How to Unlock the Potential of Key Account Management

Brian Chapman, Roz Lawson and Matt Scheitlin

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The makers of medical technology can no longer ignore the commercial stakeholder. As populations age and budgets fray, the business of healthcare is no longer strictly about features and benefits, or perhaps even outcomes. Multiple trends are increasing the power of economic stakeholders. Regional authorities, purchasing groups, trusts and networks are gaining decision-making power at the expense of hospitals. In response, the med device industry is turning to key account selling, yet performance remains unsatisfactory and the results have been disappointing.

The reasons for success or failure usually depend on the people doing the selling. Success in sales is about people, and relationships play a critical role in a successful sales process. This is especially true in key account selling: People are the crucial asset.

Overcoming KAMs’ challenges and reversing disappointing results requires that medtech companies focus on finding, cultivating, scaling and empowering the right talent, and enabling them to build and sustain long-term relationships with their accounts.

We’ve identified five common challenges in hiring, developing and managing sales talent for key accounts selling teams. Overcoming these challenges can help medical device companies cope with the turbulent market conditions endemic to the industry and develop significant advantages over the competition.

About the Experts

Brian Chapman is a principal in ZS’s Zurich office and leads the consulting practice for ZS’s medical products and services team. While at ZS, he has worked with companies on a range of sales and marketing issues, including sales force effectiveness, organizational design, opportunity assessment, channel design, new product launch strategy, value proposition development, territory alignment and incentive compensation. Having spent time working and living in the U.S., Europe and Asia, Brian has significant experience with global projects.

Roz Lawson is an associate principal based in ZS’s London office. Roz consults with medical device and diagnostics clients on opportunity assessment, commercial strategy and organization design. She has helped clients understand the market, define their go-to-market strategy, and implement it through their sales and marketing teams.

Matt Scheitlin is an associate principal in ZS’s London office. He has worked extensively with medical technology clients in the European, U.S. and Asian markets. He has expertise in solving a wide range of sales and marketing challenges, with a particular focus on global opportunity assessment, go-to-market strategy and sales force effectiveness.