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Key Account Organisation Case Study


Encouraging teams in high-potential markets to adopt a more customer-centric way of working.

Case study: key results

  • Successfully implemented the key account organisation approach in 11 countries around the world.
  • Generated significant revenue increases – including $750k in additional product sales for one key account.
  • Enhanced customer experience including a 600% increase in completed procedures by working with a key account to improve their patient pathway.

Novartis, the top 10 global pharma company, asked Rubica to develop a programme to encourage teams in high-potential markets to adopt a more customer-centric way of working.

Rubica created a cross-functional Key Account Organisation programme for over 180 people in 11 countries across Europe, Asia and the Americas. This has already yielded significant results, for example generating over $750k in additional product sales for one key account.

The challenge: putting customers first in the management of accounts

Following global shifts in the customer marketplace, Novartis wanted a transformational change plan to engage its cross-functional teams in a new focus on customers’ needs and sub-national market access.
As our client, Huw Watkins, Head of Global KAM Excellence, put it: “The challenge was how to build the Key Account Management organisational capability in our top countries. This can be defined as aligning customer strategy with Novartis resources to develop ‘beyond the pill’ solutions that deliver outcomes for patients, Novartis and our customers.”

The solution: transformational change on a global scale

Following a tender process involving consultancies across Europe, Novartis chose Rubica to carry out this programme, due to our expertise and experience in Key Account Management and Organisational Change in the pharma sector.

Our task: embedding a culture of organisational excellence in managing Key Accounts

“At the start of the project, we worked closely with the global KAM Excellence team to identify the issues that Novartis was facing and what they wanted to achieve,” says Paul Frith, Rubica’s Director of Performance Measurement & Analytics.

Based on our years of experience in Key Account Excellence, we recommended that Novartis build a Key Account Organisation (KAO). This is an approach developed by Rubica that sees the whole organisation mobilise and combine forces around key accounts, thereby facilitating ongoing, well-informed, value-added conversations with customers.

“We developed a strong case for change that explained why KAO was imperative to the organisation’s future success and how key stakeholders would benefit,” adds Paul.

Next, we built a KAO excellence framework that provided clear steps, enabling Novartis to:
1. Gain customer insight and perspectives.
2. Embed customer-centric thinking into strategy.
3. Create the ideal customer-facing organisation.
4. Improve business processes accordingly.

Rolling out the programme to countries worldwide

Having defined the case for change and the KAO excellence framework, we started rolling out the programme to high-potential markets across Europe, Asia and the Americas.

In each country, we worked with the leadership team to discover the issues in their market and develop a tailored case for change. Next, we asked customers and people at all levels of the organisation to consider to what extent Novartis met the standards of the KAO excellence framework, and provided analysis of this feedback to each country to help them develop.

Informed by the results of our analysis, we held workshops that brought people together from across brands and franchises. Here, we prioritised areas to focus on and built country-specific change plans that leveraged an agile approach. The aim was to identify short-term wins they could deliver as a local team which would also support their longer-term goals.

Better outcomes for patients, customers and Novartis

“In one country, for example, the team discovered that a selected key account had restricted use of a particular drug because it didn’t have the right facilities to test for the disease,” says Paul. “Having uncovered this insight, the team worked with that account on a solution that benefited everyone involved.”

This case demonstrates how becoming a KAO leads to better outcomes for patients, customers and the organisation. Patients have improved access to innovative medicines, customers have a more sustainable healthcare system and improved quality of care, while Novartis optimises revenue and differentiates itself from its competitors.

The results: successful implementation and commercial results

KAO has been successfully defined, activated and implemented in 11 countries worldwide. Results so far show that the programme has achieved a high level of engagement and encouraged a proactive approach to KAO. In addition, the organisation has been able to measure in-country, regional and global KAO performance thanks to Rubica’s ChangeTrak change management planning tool.

Across the organisation, the programme has generated significant commercial results. For example, one team has generated over $750k of new product sales and a 600% increase in completed procedures by working with a key account to improve their patient pathway.

Rubica provided an end-to-end change solution that supported me in: analysing the capability gaps in countries; putting in place a change strategy that would bridge those gaps; and implementing measures to link that change with external outcomes.

Huw Watkins, Head of Global KAM Excellence, Novartis  

Adopting a customer-centric way of working case study: Novartis

Download the case study

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