The Future of Key Account Management in Pharma

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Publication Date:
July 2019
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Are you ready for fundamental disruption to key account management practice?

While the Key Account Management (KAM) role will continue to prioritise the development of long-term, sustainable partnerships between pharmaceutical vendors and healthcare providers, the evolution of these relationships, and the techniques and policies which drive practice, are set for radical change. Advancing communication technology, increasingly complex stakeholder needs, the shift in purchase decision-making and the rise of cross-border "super" accounts all point to a changed and challenging landscape for KAMs in the future.

If you want robust KAM then strategic planning and change management are essential to develop an adaptive yet focused approach to developing and maintaining customer relationships. In The Future of Key Account Management in Pharma experienced KAM executives from companies such as Otsuka, Takeda and Vifor Pharma assess the current KAM landscape and identify the future changes, challenges and opportunities that are shaping this critical pharma/stakeholder interface.

KAM experts tackle key questions:

  • Which digital and communications technologies will play a key role in future KAM practice, and why?
  • What type of real-world data is going to play a role in the future of KAM and why?
  • Will the ratio of direct-to-physician sales vs. bulk system contracts change in the next five to ten years and how will this impact KAM activity?
  • Is the value of KAMs fully recognised by pharma management and could they be making a greater contribution to the wider commercial effort?
  • What are the challenges/opportunities for KAM in the rise of cross-border "super" accounts?
  • Is there a future role for KAMs in payer negotiations?
  • What metrics and assessment models will you need to effectively evaluate KAM success?

What our experts say…

"Key account managers will need to evolve to survive! I hear all of the time that companies are looking for someone who has an understanding of, or has worked with, local plans, regional payers, Group Purchasing Organisations, Integrated Digital Networks, national payer giants, and Pharmacy Benefit Managers, and has experience in the federal sector; also, since they need to lead without authority, they need to have a background in management. An account manager or account management team is no longer focused on one account type, but is rather a highly capable individual, who must move between customer types due to the inter-connectivity of the ecosystem of healthcare."
Ellie Saxer
Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, US

"An HEOR or BIM model that can show a customer or institution the overall value and cost is the type of RWD that will play a role in the future of KAM. Today's customer is looking beyond just what a product can do. You must be able to demonstrate its overall cost and impact to the healthcare system."
Leonard Erskine
Senior National Account Manager at Incyte, US

"The biggest challenge at the moment to the industry is that we've still gone down the rebadging route, where we've changed the title of the hospital specialist, the general practice specialist or the salesperson into a KAM without proper assessment or proper development plans and we're expecting a sea change in behaviour. I think the challenge for companies is to really make sure that we get the right people in the KAM role and that we put the right development plans in place. We also need to start recruiting effectively. I think there's been a reliance, and I suppose quite rightly so, on people who are in existing jobs getting the opportunity to demonstrate KAM behaviour, but it's a huge challenge for the industry because there's a group of people who simply want to go out and do their four or five calls a day and not really get involved in the business discussions, the education, the market development side of things, the marketing side of things – they will struggle with the KAM role. The challenge for the industry is to make sure we get the right people in the right place who will embrace key account management and deliver it, however that looks for a particular company."
Allan Mackintosh
Vifor Pharma, UK

"Regarding payer negotiations, most companies use managed market teams and Group Purchasing Organisation teams to negotiate the contract internally, to get approval from legal and regulatory teams. And then we just present the approved contract to the different accounts and institutions. So, I see the KAMs in a presenting role, because managed markets have a large geography and can't be in every account. Key account managers are the feet on the ground and managed market teams are the strategic partner."
Anonymous Oncology Account Manager, US

What to expect

  • A detailed report revealing the insights of 8 KAM experts who explore the changing landscape, challenges and solutions for developing KAM practice and policies that are fit for the future
  • An examination of 7 key issues which key account managers and planners need to understand and respond to
  • 20 targeted questions put to industry experts
  • Their perceptive responses that provide 52 insights supported by 137 directly quoted comments

The expert panel for Trends in Investment by Big Pharma

This report harnesses the critical insights of 8 pharma experts all of whom meet the following criteria:

• 5+ years in KAM team management roles, or
• 3 years in KAM with prior experience in sales
• Experienced in managing different products and market segments

  • Mona Breivik is the Nordic Customer Excellence Lead at Takeda, previously holding the role of KAM Excellence Manager for Takeda AS in Norway for almost five years. Breivik works within a cross-functional team to develop the account management capabilities of individual KAMs and is a member of the Takeda AS board. She has broad experience in leadership across multiple large international corporations, as well as Nordic and national organisations. Her competencies within the pharmaceutical industry span across sales, marketing, product launches and personnel management.
  • Leonard Erskine is the Senior National Account Manager at Incyte, US. He has over 20 years of experience in sales and market management within the US pharmaceutical industry. With a reputation for exceeding sales and profits, Erskine has executed product launch strategies in managed care segments and in sales, demonstrating an ability to effectively manage major accounts, including commercial accounts and accounts within oncology, speciality pharmacy and Medicare Part D.
  • Steve Finnigan brings 18 years of experience in the pharma industry to his position as Key Account Manager at Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, UK. Implementing KAM metrics to drive efficiency and measure the success of sales teams has allowed Finnigan to develop a synergistic relationship with various stakeholders to ensure that there is continued delivery of value to both the company and its customers.
  • Allan Mackintosh is a Field Sales Trainer at Vifor Pharma, UK. He has more than 35 years of experience working within the pharmaceutical industry, with expertise in sales team performance, KAM and performance management training. With a client-centred approach to his work, Mackintosh has successfully managed account teams throughout the UK. He played an instrumental role in the transition of Grünenthal UK to KAM and in the creation of eight high performance UK key account teams.
  • Ellie Saxer joined Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America in September 2018, as Corporate Account Director. Prior to this, she filled KAM and sales roles for Daiichi Sankyo and AMAG Pharmaceuticals. Saxer has over 15 years' experience in the healthcare industry in roles that include leadership, corporate, KAM, sales, federal accounts, and science and IT training. An award-winning people manager, Saxer works to improve patient care through the implementation of innovative programmes and resources.
  • Anonymous Regional Key Account Manager, US, has 17 years of experience in sales and account management, combined with multiple awards and recognitions for top performance. His current position focuses on oncology accounts, but he also has experience in endocrinology, nephrology, cardiology, rheumatology, paediatrics, otolaryngology, pain management, internal medicine and family practice.
  • Anonymous Oncology Account Manager, US, has over 20 years sales and key account experience within several large pharmaceutical companies. She is passionate about providing an exceptional customer experience for her key accounts and works hard to combine this with the end goal of enhancing patient care. Her team strive to maximise their capabilities at commercialising their current and future portfolio of drugs.
  • Anonymous Key Account Manager, Sweden, has over 20 years' experience, during which time she has developed her skills while working for both large and small pharma companies. She is highly focused on driving successful sales and building and maintaining strategic client relationships.

Why Choose FirstWord ExpertViews?

FirstWord ExpertViews reports reveal the real world insights of knowledgeable experts to analyse, in detail, key commercial and market trends that pharma management need to understand if they are to effectively respond to critical developments and exploit opportunities. These highly-focused reports:

  • Are based on primary research with experts whose knowledge and current experience is proven
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