Communicating brand benefits is a cornerstone of commercial strategies and key in maximizing brand revenue. In the past, pharmaceutical and medical device companies have looked to sales teams to deliver these brand communications to physicians in both private practices and hospital settings. But the current commercial landscape has expanded to include a myriad of new stakeholders and decision makers. Now, these communications must reach a broader range of targets — including insurers, accountable care organizations and pharmacists — and must meet increasingly varied interests.
Many pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers are looking to key account management strategies to forge stronger relationships with their products’ external stakeholders. Traditional sales representatives still call on individual physicians and specialists. Key account managers (KAMs), how¬ever, call on a wider range of healthcare decision makers. KAMs may call on larger physician networks in some instances. But they also work with nurses, pharmacists and even payers and large hospital systems’ stakeholders. These account managers are charged with developing deep, meaningful rela¬tionships with their targets — in many cases, becoming a single point of contact with the company for all interactions.
To meet the needs of a growing range of external stakeholders, many life science companies are changing the ways that they disseminate information. Instead of relying on a host of field forces — from medical science liaisons and sales reps to health outcomes liaisons and managed markets account managers — some firms are implementing key account management teams to work closely with their largest commercial accounts. These emerging field forces are charged with building long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with large physician networks, pharmacies and wholesalers, private and government payers, and hospital systems.
Life science companies define key account management in many ways. As pharmaceutical and device firms pull together their KAM teams, they must be able to identify key accounts and targets. Account and target needs combine to determine the role of key account managers and their structure within the company.