The need for adaptive and effective KAMs in the current healthcare climate
Evolving from traditional representative’s dealing with; gate keepers in surgeries, local formularies/budget holders, and knocking on GPs doors to far more complex multi-layered environments. This forces companies to focus on key account management (KAM) to effectively promote uptake of their portfolio brands.
In parallel healthcare companies have faced significant price pressure in and across countries. Companies across the spectrum are affected. It’s compounded by fierce competition from generics and substitution at pharmacy as well as governments and public health authorities who wish to drive down costs while increasing value to the system. And also, many countries have established agencies that review and provide guidance on therapies usage so patients receive high quality care at a cost-effective level.
With so many stakeholders, who could be directly or indirectly part of the guidance and prescribing decision, it is essential that each are engaged as and when needed by the KAM or network of support in the company.
GP’s still have the power of prescribing, but often pressure on health governance can dictate prescribing choice available through budget controls and pressure on GPs time, along with close attention from competitor Healthcare companies.
No longer does an increase in promotional noise with GP’s simply lead to higher sales. Companies have to understand the needs at the local level and tailor their offerings.
A company’s approach to engaging the stakeholders has to be extremely effective and dynamic. Each stakeholder is a specialist within their functional area; so, knowledge and skills have had to evolve of time of companies’ KAMs along with supportive company resources for the KAM to be effective.
Healthcare companies must now coordinate engagement around the decision-making bodies and complex prescribing budget process. Meaning less direct interactions with individual prescribers, specialists or relationships with individuals at an account level.
This shift in power means that old sales models are not as effective for brand uptake.
Leaving companies to maximise promotion in; portfolios around disease, therapies, customers, guidance, formularies, accounts, and health service provision.
Often healthcare companies try to do this by basing their targeting on high prescribing areas with a mix of key endorsement areas, while taking in to account products with fast or slow growth and position in life cycle. This may grate against the local prescribing needs we discussed above.
KAMs are in a demanding environment where they’re required to adapt and change to effectively manage their activities. They are the company link for sales and marketing to stakeholders, but struggle to get data to the right level of granularity. Healthcare companies are having to act very differently from what they did ten years or more ago, including measuring the performance of their KAMs very differently than previously.
Author: Chris Watson