Is adoption of a Key Account Management approach to customer relationships the key to success at 3M?

Alessio Arcando, Fabio Ancarani March 4, 2022


Antonella Rummenigge, 3M EMEA VP, when calling for the Operating Committee, was strongly convinced that, to further accelerate growth with the Key Accounts, her organization should have looked for a strategic shift in the Go to Market model. The internal and external market research, conducted by Massimo Cammino, was clearly showing that revenue growth from major clients had been falling over the past two years and feedback from the Key Accounts were indicating several critical issues like: lack of alignment with their needs, lack of systems to track account performances, lack of senior management engagement and leadership. Massimo conclusions brought to the negative reactions from the Operating Committee both at Regional Managing Directors and Business Directors level: they were believing that a change in the coordination of the Key Accounts would have brought damages in the internal and external trading relationships. Antonella listened to all the input and finally asked two key questions:

  • How should we change go-to market model to accelerate our top customers growth?
  • What are the alternatives that other successful players have put in place to overcome the same issue? Massimo shared Strategic Account

Management Association (SAMA) findings in relation to the need of an organizational change and a shift towards a more customer-centric orientation to improve overall customer experience. At this point Antonella indicated the next step: Alex Zanetti, together with Massimo and William Corse would have worked together to elaborate, in one month, a final proposal to: re-organize EMEA sales organization to select and manage Key Accounts, address the decision rights to increase speed and governance, increase customer experience related to pan European contracts.

Target for Teaching

  • Sales growth challenges
  • Strategic customer’s selection and de-selection
  • Organizational changes
  • Governance
  • Senior engagement and leadership (executive sponsor role)
  • Internal communication

Target audience and Issues

  • Executive and MBA Courses

Teaching objectives

After working on the case and understood the organizational background, participants will learn the following:

  • Characteristics of a matrix organization
  • How to align resources and processes to the Customers
  • How to address/change internal communication
  • How to involve senior management
  • Key Account Management
This abstract is based on
Is adoption of a Key Account Management approach to customer relationships the key to success at 3M? | Case Study: Reference no. 322-0046-1 | Teaching Note: Reference no. 322-0046-8