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  • Writer's pictureAventria Health Group

Are Your Account Managers Prepared for Successful Selling to Health Systems/IDNs?

Brand, payer marketing, market access, and managed markets teams have realized the growing importance of health systems/IDNs (integrated delivery networks). They also recognize the need to build a credible presence, which may speed accurate diagnosis, identify appropriate patients, and deliver evidence-based care that produces brand results. Investments in customer-facing personnel and funding for brand promotion have been significant. Are you perplexed by less-than-stellar brand performance in this important segment? You may ask yourself, “Are my account managers prepared for successful selling to health systems/IDNs?”

Health System/IDN Dynamics

While senior management continues to hear about the growing importance of health systems/IDNs, in many cases they express skepticism in the ability of teams to develop credible engagement approaches in an environment of customers limiting access to key decision makers. This is the third in a series of blogs which will focus on account manager effectiveness based upon Aventria’s 5-step integrated approach to elevate your brand’s health system/IDN performance.

  1. Rigorous customer segmentation and prioritization

  2. Compelling brand value proposition

  3. High-impact promotional assets

  4. Account manager effectiveness

  5. Detailed measurement plan

Addressing the Health System/IDN Performance Dilemma 

Market access success as defined by achieving both brand and customer objectives often rests on the account manager’s skill set to analyze, implement, and measure in pursuit of their objectives. The ability to consistently implement these skills across the entire account team is often an elusive quest. 

Aventria’s 5-Link Account Manager Innovation Strategy

The most precious asset of health system/IDN decision makers is their time. Therefore, the first impression that is critical to convey is that account managers understand their customers’ business: how product and services fit into their ecosystems and how together they can create mutual value by improving patient care. Effectively capitalizing on the first impression requires a behavioral change from the traditional one-on-one engagement model to an institutional model that drives proactive innovation. Successful selling into health systems/IDNs centers on 5 links of an integrated innovation chain. 

1. Market Knowledge

  • Account managers need a thorough understanding of the local market dynamics consisting of population demographics, employer influence, payer mix, degree of integration, payment methodologies, and formulary utilization management. 

2. Customer Knowledge

  • Health systems/IDNs vary in their degree of integration, ability to provide sophisticated population-based care, and processes meant to reduce vendor access. Account managers need to fully map their customers’ influence network, which takes into account leadership priorities, specialty mix, payer and payment methodologies, population demographics, and the decision-making process. 

3. Collaborative Selling

  • Account managers need to determine the best way to work with a customer by considering the impact of marketplace dynamics and how they influence priorities and the delivery model of the health system. This requires planning skills to navigate the organization and its relationship map and develop the business case to gain support on behalf of a brand/clinical solution.

4. Consultative Skills

  • This skill leverages the collaborative planning to effectively engage health system decision makers. The account manager must effectively align their business priorities with health system priorities and operations. The goal is for the customer to clearly see the benefit of the brand/clinical solution to their organization and to be willing to commit time and resources on behalf of the initiative. 

5. Critical Thinking

  • This may be the hardest skill to master. It requires making all the other links in the innovation chain actionable by moving from commitment to execution across both the health system and pharma organizations—specifically, mobilizing both parties by agreeing to ownership, action plan, timing, and key performance indicators in support of a brand/clinical solution.

Learn more about how Aventria can help you develop a winning health system/IDN engagement strategy and drive brand performance.

Please reach out to:

Dave Dierk, Co-President, 30-year sales and marketing thought leader in pharmaceutical diagnostics, biomedical, long-term care, managed care, employer, and pharmacy communications, at 215-489-9000 x103 or

Paul G. Pochtar, RPh, 25+ years of experience in leading the successful commercialization of both primary care and specialty pharmaceuticals throughout their life cycle, including several landmark oncology products and other specialty therapeutics, at 215-489-9000 x118 or

Making a difference in patient care by helping patients, providers, and payers collaborate on shared priorities

— Dave Dierk is co-president of Aventria Health Group, and Paul Pochtar, RPh, is SVP of Pharmaceutical Commercialization and Access Strategies for Aventria Health Group.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not imply endorsement by Aventria Health Group.


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