University of Oulu

The strategic role of the sales manager in key account management

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Author: Syvänen, Topi1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, International Business
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Pages: 86
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : T. Syvänen, 2016
Publish Date: 2016-09-16
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Tuunainen, Juha
Reviewer: Nätti, Satu
Tuunainen, Juha
The purpose of this thesis is to describe different strategic roles of the sales manager in key account management. This thesis looks at the different strategic roles of the key account management (KAM) from the perspective of the sales manager. Previous researches have mainly based on fact that sales manager responds to top-management, and key account manager responds to sales manager. Sales manager is typically seen as key account manager’s direct superior and at the same time, sales manager is responsible for key account manager’s performance to the top-management. According Flaherty and others (2012) sales literature follows a top-down approach and based on sales management specific behaviors to improve poor performance. Nevertheless, today’s research has had more nuances that sales manager’s and key account managers job is more collaboration. Reality of today’s sales manager role have changed from top-down, leader-centered paradigm to more like collaboration which comes a vast network of complex relationships (Flaherty and others 2012). This thesis tries to show that sales manager’s role is not only to be key account managers superior. Key account manager’s and sales manager’s dynamic relationship is unnerved in previous researches. Actually, key account manager and sales manager has intense interaction and the information flows one to another and also they both effect on each other’s performance. Sales manager and key account manager, as a conclusion, can be seen as team more than monitored — supervisor partners. According Flaherty and others (2012) reality of today’s sales manager role have changed from top-down, leader- centered paradigm to more like collaboration which comes a vast network of complex relationships. The findings from the interview shows the same; all the interviewees said that nowadays sales managers should collaborate with KAMs. Still, there are seen the effect of regulations, rules and laws which change the style of leadership. Also sales manager take part on operative work. The previous academic literature stated that sales manager position is like invisible. That means sales manager won’t take part that much on operative work. In every interview the result was that operative work with customers is one part of every sales manager job in practice. Motivating KAMs to perform better is important. In a sales oriented organizations everybody knows how much the expected sales target are for KAM’s and at the same time sales manager need to provide all the needed rules that KAM’s could achieve those sales targets. Also this thesis finds out that organizational culture could effect on sales manager’s performance. It could create boundaries between sales manager and KAM but also it could provide framework which help everyday operations in the organization.
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