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Words By Helen Weller, Recruitment Consultant 

Specialist Key Account Manager (KAM) opportunities are often sought after roles within the pharmaceutical industry, as they give the KAM the opportunity to own their own business. Candidates need to have exceptional business planning abilities, relationship management and influencing skills to manage one or more products across a variety of external customers. The added complexity of the role means that their internal stakeholder network (across Medical, Marketing and other disciplines) is also key. External customers will vary depending on the structure of the business but can include:

  • Healthcare professionals in both Primary and Secondary Care
  • Pharmacists and sub-specialties in both Primary and Secondary Care sectors with an ability to impact on their business
  • Payors in hospital and Clinical Commissioning Groups, Local Health Boards and NHS Scotland
  • Customer professional bodies pertinent to the business
  •  Procurement managers
  • NHS Business managers

Basically, they will have the opportunity to interact and influence anyone who can positively affect the ability of a patient to have access to the medicine they require. The more ‘holistic’ approach, whilst keeping focus on the importance of commercial gain for their employer, is vital. In order to be a successful KAM, you must be good at managing your own time and working autonomously. Account management is key and adapting your approach to the needs of the customers within a specific account is essential. A KAM must identify the customers’ needs and introduce a solution that has a WIN:WIN result. Working autonomously means that the KAM has responsibility and accountability for their business, but also ensures there is continuity of message across all customer groups. The KAM must also have a strategic focus and be able to prioritise accounts according to business potential. The planning, strategy, output and results all stop with you!

Pharmaceutical clients recruiting for specialist KAMs will often want someone with a proven track record within their territory, as well as a comprehensive understanding of the ever-evolving NHS environment. The ability to work cross functionally is also very important. At CHASE, we often describe Specialist KAMs as being similar to a conductor of an orchestra. A conductor must take control and be responsible for the performance of their orchestra. The KAM needs to do likewise for their product(s). You’ll bring in different members of the wider team when you need them – this could be medical, marketing or other sales colleagues. Specialist KAM roles are not right for everyone, but if you have the right experience, skill set and motivation they can provide a real challenge and career enhancement. With more of these roles predicted, the CHASE team would be delighted to support you through the application and assessment process.

If you are looking for more information or support about specialist teams, please contact our Business Development or Recruitment Consultant teams on or 0131 553 6644.