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September 27, 2011 LEARNING SOLUTIONS > Blended Learning

Forget Sales Volume, It’s All About Customer Contribution

     

Customer contribution must become a more important metric, when key account management designation is under consideration. It is crucial for senior management to understand that traditional measures used to define a client’s contribution are no longer adequate.

In the days when money seemed to flow a lot more freely and the business world was far less complex, management decision-makers could often refer to the monthly sales volume, or market share when considering how important the particular client was to the overall mix. Quite simply, the more money that came through this particular client pipeline, the more money in terms of time, effort and resources could be placed into the pot by the pharmaceutical company, to make sure that that client was likely to stay around.

Pharmaceutical marketing training teaches us that Key Account Management is only one part of several major components, when customer relationship marketing and management is considered. While considering the management of key accounts, it’s important to analyse the customer portfolio, consider the lifetime value potential, an increasingly more important metric that should determine whether the lifecycle is likely linked to a particular product, trend or other value. It is well known that key account management can only be successful if an “appropriate” relationship is developed and that in this particular field, one size most certainly does not fit all.

When it comes to customer contribution, this can often be rather difficult to quantify. Does the customer represent a strategic ally for the company? As politics within the industry becomes ever more prevalent, it’s quite conceivable that a customer could be designated as “key,” even though the actual financial contribution to the company’s turnover is relatively small. In terms of lobbying or other methods of tangible or intangible support, it could be very worthwhile for the company to elevate this particular client to a pedestal, alongside those who may be contributing a great deal more in financial terms.

Pharmaceutical marketing departments must be able to recognise the diverse contributions that each and every client makes and how rather subtle elements could translate into potential benefits for the company. Does this mean that to be effective we must also be experts in psychology and should seek to find training for all those who come into contact with these key accounts in the subtle nuances associated with this approach?

By some estimation, almost 2/3 of pharmaceutical companies in the market today still consider key account management to be largely ruled by sales volume. Clearly, there is considerable opportunity for Key Account Management Training here, to step in and educate the relevant people and organisations. As it becomes ever more difficult to adequately communicate with the end user, it follows that companies should become ever more strategic in the way that they micromanage its existing client base. Key Account Management and Pharmaceutical Marketing training will need therefore to avoid the use of a broad brush in the future, focussing more on the touch of an artist repainting the Sistine Chapel, as the industry with its desire to implement Key Account Management comes to terms with this new reality.

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