For 50 years SAMA has helped professionals in strategic, key and global account management build successful SAM organizations within their companies.


A few companies recognized the concept of national account selling in the early and mid-1950s. The first American Management Association seminar on this subject was held at the Astor Hotel in 1956 and attended by a dozen or so men who had become interested in the idea.

Alongside several others, E. Brooke Lee Jr. of Scott Paper Co. started a series of intermittent luncheons and after-work cocktail sessions to exchange information on the application of national account selling. As the number of attendees grew, it became apparent that a formal national account structure was needed. In late 1961, Lee planned a series of meetings for 1962 at which national account activities would be a major or the major topic discussed. In December 1962 it was announced that an information association, the National Account Marketing Association, would be formed.

March 13, 1963 First National Account Marketing Association Annual Meeting – Princeton Club in New York City
September 22, 1964 A NAMA organizational meeting held at the New York Athletic Club in New York City marked the official beginning of becoming a trade association.
December 7, 1964 NAMAs’ First Annual Meeting – Barbizon Plaza in New York.
At this meeting, Frank A. Kelly of 3M’s electrical division was NAMA's first Sales Manager of the Year.
December 8, 1964

NAMA’s certificate of incorporation was executed, and the association began its legal existence.

Roster of first board of directors:

Don Bellgardt
Bill Bird
George Carroll
Gerry Cunningham
Bill Dopf
Jim Elf
Jerry Hughes
Steve Korsen
    Marty McGuinn
    Dan Merritt
    Bob Rogers
    R.E. Tidrick
    Don Wickman
    Norm Williams
    Joe Yourish


February 1966 Industrial Marketing Magazine ran a story on NAMA’s Annual Meeting held on December 8-10, 1965, at Key Biscayne Hotel in Florida.
September 23, 1966 The first workshop on National Account Marketing was held at the New York Athletic Club with approximately 90 members and guests in attendance.
June 3, 1968 New periodical announced, NAMA News
1969 The first President’s Panel was held at the 5th Annual Conference at the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, Florida. Presidents of large and varied companies came to speak about their firms' and industries' national account activities. .
Theme: National Account Marketing - Key to Sales in the Seventies

April 25-28, 1971 Former NAMA officers Ed Walsh, Ed Thomas and Bob Rogers were made lifetime members at the 7th Annual Conference.
1972 The first screening committee was set up to vet guest speakers at NAMA annual meetings.
May 7, 1972 Lifetime member status was awarded to NAMA President Albert P. Shutts at the 8th Annual Conference.
1972 - 1973 Educational seminars were established to be held before monthly luncheon meetings.
May 2, 1973 The first operating committee – composed of elected officers – was formed by NAMA President Charles Goldey.
May 19-22, 1974 10th Annual Meeting – The Wigwam, Phoenix, Arizona. Theme: After a Decade of Progress, the Challenge Ahead
  • Orville Freeman
The first Executive Luncheon was held. Orville Freeman, U.S. agriculture secretary, was the guest speaker.
1976 NAMA headquarters was established at the Chemists Club in New York City.
May 1977 NAMA presented a seminar on national account selling for the National Association of Purchasing Management.
1978 American Management Association seminars on national account selling were the best source of new members for NAMA. NAMA became a liaison to the AMA, providing speakers in return for the opportunity to pitch NAMA.

1980-1981 The NAMA Handbook was published.
March 4, 1982 NAMA held its first day-long seminar in New York. This was a continuation of the Marketing Science Institute's professional guidance to dissect the theory and practice of national account marketing. More than 160 people attended the seminar chaired by George Sexton, NAMA's president from 1976 to 1977.
March 4, 1982 The President’s Award was reinstated.
August 16, 1983 In a great boost for NAMA, Sales & Marketing Management magazine ran an article on national accounts. The article produced 98 inquiries, sold 22 handbooks and provided 11 memberships.
May 1984 NAMA's 20th Annual Conference – Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

1990 SAM Innovation (SAMI) Awards were given.
1991 The National Account Marketing Association was renamed the National Account Management Association.


NAMA News became NAMA Journal.

May 15-18 1994 NAMA's 30th Annual Conference – San Diego, CA
June 1995 NAMA developed its education committee.
August 10-14, 1998 The first NAMA University was held at the Drake Hotel in Chicago.
July 1999 SAMA had added almost 900 members since July 1998, and membership soared to more than 1,500. That included 21 Fortune 100 companies and 99 Fortune 500 companies.
Fall 1999



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Over the Years

Velocity® magazine and the Focus newsletters were launched.

Fall 1999 SAMA launched its website:
Winter 1999

Nalco joined SAMA, eventually becoming the lengthiest member.

Rockwell Automation became SAMAs' first corporate member.

The National Account Management Association became the Strategic Account Management Association.

February 1-2, 2000 The first Pan-European Conference was held at the Sheraton Schiphol Airport hotel in Amsterdam. Title: Pan-European Forum on Key Account Management
Spring 2000 SAMA Knowledge Resources: A formal survey covering the current state of practices in strategic account management was first launched by SAMA in 2000 and conducted at our Annual Conference venue. The study was repeated at our annual meeting for the next four years, through 2004. It was in 2008 when a more comprehensive survey to capture trends and practices in SAM was launched to the full membership and larger SAM community, and since has been conducted every other year alternating now with our Survey of SAM Compensation Practices.
May 21-24, 2000 SAMA hosted its largest conference to date. Over 1,100 guests attended the Annual Conference held at the Marriott Rivercenter, in San Antonio, Texas. Theme: Maximizing Strategic Customer Relationships
May 23-26, 2004 SAMA's 40th Annual Conference – Orlando World Center Marriott, Orlando, Florida. Theme: Engaging the Enterprise: How to Impact the Strategy and Bottom Line of Your Key Customers
April 5, 2006 SAMA hosted its first webinar
The Biggest Issues Facing Sales and Account Management Today and What to Do About Them by Dan Kosch and Mark Shonka of IMPAX
October 2006 SAMA's current president and CEO, Bernard Quancard, began his tenure.

January 2010
SAMA University began its initiative to host in multiple locations across the world
(Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Paris)
September 2011 The Certified Strategic Account Manager (CSAM) Program began.
April 16, 2013


SAMA's CSAM Program had its first graduate, Bernard Souche, director of health system strategies at Medtronic of Canada Ltd.
September 2013 SAMA hosted its first SAMA Academy Asia in Singapore with 45 attendees and an average feedback score of 4.5 (out of 5).

Fun Facts

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