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Strategic Account Management Is Not Selling


Back in the day, all it really took was the right menu to get access to the private practice doctor. Not so much now.


Back in the day, there were pharma and device detail men and women who would ply their wares with generous helpings of Chinese food, pens, and other giveaways. The gatekeeper was the business or front desk manager and all it really took was the right menu to get access to the private practice doctor.

Not so much now. First, many doctors work for someone else and, when it comes to buying medical goods and services, they have changed from the buyer to the influencer. Second, selling to hospitals has changed a lot and the power of any given surgeon has given way to committees and purchasing managers interested more in the bottom line. Finally, there is an increasing conflict between the vendors, the hospital purchasing apparatus, and the surgeons and physicians and many intermediaries are filling the gaps and trying to make a business out of reducing the implant buy, for example.

The result is that selling has been preempted by strategic account management. The differences between the two are stark.

In addition, even when the doctor is the purchaser, they buy emotionally and justify rationally. Sure, they want you to show them the data. But, in the end, their triple aim is to improve patient care, save time, and see that the tangible and intangible benefits outweigh the costs, including switching to something else.

When it comes to technology adoption and penetration, doctors follow the ABCDEs.

Pharma reps, device reps, and others have had to change how they do business. Take a page out of Apple and make your customers and influencers prosumers by engaging them in the value creation process. Crashing the gates and getting to yes has gotten harder and it takes a different approach to get that order or contract.

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Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice
Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice