Hosted by SDA Bocconi, Milan, Italy. 27th June 2019


As the temperatures soared in Milan (40° C!), the best place to be was undoubtedly at our meeting on Customer Relationships at Bocconi School of Management, one of Europe’s leading business schools.

Andrea Busnelli, Client Director Automotive Industry IBM, highlighted the importance of customer relationships, particularly when industries are changing fast, which so many are these days. He was even prepared to admit that IBM hadn’t always got it right, so had some valuable suggestions about how to avoid falling into that trap, such as proactively transforming your own scope and preparing for customer transformational events, which requires managing upwards in your own organisation. Some may think that this level of working is beyond the Key Account Manager, but Andrea pointed out that it must not be.

Andrea Dori’s industry has also changed out of all recognition in the last few years. At one time, Illycaffè simply sold excellent coffee, but now, in addition to having extended its product and brand range, the company sees itself as participating in the hospitality industry. Whereas once it sold on the basis of quality, consistency and service, it now deals with goals sharing, global coordination and tailor-made solutions, none of which are possible without Key Account Management in the right customer relationships. Andrea (Head of Illycaffè’s International Accounts Department) controversially revealed how he uses social media in relationships with key accounts and discovered, possibly to his surprise, that just about no-one else in the audience had taken up this opportunity.

AKAM’s Chairman, Dr Diana Woodburn, brought everyone up-to-date with new developments, particularly to new membership offers:

  • ‘Cluster Membership’ where 4 people in the same company can join for the price of 3.
  • Program Membership’, offering exclusive membership to a forum of peers and AKAM Board Members to help with some of the difficult organisational problems incurred by KAM, plus 5 individual memberships.

NB It’s time to enter for the Key Account Manager of the Year Award - it’s easy, simply ask someone to nominate you or nominate someone you know.

Delegates were really interested in what Michael Widing, Hiab’s Customer Experience and Insight Manager, shared about Hiab’s approach to measuring and managing the customer experience. He challenged allegedly customer-centric companies to demonstrate what action they had actually taken to achieve genuine customer centricity. His demonstration of the process to capture net promoter scores, understand the causes behind them and take action accordingly was of great interest to delegates. Even those who had already participated in such a process in their companies admitted that they had not taken it so far, or gained so much from it.

Feedback agreed that it had been a stimulating, productive and valuable day. The next meeting on ‘Value in KAM: What does it mean?’ will be on 6th November in Madrid.



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