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key account management

Key account management case study

Elevating an approach to key account management

A key account management case study centered around account planning.   

Case study: key results

In 10-months, this key account management case study has achieved:

  • 61% of people feeling their thinking and ways or working are now more account and patient focused, with Key Account Managers (KAMs) commenting:

“I feel way more focused assessing the needs of the account with regard to the patient’s journey and Amgen’s ability to support with a tangible outcome for all involved.”

“I like and will use and OTSW regularly as it highlighted some unforeseen challenges. My major learn is to look at the accounts challenges and fit the Amgen solutions to them, rather than shoehorn in Amgen offerings.”

  • ↑ 20% in confidence that the right tools, programmes and expertise now exist to best support the delivery of account plans.
  • ↑ 19% in confidence that an account plan is now aligned to that account and its priorities.

The challenge

When the Covid-19 pandemic took hold of the UK, government guidelines forced many to work from home.

With all of Amgen UKs salesforce off the road, the leadership team saw this as an opportune time to regroup and evolve its approach to account planning – creating a blueprint and standard for account plans that would enable the business to work even closer with its customers, improve patient outcomes and further enhance its market leading position.

The solution

Amgen turned to Rubica to help deliver on its objective.

Rubica were a great partner because they met us where we were at. They were keen to understand why we wanted to deliver the programme, what the strategic imperative was and why we felt like now was the right time. Everything we did thereafter really hinged on that rationale and value story.

Chris Mann, Head of Commercial Excellence UK&I.

Furthermore, Amgen recognised Rubica’s expertise and award-winning experience in Key Account Management, organisational change and the delivery of robust, virtual programmes.

The business was also heartened by the fact that Rubica had an account planning programme that:

  • Could start immediately – stabilising and positively focusing the team at a time of uncertainty.
  • Was pragmatic and tangible – practically applying the approach in live accounts.
  • Felt doable – focusing and encouraging people to make small, pragmatic changes.
  • Felt manageable ensuring other work demands could still be met.
  • Established a proven framework and consistent approach to account planning that could be applied time and again.
  • Quickly delivered results that had a positive impact in the short and long term.

The programme was delivered in bitesize chunks and the learning cycles meant we had time to put what we’d learnt into action. What’s more, Rubica delivered the content in a very engaging and non-threatening way. This was really important, particularly for those that had been in the industry for many years.

Laura Siddall, Regional Account Manager

Through a series of 8 weekly learning cycles, Rubica worked with the UK salesforce to not only develop account planning capabilities but shift mind-sets and behaviours so they were more account-first – placing the customer and patient at the heart of every account plan.

We were able to work at pace with Rubica to deliver the programme, with very quick value realisation, which is often not the case with big capability build initiatives.

Chris Mann, Head of Commercial Excellence UK&I

Each learning cycle not only taught an account planning principle but gave participants the opportunity to practically apply their learning in a live account, gain peer and mentor feedback, and further refine their plans so it aligned with best practice. This approach is informed by Rubica’s 4C’s of change i.e. to embed this new approach, Amgen’s people needed to:

  • Comprehend (the change).
  • Feel Capable to do it.
  • Have the Confidence it’s possible and safe.
  • Are fired up with Conviction to make a different choice and act on it.

To accomplish this, each learning cycle was comprised of a ‘learn-do-review’ approach:

  • Learn – deepening understanding on a topic via learning webinars – sharing best practice around an account planning principle and accessing practical tools to support its implementation.
  • Do – the application of what’s been learnt through the support of a self-coaching workbook and practicing this in a live account.
  • Review – an opportunity to access peer support through group mentoring sessions – improving the quality of critical thinking, sharing what’s been learnt and building accountability for delivery.

The structure of the weekly sprints was very effective. Everyone learns in different ways and the programme really catered for that.

The mid-week mentoring sessions were particularly good – it really gave people an opportunity to review what they’d done that week, ask questions, gain a cross-functional perspective and make refinements where they were needed. It was very powerful.

James Winterbottom, Regional Business Manager

To further cater for a variety of learning styles, each cycle also included:

  • Manager group coaching sessions – ensuring managers (both brand and regional) had early visibility of content and ‘best practice’ coaching examples to support their team in its practical application.
  • Skills boosts – periodic webinars that took a deeper dive into specific, more challenging topics.
  • Quick clinics – 1-2-1 and small group sessions providing extra support for those who wanted additional input on particular topics.

“The programme really enabled us to recognise strengths, weaknesses and gaps. There isn’t one person I’ve spoken to who hasn’t said they didn’t realise there were additional areas they could look at or questions they could ask in relation to their account plans – regardless of how skilled or experienced they are” says Laura Siddall, Regional Account Manager.

James Winterbottom, Regional Business Manager adds “With Amgen’s focus being on our ‘Must Win Battles’, this programme has equipped us to better tackle account challenges, unearth new opportunities and assess what really needs to happen for us to be successful in an account”.

The results

10-months on and the new approach to account planning has been embraced and begun to embed itself within Amgen UK, with recent survey insights demonstrating:

  • 61% of people feeling their thinking and ways or working are now more account and patient focused, with KAM’s commenting:

I feel way more focused assessing the needs of the account with regard to the patient’s journey and Amgen’s ability to support with a tangible outcome for all involved.

 

I like and will use and OTSW regularly as it highlighted some unforeseen challenges. My major learn is to look at the accounts challenges and fit the Amgen solutions to them, rather than shoehorn in Amgen offerings.

  • A 20% increase in confidence that the right tools, programmes and expertise now exist to best support the delivery of account plans.
  • A 19% increase in confidence that an account plan is now aligned to that account and its priorities.

What Amgen thinks – testimonials of  our work in key account management

The programme has really helped me to focus. I was managing many geographies at the time but by applying the account planning principles, I was able to focus my time and effort on accounts where the greatest impact for the customer, patient and Amgen could be achieved.

What’s more, the questions the programme has prompted me to ask has generated really valuable customer conversations, and as a result I’ve seen my patient numbers grow by approximately 27%. I’m under no illusions that that’s because I am not only asking customers different questions, but also questioning myself, reflecting back on Rubica’s account planning process and aligning that insight to the resources we had.

Laura Siddall, Regional Account Manager

A key success for one of my team has been in one of our London based accounts. Historically it has been a challenging account, where we haven’t been able to gain much traction. By using key elements from the account planning programme the Account Manager has been able to uncover publicly available information that has built a far greater understanding of that Trust, what it wants to achieve, and the local NHS economy.

Armed with this insight they’ve been able to align resources and expertise more closely to that account. In doing this, virtual engagement has improved – we are now having conversations with all key stakeholders, something we’d never have achieved before. That is a real big step forward.

James Winterbottom, Regional Business Manager

As a result of the programme our people’s competence and confidence in account planning has increased significantly. As a result, we are now focusing our time, resources and activities in areas that matter most. This is something we’ve found quite hard to do in the past, but now because we’ve enshrined what good account planning is, it’s clear how we can and will deliver value to the customer, patient and Amgen.

Everything we do now internally centres around the programmes account planning process. We no longer develop multiple reports and slides each month that interrogate the data; similarly year-end reviews and goal-setting sessions have become more simplified as every conversation we have is grounded by the account planning template, and tools. It makes for far more consistent conversations that are less cumbersome, time consuming and onerous.

The great thing about all of this is that it is happening not because of some mandate from the upper echelons, but because teams see the merit in using the account planning process and tools. That is really encouraging.

Chris Mann, Head of Commercial Excellence UK&I