Change Management in Transition from Traditional Sales Force to Key Account Management: Greece Pharmaceutical Companies - Part 9


Chapter 5. Discussion and Conclusion

5.1 Introduction

Increasing efficiency was shown to be the best way for a pharmaceutical company to meet goals to stay competitive and profitable. KAM is a tool that has become more popular to gain efficiency and stability in the pharmaceutical business, the research was topical.

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5.2 Discussion

Customers’ views on products and services were not prioritized when decisions were being made for operational charges. Detailed notes about why customers rejected products or services were not kept in all of the companies and when available were not reviewed by top leadership. Top leadership involvement with key account reviews and decision-making is essential for KAM success. (Bhatt et al., 2011)

Another indication that top management is not dedicated to KAM in some of the companies was understood from one of the responses. The respondents indicated that even when details are kept on customers’ rejections, the top management do not regularly review the data. Bhatt (et al. 2007) learned from respondents that without company reports, access to resources became difficult. The reason accessing resources became more difficult was because no pressure was applied to other departments, like the teams in the marketing department to become involved with KAM functions.

Lack of transparency concerning customer data and files was recognized as a problem from the survey. Successful KAM must have a strong foundation of company commitment on every level. Commitment to filling the needs of the key accounts at all levels in the pharmaceutical sector was found to be necessary.

Good strategies for choosing the accounts with the most potential were found in the literature. The literature review added to the knowledge of the Greek pharmaceutical sector in crisis. Knowledge about how change and key account management techniques are applied during crisis and highly competitive situations was found.

5.3 Limitations

The research was limited by some poorly constructed questions; because this was the first time, the researcher developed a questionnaire. The lack of face-to-face contact with the respondents was also a limitation. The following addresses the topic of why the study needed to incorporate better questions. Question 9 on the survey (see fig. 4-15) asked if formal key account procedures were in play at the respondents business. Forty-eight percent (12 respondents) answered “Yes” whereas 52 percent (14 respondents) answered “No.” Meanwhile, Question 15 offered a statement that was dependent on whether or not the company uses KAM. The statement numbered 15 in the questionnaire was “KAM is part of our internal activities.” Fifty two percent answered “No” to this question, too. Therefore, the researcher feels it is safe to assume that the participants who had KAM at their place of employment, but that assumption should have been answered by the responses, answered questions 10 through 14. Therefore, the questionnaire could have been better constructed.

5.4 Future research

Future research using in-depth face-to-face interviews with Greek managers would add greatly to the knowledge. Priporas and Vangelinos (2008) used an in-depth face-to-face interview strategy. The respondents indicated that more men than women were in managerial positions but research that is more detailed would need to be carried out to learn the gender dynamics in the pharmaceutical industry. The research that has been published using interviews, questionnaires and surveys should be studied to find gaps in knowledge. The online survey to LinkedIn contacts included an invitation to leave comments with enough space for several sentences, but the respondents added none. Therefore, the face-to-face interviews would be preferable in order to learn more information by adding some open-ended questions. Further research is needed to organize the complexities of key accounts into sub-parts for easier management and comparison.


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Appendix A- 1 Pharmaceutical Sector Questionnaire

Surviving the austerity measures in Greece: Account Management - Pharmaceutical Sector - Questionnaire

I. Demographic and Organizational Background

Gender: Male □   Female □

Age: 25-35 □   36-45 □  46-55 □   56 and above □

Education: High School degree □   Bachelor degree □   Master degree □   PhD □

Years of Experience in the Sector: 1-2 □   3-4 □   5-6 □   7-8 □   9-10 □   10+ □

Rank: Senior Management □   Middle Management □   Other ____________________

Company Ownership: Foreign (multinational-international) □   Greek □

Explain ______________________________________________

Annual Turnover in €: under 50,000,000 □

51,000,000-100,000,000 □

101,000,000-150,000,000 □

151,000,000-200,000,000 □

201,000,000-250,000,000 □  Other _________________


Number of employees:      under 100 □

101-150 □

151-200 □

201-250 □

251-300 □

301-350 □

351-400 □

401-450 □

451-500 □

501-550 □

551-600 □

601-650 □

651-700 □

701-750 □

751-800 □

801-850 □

851-900 □

901-950 □

951-1000 □

greater than 1000 □

(or) Explain _______________________________

II. Change and Key Account Management

  1. We have Key Account Managers with no other duties

(They do not have field team management responsibilities) Yes □  No □

  1. Certain managers are tasked with giving priority to key account

service. Yes □  No □

2a. ... and their performance is based on key account service

satisfaction. Yes □  No □

  1. An external consultant evaluates key account service data. Yes □ No □
  1. Relevant customer decision-makers / influencers understand

how management decision-making is organized as to roles and

responsibilities. Yes □  No □

  1. A formal process exists for researching customer’s business

needs. Yes □  No □

  1. Key account customers’ target consumer markets and end-user

markets have been identified. Yes □  No □

  1. We understand the appropriate amount of supplier involvement

our customers need to reduce their costs or improve productivity. Yes □  No □

  1. We share customer solutions based on the issues in number 7

above, in dollar amounts. Yes □  No □

  1. Formal key account procedures are set in place. Yes □ No □
  1. Key account procedures (from number 9) allow for strategic,

as well as tactical methods. Yes □  No □

  1. Key account management marketing and sales are in alignment for

for local and national regional planning. Yes □  No □

  1. Sales communications about local and national key accounts

are well-organized. Yes □  No □

  1. The status of key accounts is regularly reviewed. Yes □ No □
  1. Key account management is outsourced. Yes □ No □
  1. Key account management is part of our internal company

activities. Yes □  No □

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III. Customer account management

III. Customer account management 1 Never/

Not at all

2 Slightly 3 Moderately 4 Largely 5 Always 6 Not


A. Customer contact emails, addresses, etc. are gathered, organized & maintained 1 2 3 4 5 6
B. Customer’s views on products and services are requested 1 2 3 4 5 6
C. Customer’s views on products and services is applied to making operational improvements 1 2 3 4 5 6
D. Details are kept of customer rejections 1 2 3 4 5 6
E. If details and/or files on customer rejections, top management reviews the information 1 2 3 4 5 6
F. If details and/or files on customer rejections, employees have access to the information 1 2 3 4 5 6
G. Common customer rejections are due to: Quality Problems 1 2 3 4 5 6
H. Common customer rejections are due to: Late Delivery 1 2 3 4 5 6
I. Common customer rejections are due to: Incorrect products received 1 2 3 4 5 6
J. Common customer rejections are due to: Product prices 1 2 3 4 5 6
K. Cost of each product are broken down into component categories & kept up-to-date 1 2 3 4 5 6

Any comments or observations are welcome. Please add them here.

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