Why KAMs are Critical in Today’s Evolving Market & the Tools Needed to Support

This entry is cross-posted on Understanding Centricity, Antonio’s blog on Life Sciences Innovation and Commercial Excellence—Customer and Patient Centricity within Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices and BioTechnology Landscape.

The healthcare landscape continues to evolve in complexity for Life Sciences companies. The clear shift of prescribing power from physician prescription influence to integrated and centralized decision-making units is a key example.

The new environment creates challenges for the Pharma industry:

  • How to build mutually beneficial partnershipswith customers to create long-term value?
  • How to create strong relationships with payers to facilitate market access for the patient?
  • How to ensure visibility and accessibility at every geographical level in a more competitive environment?

In order to better understand the value of the customer, pharmaceutical manufacturers’ needs to know exactly the economic value of the targeted physicians to the market, the prescription behavior profiles that each physician is evidencing and a clear understanding of the changing influence patterns for all the stakeholders groups.

Using a model, which was popularized in the late 90’s and 00’s by Oncology business units, many pharma companies are starting to organize themselves with an emphasis on Key Account Managers (KAMs), placing the company representatives with high focus on partnership with the customer instead of the traditional share of voice model of selling.

What defines a Best-in-Class KAM and how can we understand his or her impact in 2016 onwards?

Figure 1: Three Pillars of Key Account Management (KAM)


In companies with best-in-class KAMs, the key account managers are able to understand how to build trust with key accounts and related stakeholders, being able to effectively focus on a cross-functional team approach. For most of the cases, the pharma KAMs are equipped with a deep knowledge of local health economics and are able to build a strong presence in patient solutions creating more meaningful connections with the clinical stakeholders. These KAMs use competitive intelligence to better target top priority accounts, thus using resources more efficiently and create an effective value proposition that have strong meaning to the stakeholders with the ultimate outcome of product portfolio maximization.

Are strong tools and technology available to support the KAM organization?

Though pharma companies are moving to global solutions for commercial operations and CRM, the processes and information to support KAM operations and a 360 degree view of the customer requires further diligence. A consolidated platform should offer consistency around Key Account Strategy Plans so the entire organization can join efforts and have visibility around the same plan.

The CRM platform needs to provide the full picture to the Account Plan stakeholders allowing to share strategic tactics with different organizational players like: MSLs, Marketing, Regulatory affairs and Commercial. Finally, it should track and monitor main Account Plan KPIs and future steps.

An Account Plan module, as an integral part of CRM solution, should provide the capabilities to the company to leverage the knowledge acquired by KAMs. Such module would encompass not only tactics and objectives but also KPIs tracking against them. Overall strategy and achievements are thus shared across the entire organization.


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