Many suppliers practice relational strategies that aim to achieve competitive advantage through a collaborative
business relationship with their customers. Key accountmanagement (KAM) is one such relational strategy that
suppliers rely upon to manage their relationships with strategically important customers. Yet suppliers still
struggle to put such programs into practice effectively, most likely because academic investigation has yet to
report on what actions explain the performance of KAM initiatives. Aiming to fill this gap, we first identify a
set of key KAM practices at the strategic, organizational, tactical and control levels of management. Next, we
examine how these practices explain the performance of KAM through the mediating effect of the supplier's
relational capabilities and the relational outputs that such capabilities produce. The results provide support for
most of the hypothesized relationships, showing that the identified practices positively affect performance and
dyadic outcomes through the mediation coming from the variables examined. From a theoretical perspective,
the study adds to our understanding of the factors underlying effective KAM practices. From a managerial
perspective, the results provide insights into how suppliers can achieve KAM effectiveness through
relationship-oriented activities, skills and outcomes.
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