Aconsultant's job can be defined in three ways: Bring back sales, bring back customer information that can lead to sales, and leave behind alliances with top-tier decision makers.
Sometimes a sale will build an alliance. More often, alliances help build sales.
There are four levels on which alliances must be structured in a key customer account. Three of them are in the upper management tier: top managers, financial managers, and operating managers. The fourth is the purchasing level, where the traditional adversary relationship must be converted into a more partnerable affiliation.
The objectives of all key account alliances are similar, regardless of the level at which they are to be achieved. Their overriding goal is to ensure customer continuity. Unless key account relationships are continuous, there will be no way to maximize the profit opportunity that a major customer represents. Unless you can keep your key customers, everything else is academic.