SAMs, because they sit at the nexus of two companies—their own and their key account—are constantly pulled in multiple, often conflicting directions. It’s easy to be consumed by urgent opportunities and challenges—to the detriment of thinking and operating in a fully strategic way.
So, what does it mean to put the “strategic” back into the management of our strategic accounts? In this article, we explore five practical disciplines to ensure that SAMs, and SAM programs, retain their strategic focus and effectiveness.
- Think (further) from the outside in
- Build strategic alignment
- Cultivate a broad and deep network of relationships
- Adopt a mindset of coopetition
- Rock the boat—just don’t capsize it
At the heart of strategy is the discipline to continually look to the future, to act now to prevent or prepare for future challenges and to position for future opportunities. But strategies, once defined, naturally exert a strong inertial force. The best strategists remain on guard against this risk, acutely alert to changing circumstances. They are willing to quickly pivot and revise strategies as needed—while avoiding the pitfall of simply reacting to immediate challenges or opportunities, without consideration of long-term consequences.