SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

Cutting Edge Information

August 26, 2016 08:12 ET

Pharma Sales Tactics: Will The Industry Allow Sales Reps to Shape Key Account Strategy?

Drug companies are looking to involve KAM groups in planning various account engagement strategies

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwired - August 26, 2016) - As the pharmaceutical industry continues to shrink its sales teams, some companies are working to incorporate their field reps in the strategic planning process. Data from a new industry study found that surveyed drug companies show a desire to increase sales involvement in strategy sessions. According to the study, 50% of surveyed pharmaceutical sales teams currently help shape account strategy, even though 67% indicated that their ideal sales organization would involve more strategic planning activities.

Compared to other field forces, sales reps are in good company. Sales teams represent the largest field forces at most pharmaceutical companies, followed by MSL teams. And at these companies, sales reps and medical science liaisons (MSLs) are already involved to varying degrees in shaping field force strategy. For instance, 33% of surveyed companies involved their MSLs in shaping account planning, but 50% of MSLs want to play a bigger role in this area.

The newly published study, Pharmaceutical Key Account Management: Forging a Unified Relationship with External Stakeholders, examined the involvement of other field-based teams in setting strategy. The data show that 17% of health outcomes liaison (HOL) teams are presently involved in shaping overall strategy when approaching accounts, while 50% of HOLs want to become more active in this area.

"An important part of the pharma key account management role is interacting directly with accounts to figure out their needs and then sharing important information within the organization," said Adam Bianchi, senior director of research at Cutting Edge Information. "However, successful KAM groups also work with other field forces, such as sales reps and HOLs, to provide an overall strategy for the account."

Key account management (KAM) is a relatively new concept in the pharmaceutical industry. Many companies have only begun implementing these KAM teams in the past five years. The statistics provided in Pharmaceutical Key Account Management demonstrate the increasing importance of KAM involvement in traditional market access field forces.

Pharmaceutical Key Account Management: Forging a Unified Relationship with External Stakeholders, available at, details how KAM teams combine sales proficiency with managed markets knowledge to create a single point of contact for diverse customers who have different and challenging needs. It examines life science companies' hiring and training practices for key account managers.

The study includes:

  • Surveyed pharmaceutical firms' preferred professional backgrounds for new KAM managers.
  • Profiles belonging to real-world KAM teams to compare to your internal operations.
  • The prevalence of specific previous positions among key account management staff.
  • The format and duration of key account management training for both new hire and veteran KAM staff.
  • Surveyed pharmaceutical companies' average KAM compensation data across all levels of employee experience for both annual salary and potential bonuses.

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