Key Account Management: Performance, Measurement and Rewards

Iain Davies

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Despite the prevalence of Key Account Management (KAM) in today’s business environment, there is a dearth of quality research investigating the mechanisms through which companies’ implement KAM and the likely success of the program. This is especially highlighted by many of the common posts found on KAM Best Practice Knowledge Share asking seemingly simple questions, which appear to have no concrete answers. In the last two months we have seen questions on account planning templates (I would advise checking out Prof. Lynette Ryals book “Key Account Plans” as a start point for this, and see Richard Ilsley’s Webinar), the differences between KA Managers and Sales People (Chapter 10 of Diana Woodburn and Prof. Malcolm McDonald’s book “Key Account Management” is good – or you could check out Davies and Ryals “Attitudes and behaviours of key account managers: are they really any different from senior sales professionals?” for an academic view-point), criteria for selecting Key Accounts (again see either of the above books on this) and what I am dealing with in this report – How do you measure KAM success and appropriately reward Key Account Managers.

Such a simple question should have a simple answer – but doesn’t. Having undertaken a thorough review of literature on KAM I can confirm that, at best, our current knowledge on both measurement and rewards is anecdotal. Authors say it is really important to get measurement and rewards right. They even suggest what should be measured; in particular Chapter 11 of Woodburn and McDonald (2011) lists potential measures and rewards for KAM, which influenced the design of this study, but we have no idea if any of this works. This research paper aims to provide a starting point for this missing link. However, first we need to discuss performance.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherKey Account Management Best Practice Knowledge Share
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2014


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