Account Planning

Key Account Management In Life Sciences

Posted On
May 17, 2024
Resource Type
Account Planning
steps in opportunity planning

Core Facets Of Key Account Management In Life Sciences

Managing relationships and building strategic plans to grow revenue across complex accounts is a part of day-today life for anybody in sales, marketing, or account management in the Life Sciences space. Different health care systems, hospitals, and regional players in the space make understanding the different nuances and connections between people and businesses a challenge. Managing these accounts requires a change in thought, and a simpler way to break down the core tenets of key account management in life sciences can be as follows:

What: The main challenges the business is facing, and the core metrics and goals they want to achieve with your product or service. Who do they compete against? What does their current state look like? How is the team structured? What are the opportunities, threats, and more (SWOT)? This information should be gathered and collected over time to give everyone a good understanding of the account

Where: Which business units or subsidiaries have you sold into? Where is there additional opportunity to cross-sell or upsell into the company to expand your footprint? If you sell a product, can you sell additional licenses/products to a broader part of the team you initially engaged?

Who: Relationships are everything, and having a clear sense of “who is who” is table stakes for a successful business. Can team members easily understand the various roles stakeholders have when they look into an account? What have those engagements been like, and can you count on your contacts to help promote and champion your business? Mapping out accounts makes team selling much easier, and enables the entire GTM team to surround, expand, and grow an account.

The Challenges

challenges of account planning from siloed data

Managing accounts in the life sciences industry comes with a unique set of challenges. Compared to other industries, the highly complex regulatory environment, long sales cycles, strict compliance requirements, and multiple key decision-makers within accounts make effective account management particularly difficult.

However, teams are accustomed to gathering information from stakeholders, getting important details and notes, and putting them into slide decks, spreadsheets, sticky notes, or Word docs. Bringing other reps and team members that are scattered across locations becomes a challenge when this data isn’t continuously updated and living in one centralized spot for everyone to quickly find. 

Has your team ever experienced pain or frustration when an account changes hands, or a rep moves on? All of that intimate knowledge disappears, and you’re back at square one. 

As relationships are formed at hospitals, health care facilities, and other entities, understanding “who is who”, and how decisions get made never made it back into their CRM. 

For some of the largest players in HLS, Salesforce has historically been a place where certain details about a contact or account are grabbed, put in a deck, and then remain untouched for a period of time. It may take many years of relationship building across various stakeholders in an account before a sale is made. Account managers must persistently engage accounts and demonstrate value over extended periods.

There are often multiple key decision-makers involved in life sciences accounts. Navigating complex organizational structures and influencing stakeholders like medical directors, hospital administrators, and procurement officers is crucial. When your team begins to see how building and maintaining key account management plans in your CRM can help make their day-to-day easier, the buy-in and adoption will follow shortly behind. 

Segment Your Accounts Strategically

  • Group your accounts into segments based on factors like industry, size, location, and specific needs. For example, you may have segments for pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and research institutions. Analyze each account segment and develop customized strategies to deliver maximum value. The needs of a large pharmaceutical customer will be very different from a small biotech startup.
  • Develop clear criteria for determining your key accounts, such as revenue potential, growth opportunities, strategic importance, and overall fit.  
  • Focus the majority of your resources on a targeted list of top tier key accounts that drive disproportionate value.

Leveraging Data for Growth


The life sciences industry generates vast amounts of data across the product development lifecycle and through customer interactions. Life science companies can tap into this wealth of data to identify new opportunities for growth within existing accounts.

– Identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities- By analyzing account data, usage patterns, and procurement history, companies can uncover needs that existing solutions don’t address, and present a cross-sell or upsell opportunity. This allows for targeted recommendations of new products, services, or features to accounts. For example, reviewing usage data could indicate that an account would benefit from additional storage or analytics capabilities.

– Use analytics to find new accounts – Sophisticated analytics techniques can uncover accounts with needs aligned to your offerings. For pharmaceutical companies, this could involve analyzing prescription, sales, and marketing data to identify physician practices that frequently prescribe competitor products but not your own. Outreach to these accounts presents cross-sell opportunities.  

Understanding Account Health To Key Account Management

Key performance indicators (KPIs) provide insight into the health of customer accounts. Metrics like renewals, upsells, engagement, and satisfaction scores help quickly identify accounts that require additional attention and retention efforts. Dashboards make this data easily accessible and actionable.

By harnessing data and analytics, life sciences companies can pursue precise, timely opportunities for revenue growth and continually refine account management strategies. The insights uncovered in data ultimately help strengthen customer relationships.

Using Automation To Manage Stakeholders & Accounts

Efficient processes are critical for managing a large portfolio of accounts in life sciences. Manual and disjointed workflows can hamper productivity and lead to errors. Companies should focus on streamlining processes through automation and centralization.

Implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can help centralize all account data, documents, and interactions in one place. This provides the entire account team with 360-degree visibility into the customer. CRM systems like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics offer excellent capabilities for tracking accounts, managing contacts, logging activities, and reporting insights.

Routine tasks like sending quotes, generating reports, and updating records should be automated wherever possible. This could involve setting up workflows and reminders within the CRM system or integrating with other tools. For example, linking the CRM with accounting software can trigger automated invoices when deals are closed. 

Document management systems and cloud storage can centralize all files, contracts, and collateral for each account in a single, easily searchable repository. This eliminates duplication of efforts and ensures teams have access to the latest documents. 

Automation and centralization enable account managers to focus on high-value activities like strategic planning, customer engagement, and new opportunity identification. This ultimately results in better customer experiences and more productive account relationships. All of this will result in strong key account management in life sciences. 


Posted On
May 17, 2024
Resource Type
Account Planning