Home Resources


Is Key Account Management more important than ever?

Published June 23, 2023

Inflexion Group co-founders Tim Shercliff and Bev Burgess shared perspectives from their book, Account-Based Growth (Kogan Page, 2022) at the annual AKAM Workshop in Lisbon, Portugal (June 2023).

Here are Tim and Bev’s three key takeaways from the workshop.

1. Economic pressures mean focusing on key customers is more important than ever

The recent fragmentation of supply chains, with globalisation de-stabilised and increased economic volatility, is driving an even greater need for companies to focus on their most important customers. We were struck by the number of companies that need to not only focus on the next link in the supply chain, where their business may be transacted, but also in the end customer, who may be driving demand but with whom the supplier may do no direct business. The idea of having a key account that has zero direct revenue is an interesting but important concept, introduced by Stefan Wengler from Hof University.

2. Technology companies are leading the way

The sophisticated and long-term nature of KAM programmes in the technology companies we work with are leading the way. For example, Accenture, with its Diamond Client Programme, derives over 50% of its revenue from around 3.5% of its customer base, and so naturally invests heavily in the management of these important accounts. This includes commitment from the CEO down to spending time with these customers and a management system that brings these customers’ perspectives right to the heart of the way Accenture is run. This ’50/3.5’ ratio accords with our research, showing the fractal nature of the 80/20 rule. It led to a healthy debate as to how to resource these customers appropriately, and the level of experience and gravitas needed in the KAMs trusted to lead these relationships.

3. Key Account Managers must take the lead with internal and external stakeholders

Alistair Thursfield from Lufthansa Systems picked up on this theme, explaining how he applied the three dimensions of responsibility, ambition and empathy to embed leadership capabilities into the KAMs who support Lufthansa Systems’ business with multiple airlines around the world. The KAM is the fulcrum between the customer (who sees them as bringing them the best from their strategic supplier), and the supplier (who gives them the responsibility to manage a significant business relationship over the long term). Their ability to face both ways and adopt a leadership role with their internal and external stakeholders, and in the ecosystem within which both operate, makes the role both fascinating and challenging, but also complex and difficult.

Our thanks to Diana Woodburn, Chair at AKAM for organising the event and to ISEG, Lisbon School of Economics and Management for hosting us.

If you would like to know more about how Inflexion Group can support your key account programme, please contact Tim Shercliff tim@inflexiongroup.com.


Tim Shercliff

Tim Shercliff

Tim is a senior business executive and Board level advisor with a track record in delivering outstanding results in the technology sector. Tim provides an unusual combination of experience in P&L management of large business units, with strategy development and execution in global businesses and complex programme management.

Privacy notice

Your privacy is important to us and we are committed to protecting your personal data. This privacy notice sets out how Inflexion Group Ltd uses and protects any personal data you give to us when you use this website.

Inflexion Group is committed to protecting your privacy and complying with the UK General Data Protection Regulation (“UK GDPR”) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (“DPA 2018”). This privacy notice sets out your rights, and the basis by which we collect, use and disclose the personal data on you. Inflexion Group will always aim to be transparent about how we process personal data.

Who we are

INFLEXION GROUP LTD is incorporated and registered in England and Wales with company number 13253251 and whose registered office is at Pantiles Chambers, 85 High Street, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1 1XP, United Kingdom.

How do we collect personal data from you?

We collect personal data on this website in the following circumstances:

  1. data which is collected and stored during normal use of the site, such as your IP address and the pages you visited when you opt to submit personal information, in order for us to send you further information or email alerts;
  2. when you request to view certain content, such as white papers, or research; or when you register for an event, conference or webinar.

Any information you provide, or which we request in order to fulfill legal requirements, will only be used in accordance with this privacy notice.

What data about you is collected and stored?

The personal data we might collect and store includes;

  • your basic information and contact details. This may include your name, the organisation to which you belong or represent (if applicable), your contact phone number and email address. Information about your computer, such as your IP address, operating system and browser type.
  • details of your visits to our website, the pages you view and resources you access or download.
  • if you contact us with an enquiry, or for information, we may keep a record of that correspondence.
  • we may ask you to complete surveys that we use for research purposes, although you do not have to respond to them.
  • if you are a delegate or attendee, we may also hold any special requirements you may have regarding the event(s) you are attending.

How is your data used?

We may use your personal data in the following ways:

  • we analyse browsing activity data to understand how people use the features and functions of our website to identify improvement so that we can provide you with a better website experience
  • we analyse how you interact with website and email content to enable us to provide you with better and more relevant content
  • to fulfil your requests for more information, e.g., white papers, articles, or other content. Pages that collect this type of information may provide further information as to why your data is needed and how it will be used.
  • for surveys or research questionnaires to help improve our content or our services to you.
  • to contact you for marketing purposes where you have agreed to this.

How we protect your data

We are committed to ensuring that your personal data is secure.  To prevent unauthorised access or disclosure your data is held securely on credible, established Cloud Services in accordance with our IT Security Policy. Access to Inflexion Group’s Cloud storage areas is restricted and controlled.

All our employees, Associates, partners and suppliers have signed non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements with Inflection Group, which in particular cover your personal data.

How long will we keep your personal data?

Whenever we collect or process your personal data, we will only keep it for as long as is necessary for the purpose for which it was collected unless we need to keep it longer to comply with our legal obligations.

At the end of that period your data will either be deleted completely or anonymised, e.g. by aggregation with other data so that it can be used in a non-identifiable way for analysis and business planning.

What legal basis do we have for processing your personal data?

When we collect your personal data we will make it clear to you which data is necessary in connection with a particular service.

The law on data protection sets out a number of different reasons for which a company may collect and process your personal data, including:


In specific situations, we may collect and process your data with your consent, e.g., when you consent to receive marketing materials or make an enquiry.

Legal Compliance

If the law requires us to, we may need to collect and process your data. For example, we can pass on details of people involved in fraud or other criminal activity to law enforcement.

Legitimate Interests

In specific situations, we require your data to pursue our legitimate interests in a way which might reasonably be expected as part of running our business and which does not materially impact your rights, freedom or interests.  For example, where you have provided us with your business card, we may use your address details to send you information on our products, services or research. 

With whom do we share your personal data

We may share your data to support your attendance at one of our events, but only where necessary, e.g. with representatives of a venue where our event is being held.

We will ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place to protect your privacy before sharing your data.

We may share your data with government authorities and/or law enforcement officials if required to do so by law or to meet regulatory requirements.

We will not otherwise share your data with any third party unless we have your consent. We will not sell your data to any third parties.

Your rights

You have the right to ask us for a copy of the data we hold about you, you may request that it be corrected if it is inaccurate or to ask us to delete any or all of your Data or to stop processing it.  However, your rights may be limited if we have a compelling legitimate interest in keeping your Data.

Please contact us at tim@inflexiongroup.com to do so. We will provide you with an electronic copy of your Data or carry out your deletion instructions, in the absence of a legitimate reason for not doing so, within a month of receiving you request.

How to contact us

If you have any questions or concerns about how Inflexion Group handle your personal data then in the first instance you can contact tim@inflexiongroup.com.  We are registered as a tier 1 organisation with the Information Commissioner’s Office, registration number ZB222816.  If we are unable to satisfy your concerns, then under the General Data Protection Regulation you have a right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office at:

Information Governance Department
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

URL: https://ico.org.uk/

Changes to our Privacy Notice

Inflexion Group may change this notice by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This privacy notice is effective from November 2021.