In order for a business-to-business relationship to be formed, some form of value must be evident and attached to both sides. After all, without value what is the point of the relationship? Furthermore, unless value is readily apparent on both sides of the equation and is seen as being equitable, the relationship is not likely to last. One of the main challenges facing the pharmaceutical company’s executives and their consultant team is how to differentiate value and how to ensure that it is delivered to all their clients, especially the most important ones. Key account management training seeks to emphasise how important this differentiation is, and trainers should make additional effort to ensure that all employees within the organisation understand the intricacies.
Fundamentally, the pharmaceutical sales company is providing products to the health care professional and these valuable instruments provide a distinct benefit to the purchaser. The purchaser must in turn make sacrifices in order to receive the value of these products and before this value can be consumed. This exchange of value is at the core of any business-to-business relationship. The relationship is elevated, however, if there is potential, perceived value to be gained on either side. This is where key account management training reveals that additional benefit could take the form of market position, enhanced service, exchange of valuable information, reputational enhancement and/or a number of other, often subtle elements.
In some cases, the value of a key account is interpreted differently and even independently. For example, the client may not be aware that the sales company is treating their association as "key," at all. The interpretation may be entirely one-sided, as it may not need to affect the way that services and products are delivered from the company to the client. The relationship between the two may work entirely well on this basis. Often, however, value is determined according to the actual relationship itself, where a certain amount of collaboration is expected and required and value is obtained through close cooperation.
If an organisation pays particular attention to key account management training, its entire operation will be devoted to enhancing the relationship and the value derived from a straightforward exchange of product for remuneration may well represent only a small part of the value exchanged. Much attention should be attached to relationship building, with a particular focus on to what extent the key account relationship is important and special. This is where pharma training can become very complicated and can often appear to focus on areas that are not necessarily central to the organisation's mission statement. Pharma training must emphasise how dynamic these relationships should be and how "over delivery" can help to cement their future.
Pharmaceutical consultants that take the time to dissect the meaning of value in relation to each and every key account can often help the parent organisation move much further than competitive organisations, which often ignore or gloss over the importance of this concept. Understanding and dissecting value is core to key account management.