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Archive for March, 2012

Impactiviti helps pharmaceutical training clients find the best vendors for their needs. Plus, there’s a lot more!

>> Subscribe to the weekly Impactiviti Connection pharma e-newsletter, loaded with news and resources for our industry

>> Join the Impact LinkedIn networking group (vendor-free): over 450 members devoted to commercial pharma

>> Sign up for one of our high-value SUCCESS Workshops for training departments on Vendor and Project Management best practices

>> Download the Client-Vendor Success white paper

And, for all your training and technology needs, speed-dial Steve Woodruff, who will help you find the optimal vendors for your needs (yes, the vendor recommendation service is free – here’s how it works).

I’m also happy to connect with you on LinkedIn. So…plug in to the Impactiviti network!

Seeking career or business clarity? You may also want to Discover Your Fit at SteveWoodruff.com)

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Over the past several years, the pharmaceutical industry as a whole has been wrestling with the whole complex issue of what to do about social media.

Is it a blessing or a threat? Get involved or stay on the sidelines? What is allowed or what is not?

Let’s step back for a moment and ask a far more fundamental question: Why should we even care? Do we need to become a social business? (the term “social business” is now on the ascendancy, to describe a company that embraces the use of connected people networks on every level to evolve the business).

Here’s why: the idea of social media in business is founded on a very important premise: The Gold is Everywhere.

Gold (valuable information, resources, connections, insight, new opportunities) is in our customers (patients and HCPs). Gold is in all of our employees. Gold is in our partners and distribution chains. Gold is spread out all over the marketplace. And in order to mine that gold, we need a technology-fueled approach to connectedness that will enable us to listen, learn, speak, and evolve. Highly recommended: this brief by SideraWorks on Social Business (be sure to download the .pdf).

We have some very valuable gold in our pipelines and patents and products – true. But when there is a field full of scattered gold all around us, is it wise to put on the blinders and impoverish ourselves? Particularly when all those people across the marketplace are shaping the future of healthcare?

So, let’s return to the premise: Gold is everywhere.

Does your pharmaceutical company leadership actually believe this? Is this perspective settling into the DNA of the organization? Because if it is not, then social media is just one more channel for us to push our message, and advance our agenda.

We have the gold (products), and we want your gold (money, loyal usage) in return. The commercial transaction mentality will only see social networks as a short-term means to an end. Sales.

Of course, we’re all in business to make money, and no company survives long without making profitable commercial transactions. But for pharmaceutical companies to begin to evolve into true social businesses – that is, to compete in the “new normal” world – there is a core perspective that needs to be embraced at the highest level (and this entire principle extends way beyond pharma, to every type of business).

Social media is predicated on the notion that more connections with more people communicating with less friction will create more value – because the rich ore is distributed, not centralized.

The gold is scattered out there everywhere, not just within our labs and corner offices. And the company that has the humility, wisdom, and foresight to build a people-network approach to communication and growth will mine more of it than others that cling to the past.

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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 us here.

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Yes, I believe in the power of network-building (the entire Impactiviti business model is based on it!) So I’m happy to announce that I’ll be presenting on that theme at the upcoming SPBT (Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers) conference in New Orleans (June 4-7).

The workshop title? Build Your Own Professional Opportunity Network.

Let’s face it – there is no job security anymore. The one security we can build is our network – that is where future opportunities will come from. In this workshop, I’ll give you all the practical steps and advice you need to build your circle of contacts into an opportunity network.

Look forward to seeing you in New Orleans!

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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 us here.

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

(Image credit: Jessica Murray on Flickr)

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When you put the Sales Training and Development Dept. side-by-side with Brand Marketing in most pharmaceutical companies, there is a curious divergence in approach that has always made me scratch my head.

Brands have an agency of record. Training groups have vendors. Lots of them.

Each model has its strengths and weaknesses, but based on the inefficiencies and inconsistencies I’ve seen throughout the years working with training departments, I have to wonder if more of them are now going to experiment with outsourcing larger chunks of training work to a much smaller circle of partners.

Here’s why I think this approach has a lot to commend it:

  1. Across the industry, there have been major cutbacks in sales forces and training groups. Smaller headcount = fewer internal resources to manage projects, leading to a need to have vendor/partners that can (like marketing agencies) take the ball and run with it, or take over entire functional areas.
  2. Much training development work is now becoming commoditized. The next frontier is scalable process and efficiency – a business discipline woven into a learning approach.
  3. Procurement processes are playing a more prominent role. Fragmented vendor selection methods will give way to more efficient, bottom-line-driven long-term partnerships.
  4. Technology keeps moving at a rapid pace. It makes sense to outsource all technical development to a single source that can bring consistency, integration, and big-picture strategy.
  5. Relatively rapid turnover of training personnel (it is usually a developmental position) will, as with brand marketing, make it sensible to ensure continuity by having an agency of record.

I see a day coming when more companies will have one or two primary Training Agencies of Record (TAOR) – perhaps one focused more on content, the other on technology – accompanied by a more limited suite of specialized providers (Managed Market expertise, Coaching programs, etc.). Outsourced training departments (not just sales forces) are already emerging for companies just entering the commercial realm with their first product. We’ll see more of these creative outsource models emerging.

I’m already talking to my Impactiviti clients – and partners – about this evolution toward a consolidated partnering approach. Not only do I recommend vendor/partners for specific needs and solutions, I’m also recommending that Training Directors take a hard look at the TAOR approach (and, yes, I have partners who can serve in this capacity). Let me know your thoughts about both the current and this (potential) future model – what does your crystal ball say?

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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 us here.

_________

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

(Image credit: Richard Schwier on Flickr)

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