Background Note | HBS Case Collection | August 1988

Close Encounters of the Four Kinds: Managing Customers in a Rapidly Changing Environment

by Benson P. Shapiro

Abstract

Describes four kinds of selling: 1) transaction, 2) systems, 3) major account management, and 4) strategic account relationships. Explains the advantages, disadvantages, and risks of each. The second half is devoted to a discussion of strategic account relationships which embody importance, intimacy, and longevity for both the vending and the buying companies.

Keywords: Customer Relationship Management; Risk and Uncertainty; Social Psychology;

Citation:

Shapiro, Benson P. "Close Encounters of the Four Kinds: Managing Customers in a Rapidly Changing Environment." Harvard Business School Background Note 589-015, August 1988.