Effective Pharma KAM Teams - the essential factors driving performance

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Publication Date:
January 2014
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The goal remains the same: pharmaceutical companies wants to influence product adoption, improve sales volume and increase product revenue. Key Account Management (KAM) is now the tool of choice, but too many companies are still engaging with it half heartedly. What can be done and what are the critical issues to address when building a KAM team?

KAM has been around for over 10 years, yet many companies have failed, and some continue to do so, in establishing a full and effective KAM model. Despite the early success of KAM, and the promise it held to be a game changer for customer engagement, companies have often been slow – through fear or inexperience – to embrace all that KAM has to offer. Is this surprising? Cultural change and restructure have long been recognised as a challenge for the pharmaceutical industry. The traditional ‘command and control’, centralised, head office-driven model is ingrained and comfortable: no wonder some are wary of going all the way with KAM.

To cling on to traditional sales methods is to deny market reality. Sales representatives, supported by broadcast messaging, get precious little face time with prescribers, and, as a point of market access, this route continues to diminish. Most importantly, traditional sales methods do not engage, understand or work with customers – and this is where the sales are.

What’s your value proposition?

The heart of a good KAM practice is presenting to prescribers and influencers what the clinical and economic value is of choosing your product. You don’t sell a product; you sell a solution, and a solution which is tailored to meeting their priorities. Clearly such a solution cannot be created centrally and generically applied. To create such a value proposition, the key account manager must engage with a range of stakeholders and decision makers, fully understand what drives them and their decisions and then use this information to position the product for best advantage. This is a long way from old high call rate product detail approach, and requires a unique set of flexible and entrepreneurial skills.

The essentials of building a KAM team

The number of team restructures within Pharma sales and marketing is testimony to the many attempts to get KAM right. Some times KAM practice is only partially introduced; sometimes KAM is a token effort with the current rep sales force being rebranded. Sometimes the necessary cultural and operation change is only skin deep or the KAM initiative has not been given enough time to bed in.

KAM, essentially, is about people. People who can understand patterns within a healthcare service and engage with the right stakeholders in a timely way, people who can develop commercial strategies for a network of influencers and identify opportunities and provide value-based solutions to customers to meet their needs.

This report breaks down KAM requirements and lets you build the team you need.

This new report Effective Pharma KAM Teams – the essential factors driving performance provides everyone involved with building running or implementing KAM strategy with a complete understanding of the issues which are shaping the operating environment and the essential qualities necessary in a competent KAM set up. The report illuminates KAM with insights and case studies from leading experts and those running successful KAM operations.

Key Benefits

  • Learn from the expert insight of experienced KAM practitioners who are leaders in the field and were part of pharma’s original ground-breaking KAM teams
  • Gain key insights into how to help companies adopt the KAM and become a fully integrated key account organisation
  • Understand how to recruit KAM staff, build and nurture a team, strike a balance between autonomy and team work, and how to manage the transition from old hierarchical model to horizontal KAM organisation


Packed with facts, case studies and expert insights, with this report you can:

  • Understand the history of KAM and why its implementation has so often failed
  • Evaluate the ongoing market trends which make effective KAM essential
  • Challenge internal arguments often raised against KAM implementation
  • Identify the key attributes needed for a key account manager
  • Create a KAM infrastructure which will really bring improved sales
  • Define practical recruitment drives, training and team structures

Key quotes

“They're the people who can work beyond just ‘here's a detail A, off you go’. You need a group of people who are interested, motivated and knowledgeable about their environment and want to make a difference. I think people who are willing to challenge their thinking and the thinking of others around them, then we can help support and get them there.” Lundbeck, UK

“For me, KAM is a totally different approach, and it is a commitment on behalf of the entire company that you will work with your customers in a different way."ThermoFisher

“I think this is part of the excitement of making any change and this forms part of the journey. Everyone within the organisation needs to be exposed to this new way of working and therefore everyone needs to have the opportunity to overcome their fears, to overcome their reluctances and to play this new team approach.” Ipsen, Spain