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Archive for September, 2011

I go to pharma-centric conferences and as we discuss social media, the question generally is, “How can we do social media and not get into trouble?”

I spend time with e-patients and the question is, “How can we change the world?”

Big difference.

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Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors for training, eMarketing, social media, and more.

Learn more about our free services here

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Sign up for the Impactiviti Connection weekly e-newsletter (see sample), chock full of news and resources for pharmaceutical professionals

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Last week, our anonymous ‘inside-the-department’ guest blogger began addressing an all-too-common problem when co-workers want to reduce a training intervention without considering the loss of impact. You can read that set-up post here.

Today, we give some concrete guidance on helping avoid this unfortunate behavior.

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Here are seven ways to increase your chances of articulating training impact for success:

1.  Have Solid Learning Objectives. Writing out the learning objectives ahead of time and stating them to your stakeholders helps keep the conversation on track when you feel like it’s being derailed.

2.  Provide Visual Support. A one-page overview or chart with the learning objectives and linked solutions demonstrates you have thought out the plan and have a comprehensive learning solution. For example, the following might help in articulating impact with Sharon:


When Sharon asks you to ‘cut it down’, you can use a visual like this to demonstrate how removing one or more of these learning solutions will compromise the end goal. For example, if you remove part 3, then the representatives may be able to sell using the studies but may not come across to customers as being clinically oriented if they can’t communicate the impact of new treatment guidelines. If you remove part 4, you also remove the additional ‘positive pressure’ of a certification and subsequently some of the accountability of the learners. You also can’t measure the end result at that time.  For even more impact, add a third column with the amount of time it will take each activity to run.

3.  Shift versus cut. Sometimes Sharon agrees with you, but there really is a time constraint during a live meeting. Instead of cutting down the workshop, you could shift the certification to happen in the field post the live meeting. The impact is still positive, because you give the representatives more time to practice and internalize what they learned. The manager can then administer the certification during the next field visit and give personalized feedback in a one-on-one setting. Another way to shift is by moving some of the up-front workshop parts to be conducted via web or teleconference before arrival at the meeting. Then, the live workshop time stays protected while the learners still get what they need.

4.  Provide options. While preparing for the discussion with Sharon, try to anticipate her reaction to the best case solution and prepare one or two alternate options to present. Make a list of the pros and cons to each, considering cost, time to develop, impact on the learner (less vs. more time off territory) because sometimes your best case solution isn’t possible due to time, travel, or money restrictions. By preparing options, you have already thought through how to address the possible shift in resources without compromising the impact. You might choose to present all your options up front, and then recommend one of them. This positions you as a trusted business advisor who is preparing the stakeholder to make an informed choice.

5.  Practice. Communication skills are probably what helped get you to the role you are in now, so hone those skills by doing a few run-throughs for the presentation or discussion. Review your plans, anticipate the questions, and most importantly, practice talking through the pros and cons of each. Get a trusted audience or run by the solutions with other team members who know the person well. Oftentimes they think of additional aspects you may have missed.

6.  Get support and tag team. If you are the new trainer, get your supervisor or an experienced trainer to accompany you for backup. If you are the leader with a team member going to a presentation like this, don’t let them fly solo. Discuss ahead of time how you can collaborate and participate – maybe they would like you to handle communicating the cons to some of the options while they handle the pros.

7.  Project confidence. You can be the most prepared with the knowledge of the plans and the details, but if you exude confidence throughout the conversation, the positive impact can be huge. This may be easier said than done, since some of our stakeholders tend to hold higher level positions than us and can be intimidating. I’m always shocked to learn how trainers seem to believe they don’t have the right to be confident in front of a higher level stakeholder. As long as you have confidence with respect, it doesn’t matter what the title on their business card states. In fact, credibility points can be earned when you clearly state positive or negative impact, because it comes across as believing what you are stating is the right thing to do for the business.

Why is it so important to effectively state the impact of our solutions? On the downside, not doing so can mean a partial solution with inconsistent results, and that’s when training gets blamed. At the end of the day, if we agree to a partial solution we are the ones held accountable for the results. On the upside, stating the impact effectively can mean achieving the desired outcomes and success.

So, the question is – what do you do to articulate impact?

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Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors for training, eMarketing, social media, and more.

Learn more about our free services here

_________

Sign up for the Impactiviti Connection weekly e-newsletter (see sample), chock full of news and resources for pharmaceutical professionals

Read Full Post »

Today’s anonymous ‘inside-the-department’ guest blogger address an all-too-common problem when co-workers want to reduce a training intervention without considering the loss of impact.

Today, part 1 sets up the issue. Next week, part 2 gives some concrete guidance on helping avoid this unfortunate behavior.

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Picture this:  ‘Sharon’, a sales leader in your organization, has told you ‘the reps can’t sell clinically. Can you put together some training on this?’ (sound familiar?) Sure you can! You reach out to key stakeholders, conduct a needs assessment and confirm that the representatives do, in fact, need some help in this area. You then work with your learning team to construct a proposal consisting of pre-work and an assessment, a live 1/2 day workshop, concluding with a certification by the managers. You are proud of this proposal because it is thorough and meets the objective to improve the reps’ knowledge and skill in this area.

You are excited to share the proposal with Sharon. After presenting the plan, Sharon is excited too. She says, ‘This is great! Cut it down to a 90 minute workshop and we’ll roll it out at the next sales meeting.’ You cringe when you hear this last part – and you have heard this before, right?

You know that it is not the right thing to do, but in the moment you can’t express all the reasons why. If you could find the words to explain, how do you do it without damaging the relationship with Sharon, or losing credibility as a learning leader? I’ve witnessed both inexperienced trainers and seasoned learning professionals make the mistake of simply replying ‘sure, we can cut it down’, only to regret it later. I cringe when I think about the times when I have also uttered these words.

Why do we sometimes answer this way when we know we shouldn’t? For the inexperienced or new trainer, it is often a lack of understanding about the impact of this response. They don’t necessarily realize that ‘cutting it down’ also means reducing the chance of meeting the learning objectives, which is the reason why you are doing the training in the first place. For the seasoned learning professional, the motivation could be to keep Sharon happy and give her what she wants, because they are looking to secure a spot on Sharon’s team in the future (feel free to insert ‘Mike the marketer’ in place of ‘Sharon the sales leader’). It may simply be an ‘eager to please’ or conflict avoidance mentality that many of us have. After all, we are in the business of helping people to succeed in their roles, so it can be difficult to push back.

The solution to responding is being able to effectively articulate the impact. This means not only articulating the downside of doing it wrong, but communicating the upside of doing it right. Sharon came to you for a solution.  Unless Sharon has spent time in a learning role longer than 2 years, it’s unlikely she realizes the impact of shortening the learning plan.

There are some best practices that can help you to articulate impact for success. First and foremost planning ahead is paramount. In this scenario, planning ahead means in addition to doing an appropriate needs analysis, you need to be able to articulate a clear picture of the outcome desired as well as how to get there. Next week we’ll look at some practical ways to successfully articulate impact.

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Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors for training, eMarketing, social media, and more.

Learn more about our free services here

_________

Sign up for the Impactiviti Connection weekly e-newsletter (see sample), chock full of news and resources for pharmaceutical professionals

Read Full Post »

Each year, I select a few pharma-oriented conferences to attend – sometimes as a blogging journalist, other times as a speaker/facilitator.

Here’s where I’ll be this fall:

September 20-21, 2011ePatient Connections (Philly)

One of my annual favorites, bringing people from the pharma/healthcare industry together with engaged, on-line patients. Always a high-quality production. (Tweetup on evening of the 20th)

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This conference will be preceded by:

September 19, 2011SXSH Social Health (unconference format) (Philly)

The top names in healthcare social media. Great times of interaction in a more intimate setting. (Tweetup on evening of the 19th)

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October 17-20, 2011Digital Pharma East (Philly)

I attend this one every year, and it keeps getting better. This is THE fall conference for pharma eMarketing.

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November 2-3, 2011Digital Innovation in Pharma Summit (Boston)

Another long-standing conference, with an outstanding lineup.

I’ll also be speaking at Social Media Masters in NYC, on September 23rd (topic: Trend Currents in Social Media).

Let me know which ones you’ll be attending so we can meet up!

Recent Impactiviti posts:

What are You Outsourcing?

Are You in Compliance?

_________

Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors for training, eMarketing, social media, and more.

Learn more about our free services here

_________

Sign up for the Impactiviti Connection weekly e-newsletter (see sample), chock full of news and resources for pharmaceutical professional

Read Full Post »

Suicide and Depression

We’ve lost another wonderful person to the darkness of despondency.

The full story is here. This tragedy motivated me to finally finish an e-book about my decades-long battle with depression, and the recovery that has taken place over the past 7 years.

It was an anti-depressant that gave me my life back. What we do in our industry, maligned as it often is in the public press, matters.

Thank you for reading, and being part of the Impactiviti network.

Recent Impactiviti posts:

What are You Outsourcing?

Are You in Compliance?

_________

Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors for training, eMarketing, social media, and more.

Learn more about our free services here

_________

Sign up for the Impactiviti Connection weekly e-newsletter (see sample), chock full of news and resources for pharmaceutical professional

Read Full Post »

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