Five ways to create a win/win with key account growth

Alisha Lyndon

April 11, 2024

With over 25 years of experience at Pfizer, Jerid Lydic has a nuanced understanding of key account growth.

Five ways to create a win/win with key account growth

In a recent podcast, we delved into the challenges of securing and retaining key accounts, uncovering invaluable insights that pave the way for mutual success.

Here are five strategies for creating a win/win scenario in key account growth.

Identify the right accounts

Identifying the right key accounts is paramount to success. As Jerid emphasizes, this process begins with a robust segmentation and selection approach. Rather than relying solely on past performance metrics, organizations should prioritize future potential and alignment with organizational goals.

Jerid says, “You start with the full universe of accounts and then segment them into three or four buckets. Then, you focus on your strategic or key accounts. It’s about finding accounts that not only matter now but will also be relevant in the future.”

Gain executive support

Executive support is essential for the success and sustainability of key account management initiatives. And there’s a big difference between sponsorship and involvement. To gain executive buy-in, it’s crucial to demonstrate the value proposition of key account management and align it with the organization’s strategic objectives.

Jerid advocates active participation from top management in key accounts. “I think the more clear direction we can give to executive participation, the better chance we have of getting that participation.”

If you secure that meeting with someone in the C-suite, you've got to bring value. You've got to have them close the door after the meeting and say, 'When can I get them on the books again?'

Adopt a customer-centric mindset

Organizations must prioritize understanding the customer journey and delivering value aligned with their needs and goals. Jerid highlights the shift towards customer-centricity in the pharma industry. “It’s not just about the supplier organization and what they can push. It has to be about the whole solution. You have to have key accounts pulling, wanting that solution from your organization. So, understanding the world from the eyes of the customer and the patient is crucial.”

This approach requires deep empathy and a willingness to tailor solutions to each client’s unique challenges and opportunities. By adopting a customer-centric mindset, organizations can build trust, loyalty, and long-term partnerships with key accounts.

Sustain organizational commitment

Jerid warns of “fits and starts”. Sustaining organizational commitment is crucial to prevent key account management initiatives from becoming mere cost centers or pet projects.

“I think the companies that do a really good job with this are the companies that build the belief and understanding in key account management across the executive team… across the senior leadership team. You almost create an integrated account team for key account management inside the organization.”

By integrating key account management into the organizational DNA, companies can ensure continuity and resilience in the face of organizational changes and leadership transitions.

Drive strategic alignment with accounts

It’s imperative to delve deep into understanding the unique needs and challenges of each account, through comprehensive research and analysis. And it’s crucial to not only align with the supplier’s objectives but also with the key account’s goals, fostering a collaborative partnership grounded in shared success.

“If you’re not doing that 80% [of understanding the account], then you’re not really doing account management. If it’s completely obvious, whatever the proposal is, to both sides, and both sides see that as an obvious win for each of them, then usually those organizations are, I think, happy to work together,” Jerid said.

Listen to the podcast here.

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