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Paper info: Identifying the Characteristics of Key Account Managers that Drive Performance


Identifying the Characteristics of Key Account Managers that Drive Performance


Lesley Murphy

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 27th IMP-conference in Glasgow, Scotland in 2011.


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A conceptual model of the factors that are linked to the performance of a Key Account
Manager has been developed. There is a paucity of research in the correlation between the
Key Account Manager’s personal and behavioural characteristics and their influence of the
individual and organisation performance. A review of the literature underlines that the Key
Account Manager can described as a strategic orchestrator or lynch pin and their key role is
to coordinate activities with other members of their organisation. As a result, their individual
characteristics will be tested against trust, collaboration and communication which are
essential for the interpersonal and interdepartmental roles played by a Key Account Manager.
T he conceptual model has been developed through an extensive review of the relevant
literature and a qualitative pre-study. The model will be tested by a large scale survey.
T he Key Account Manager needs to display different characteristics from those of a
traditional sales manager. The research has a managerial implication, which is identifying
essential personal and behavioural characteristics of a KAM, which will aid in the
recruitment and selection process as well as identifying training gaps.
KEYWORDS Key Account Managers, leadership, personality, trust, collaboration,
communication, organisation performance