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Customer Alignment: 3 Key Insights!

The feedback from our clients is consistent.

Access to decision-makers is getting more difficult. More consolidation; more complexity; more competition. New buyers; new buying criteria & processes; new players.

The old approaches aren’t working and glossy marketing material and iPads are ineffective.

However, pharma companies are increasingly recognizing that true customer alignment is vital for success. And that they have work to do.

We’ve worked with many top pharma companies and have identified 3 key insights to help achieve customer alignment.

And the good news is they apply globally!
– The Customer Relationship Vision
– Customer Research
– Team Work

The Customer Relationship Vision

What is your customer’s vision for their relationship with you? Do you know? Have you asked?

Is it  product-based goals or objectives?  Most likely not. But that is still the mindset of many KAMs and reps – and the basis of their metrics.

Some pharma companies are now beginning to build tailored disease-state patient pathways with customers;  create risk and outcome based agreements with buyers; or engaging patient groups and stakeholders in town-hall style forums to re-shape and re-engineer collaborative patient care protocols.

These companies have recognized that customer alignment means doing things differently – more listening and more partnership-type relationships.

If you’re not asking customers for their vision, then you are missing the first and most important component in creating true and long-lasting customer alignment.


Customer Research

Most field teams are doing what they were taught and what they are measured on. They still tend to focus on researching product and competitor information.

This needs to change and they need to slow down – and research their customer issues, challenges and trends.

If they have worked on our first insight, and understand their customer’s vision, and also research customer issues and pain-points then they can really start to align with their customer’s broader agenda.

When they know HOW the value of their products and related capabilities align with time-sensitive needs of their customer, then they are more likely to succeed and achieve preferred status.


Team Work

Silos exist in every industry. Pharma does not have exclusivity.

They were tolerated in the past and even reinforced by internal behaviors, politics and reward systems.

They are now a real impediment to success in a more complex and competitive world. Market share and positions are under threat. Silos, and the behaviors that support them, must be tackled.

Payer bargaining-power is increasing and new decision-making committees and roles are emerging in all jurisdictions. The only way for pharma companies to align with the overall their customer’s vision and objectives, especially those dealing with population health management, is a unified and coordinated team approach, processes and behaviors.

This requires  a shift from the KAM or rep working independently to a team approach harnessing the support and participation of all relevant resources within the pharma company – field teams; marketing; medical affairs; legal; finance, etc.

Clear communication and commitments underpin successful team work. A common language, processes and approach is needed so that relevant information is shared and acted on in a timely manner around a well designed customer action plan.


It might sound easy and common-sense – yet making change is a challenge. But it is essential.

You need to start somewhere. Why not ask a trusted customer? What’s their vision for your relationship with them and what does customer alignment mean to them?

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