Strategic relationship management: Why large organizations and their partners sink or swim together

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July 2016


Customers, distributors, and vendors sink or swim together. One-sided relationships that maximize value for only one partner are self-defeating. They often result in the dissolution of worthwhile relationships, including the loss of key customers and the inability to access meaningful new opportunities.

Despite this, when it comes to managing relationships with vendors, distributors, and customers, most companies set the bar low, and it shows during the annual planning process. As a result, organizations tend to manage these critical relationships in silos, quarter-to-quarter, seeking to maintain or marginally improve the partnerships currently in place.

The status quo is far from ideal, and many companies are beginning to realize that successfully deploying their relationship capital can provide a significant boost to long-term revenue and profitability prospects.

Unlike traditional, siloed vendor, distributor, and customer relationship management functions, strategic relationship management (SRM) views vendor, distributor, and customer relationships holistically (e.g., from each perspective), and allows organizations not only to improve the terms of these relationships, but also to radically re-imagine them by developing new partnership models. SRM also enables organizations to streamline their total vendor and distributor footprint by focusing strategic spend on a few core partnerships.

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Jay Kaduson

US Wealth Management Leader, PwC US

Bruce Brodie

Managing Director, Insurance Strategy, PwC US

John Dixon

Insurance Advisory Services Manager, PwC US

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