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How can you co-create value with your strategic customers?

By Javier Marcos Cuevas

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Dr Javier Marcos explains the importance of supplier and customer organisations working together towards the same goal and introduces those practises which are associated with value co-creation: co-exploration, co-ideation, co-design, co-testing, co-launching and embedding.

In implementing Key Account Management, it is crucial to understand how to co-create value with those strategic customers. A question that needs to be addressed is when engaging with key customers in value co-creation what the prerequisites for these are to work effectively. The first fundamental prerequisite is to have alignment of purpose that in a way makes the organisation develop a set of practices across the supplier and customer organisations, working together with common goals towards the same objective. There are 6 practices that are associated with value co-creation.

  1. Co-diagnosis, called exploring and jointly defining opportunities.
  2. Co-ideation, those opportunities are filtered down to those ideas that have the greatest potential to create value.
  3. Co-design - engage in a process where the capabilities of both organisations are weaved in together.
  4. Co-testing - with minimal viable products that are brought to the market and testing for purpose suitability, commercial value and meeting the customer needs.
  5. Co-launching - creating and managing information, advertising, marketing and distributing information.
  6. Embedding - ensuring that ability to co-create value is the way you do business with a particular set of customers.

The adoption of co-creation practices through implementation of specific organisational capabilities has a number of implications for managing key accounts, as well as sales organisations. Value proposition, traditionally originated by the supplier, now resides in the interface and interaction between key organisations in the network. The approach of ‘communicating value’ needs to be refocused into efforts to facilitate sustained purposeful engagement.

Want to find out more? Adopting Key Account Management is covered in more detail in the Kogan Page book Implementing Key Account Management. Take a look to see how to decide on adopting KAM and selecting the right accounts.

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. Javier Marcos, Programme Director of Sales Directors Programme and faculty on the Key Account Management Programme at Cranfield School of Management.


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Key Account Management Programme

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