Ref: IMD-3-1852

Case study

Reference: IMD-3-1852

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ABB and Caterpillar (A): Key account management

By Professor Winter NieWinter Nie, Thomas E. Vollmann and Inna Francis

This case series explores the issues faced by the key account manager appointed to handle one of the company’s major accounts, but one that is just about to walk out the door. The cases demonstrate efforts to turn the situation around, including improved knowledge of the client’s business and industry, cross-company team building, and a governance process for continual improvement.

Learning Objective

The learning objective is to demonstrate how key account management can be the most productive way to increase sales and profits: sell more to existing customers. This requires well coordinated and sometimes difficult actions from the business units and divisions. The case emphasizes the need for the whole team, and not just the key account manager, to invest time in building relationships with the client and become more customer-centric. There are some interesting issues as to who should make decisions, have power, and where the P&L should reside. These depend, in the end, on the history and culture of the organization.
Asea Brown Boveri
TypeField Research
Available LanguagesEnglish, Spanish
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Reference: IMD-3-1852

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