This year’s conference theme focuses on managing strategic relationships in order to co-create customer-supplier value. We believe that strategic account management is the driver of innovation with the customer (and the customer’s customer, and the customer value chain ecosystem), and it’s this convergence that creates tremendous opportunities for growth. Keeping a co-creation approach at the center of any strategy, serves the interests of all stakeholders.
Whose job is it to create a strategy that includes all stakeholders? The answer is somewhat simple – the strategic account manager. Innovation cuts across almost every function and business unit, and only SAMs can orchestrate such a complex system. With the assistance of the C-suite, they must take prime responsibility for the processes, structures, talent, and behaviors that shape how an organization searches for and discovers innovation and co-creation opportunities, synthesizes ideas, and sets the path for what to do
Customer-supplier co-creation is the most sustainable engine for organic growth. If suppliers fail to innovate, they will remain flat and stagnant. SAMA’s 2016 conferences will provide the foundational, best, and next practices for our attendees to build upon and enhance their opportunities for strategic account growth. Areas of focus are:.
Building the Collaborative Value Chain
The value and supply chains of a customer organization extend from procurement to customer users, production, R&D, marketing, management and C-level strategic decision-makers, as well as external alliances and extended customer segments. Co-creation is enhanced when the supplier works with all of the contributors, ultimately creating an ecosystem of innovation that results in greater revenue growth for all. Navigating a complex stakeholder environment, aligning to customer metrics and creating measurable value are just some of the essential capabilities of a successful strategic supplier.
Institutionalizing Customer Driven Innovation and the Importance of the C-Suite
The ground is shifting in B2B buying behavior as suppliers identify meaningful insights and create customer-directed journeys that replace the traditional buying process. For organizations that do the work and collaborate across the enterprise and with the customer, this is promising territory for sustainable growth. SAMs must work with the C-Suite to create a journey that anticipates customer needs and expectations, aligns resources to the activities most likely to influence decisions, and adapts the organizational structure to ensure the ultimate environment for customer co-creation and innovation.
The value of a SAM is about more than trying to sell a product; it’s about sharing knowledge and insights, and co-creating with the customer. Knowing how to mine talent, enhance a SAM’s capabilities and coach for sustained business impact is an effective way to differentiate your company and experience a steep change in business results. Skilled talent can help drive innovation and customer value and create growth opportunities.
Tools and Technology, Particularly a SAM Process Enabler
The convergence of people, technologies, and processes is here to stay, and offers tremendous opportunity for collaboration and co-creation. However, most companies are lagging when it comes to developing technologies to enhance the customer relationship, make the SAM more effective, and enable the strategic account management process. Forward thinking programs are using technology and methodologies to drive execution; transition to continuous customer collaboration; and improve communication internally and externally.