Fall 2012 MBA Course

B9650-001: Managing Strategic Customers

M - Full Term, 12:30PM to 03:45PM

Location: URI 330

Instructor: Noel Capon

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Strategic account management embraces the process of identifying the firm’s current and future critical customer assets and putting in place management systems designed to increase revenues and profits through enhanced customer loyalty.  Because strategic accounts are so important for the firm’s future, the overall manner in which the firm addresses them is a serious issue worthy of top management concern. Indeed, as management develops strategy for a particular marketing arena, it may discover that its success or failure depends largely on the results it achieves with a few strategic accounts.

Good strategic account management requires consideration of several complex elements in an overall management process. It is not simply a matter of appointing a few strategic account managers or introducing a strategic account planning system. Rather, the firm must consider several interconnected areas that we lay out in the strategic account congruence model. The four elements of the congruence model are: Strategy, Organization, Human Resources, and Systems and Processes.

Leading and managing successfully in the context of the strategic account congruence model is not a simple matter. The firm achieves success if, and only if, senior corporate executives fully understand the issues involved in managing strategic accounts and are prepared to put in place the organizational, technological, financial, and human resources necessary to address them on a long-run basis.

For many years, strategic account management has been confined within-country boundaries, but increasing globalization is impacting management practice. Specifically, as customer firms increasingly request global contracts and require global servicing, many suppliers are developing global account management programs and appointing global account managers. In this course, we address strategic account programs at national, regional (multi-country), and global levels.

Course Description
We explore the process of selecting, attracting, growing, and retaining strategic customers. We use a framework that encompasses the critical decisions in managing strategic accounts, and examine specific practical tools like writing strategic account plans and developing and managing inter-organizational relationships across functions, geographies, and management levels. You learn ready-to-use, take-away materials.

Through real-life situations from various industries, we examine barriers to implementing strategic account management, as well as approaches to overcoming them. Selected guest speakers lend their expertise to the class. You encounter persons who perform the key roles in strategic account management, including strategic account managers and directors of strategic account programs.

Topics discussed in the course include:
•    Identifying, analyzing, nominating, selecting, and deselecting strategic customers;
•    Developing tailor-made strategic customer strategies;
•    Developing consistent products and services for strategic customers;
•    Preparing for global pricing;
•    Recruiting, selecting, training, and retaining strategic account managers;
•    Building and maintaining long-term strategic relationships;
•    Leading without authority;
•    Developing a winning strategic account plan;
•    Making multifunctional SAM teams more effective;
•    Managing and compensating strategic account teams;
•    Aligning organizational structures in a SAM context;
•    Collecting and disseminating knowledge across functional and national borders;
•    Employing SAM IT systems and SAM knowledge management;
•    Using CRM technology in SAM programs;
•    Measuring the performance of SAM programs;
•    Allocating SAM resources effectively;
•    Developing strategies for long-term success with global customers;
•    Securing top management support for the strategic account program.


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Noel Capon

R.C. Kopf Professor of International MarketingProfessor Capon teaches the Marketing Strategy core course and the electives Strategic Marketing in the Modern Corporation and Developing and Managing Strategic Customers. His research interests are in key/strategic account management, and marketing planning and strategy. He has published more than 80 articles, book chapters and books. His latest books —Managing Global Accounts, The Marketing Mavens and a marketing-planning workbook, The Virgin...

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