The most effective Strategic Account Management Programs (SAMPs) we know of share a mutually beneficial relationship with their suppliers. That means they deliver superior value to their customers that in return deliver superior value back to them.
Defining these two-sided values requires that firms know—or be willing to learn—what they do not know about their strategic customers. In many cases, suppliers need to replace their current assumptions by creating a new listening focus for their strategic accounts.
We believe that if superior value is going to be delivered, then value first must be defined by those who will be receiving it. In these days of customer focus this may seem obvious.
But too often when we ask suppliers, “What sort of up-front customer research did you conduct before your Strategic Account Management Program implementation?” and we are told “the SAMP is designed around the account manager’s in-depth knowledge.”
In too many cases, the account manager is speaking for the customer rather than letting the customer speak for himself.