential SAMs
- CEO's effectiveness at creating buy-in
As SAMA continues to look to the future of SAM and the next practices that will help companies focus on the potential of profitable organic growth with strategic accounts, our participants believe that innovation – specifically customer-driven innovation – will help them maintain and strengthen their competitiveness in the years to come.
Founded in 1964, the Strategic Account Management Association is a knowledge-sharing organization devoted to advancing strategic customer-supplier value, collaboration and learning. For more information, please visit www.strategicaccounts.org.
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