Key Account Management: Selling? Providing Services? … Or Both?

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As compared to classical sales people, key account managers’ tasks are more complex. Beyond selling, they need to provide a set of different services both to the customer organization and inside their own firms. We explain this modern understanding of key account management as external and internal service task. We then illustrate our ideas as well as potential barriers to KAM as service provision through a case study. For this case study, 35 interviews were conducted at the German branch of a global pharmaceutical company with key account managers, directors of KAM programs, internal functional units (such as legal, or supply chain management) and the CEO.

Key words: key account management, service provider, customer relationship, internal customer-service provider relationship.