Research Insights 16.3 Intraorganizational Determinants

Business-to-Business Marketing

Source: Workman Jr, J.P., Homburg, C., and Jensen, O. (2003). Intraorganizational determinants of key account management effectiveness. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 31(1), 3–21.

Abstract: While there is a significant amount of research on determinants of selling effectiveness for individual salespeople, there is a surprising lack of study of factors that affect selling effectiveness in team-selling situations. The authors focus on the context of key account management (KAM) and develop a conceptual model of factors that affect KAM effectiveness. They test hypotheses with data from 385 firms using structural equation modeling and find that firms should seek to build esprit de corps among those involved in KAM, should proactively initiate activities with key accounts and do these activities more intensively, should ensure that key account managers have access to key resources within the marketing and sales organization, and should involve top managers of the firm.


In this article, the authors investigate what dimensions of the KAM approach affect KAM effectiveness, concluding that these include the KAM team’s esprit de corps (that is, pride and sense of loyalty to the team), marketing and sales resource access, activity intensity, activity proactiveness, and top management involvement. Conversely, formalizing the KAM approach is negatively related to performance. The authors also found that factors such as top management involvement and KAM team esprit de corps mattered more than formalization of the approach. The surprising conclusion is therefore that formalizing the approach to key account management may lead to bureaucracy and inflexibility in responding to the key account clients’ demands.