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Developing Customer-led and Customer-focused Strategies

By Dr. Sue Holt


As key account management has evolved over the last twenty years it has moved from a focus on what the supplier wanted to achieve with a key account to really understanding what the customer is trying to achieve over the next three to five years, and then building supplier strategies that will support the customer achieving their goals and aspirations.

So the focus for the supplier is now to identify and implement customer-led and customer-focused strategies.

In order to do this effectively, the key account manager needs to develop a truly in-depth understanding, for example, of the customer’s future goals, their future strategic direction, their PESTEL and competitive environments. 

Most importantly is for the key account manager to understand what is driving the customer’s customer so they can identify how they can support and help the key customer with their competitive advantage.

In order to help key account managers, develop customer-led and customer-focused strategies, we have developed a toolkit that logically takes a key account manager through the process of developing an in-depth understanding of their customer’s world and their customer’s DNA.

Having really put themselves in the customer’s mindset, they are then far more effective at identifying the strategies they should pursue with their customer that adds value for both parties and which are customer-led and customer-focused.



Our work in this area is critical to achieving successful key account management programs for organisations looking to succeed at managing key account customers. For the past twenty years, Cranfield has pioneered the development of Key Account Management research in Europe. Working with world leading businesses to adopt new frameworks to fully leverage key relationships and strategies. This new frontier knowledge is continually integrated into our Key Account Management Programme.

Blog produced by:  Dr Sue Holt, visiting academic and programme director on Cranfield School of Management Key Account Management Programme. Also facilitates on the KAM Best Practice Research Club.


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