Perceptions of a successful key account management programme: A New Zealand perspective
Cultivating profitable, long-lasting customer-supplier partnerships is a significant task for today’s companies. These relationships bring value-adding benefits, including cost and risk reductions, and bring joint business opportunities (Ravald & Grönroos, 1996; McDonald, et al. 1997). Key account management deals with developing customersupplier partnerships within the business-to-business context. Key account managers are responsible for delivering customised products/services, and defining possible business opportunities for both parties, after carefully selecting buying companies according to their strategic importance for the supplier. However, key account management may be complicated for suppliers to manage especially if the selling companies do not know how to implement a key account management programme appropriately. There have been a number of studies attempting to identify approaches to successful key account management programmes (Millman & Wilson, 1995, Napolitano, 1997, Homburg et al., 2002). Abratt & Kelly (2002) were the first to investigate both buyers’ and sellers’ perceptions of success factors of a key account management programme. They found that both buyers and sellers hold similar points of view on what a successful key account management programme should contain.
This thesis is a replication of Abratt & Kelly (2002), which refined their scale to obtain better reliability assessments and generalisability. Only some of the findings of the original study could be replicated. Six factors were extracted while only three of them were reliable. Some of the items loaded onto the same dimension in the replication as Abratt & Kelly (2002), whereas others did not. The discussion section of the thesis suggests reasons for the difference in findings and suggests future research areas based on this discussion.