Hunting Major Accounts: What a difference a word makes


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Let’s say you were a service provider to the pharma/biotech industry and this was your first conversation with a potential new client, a company which would be a major account for you if all went well.

Would it matter whether you used the term  ”customers”  or “KOLs”  (Key Opinion Leaders)?

Would you use the term “KOL” if you were talking to the scientific affairs group and “Customer” if you were talking to people in the commercial group?

key-account4Words matter. I was conducting a discovery conversation on behalf of a client.  The audience was the training group in a Biotech firm.  They taught me a valuable lesson.  If you don’t  use the language of your audience, you risk losing credibility.

This is what happened:  I asked about their customers.  The learning leader, who had started her career as a scientist replied,  “I suppose you could call them customers but they’re KOL’s.”

Immediately, I substituted the term “KOL” for “customer” in all my materials and conversations.  We continued to pursue business within the pharma/biotech industry.

Could this explain why a leading biosimilar manufacturer has agreed to consider Big Game Hunting’s client in 4 therapeutic areas?


Words are neuropathways to the heart.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Catherine McQuaid
Customer Discovery, Lean Sales practitioner 1. Repeatable, scalable sales processes 2. Market-tested hypotheses = data-informed decisions


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