Archive for October, 2006

Hacking your brain

This article may not fit into the “usual” mode of my blog posts, but it is so cool, I think is worth a read.

Dilbert author regains his voice

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I met Sarah Taylor at a conference last week, and she was giving away her book, “Secrets of Successful Pharmaceutical Salespeople”. Sarah is an engaging speaker and generally nice person; she was a top performer with a major pharma company, then decided to spend a year interviewing top pharmaceutical salespeople with an eye toward writing this book.

She became increasingly concerned as she discovered that the “secrets” to success were not so secret after all; it was continual application of the basics. She wrote the book anyway, figuring that if that was what led to success, then it needed to be said.

The book’s main drawback is that it is short, basic, and simple. Its main strength is that it is short, basic, and simple.

It covers 10 very fundamental and universal behaviors that all pharmaceutical sales representatives should practice. There is nothing new here, and at first, this took me aback somewhat. Then I realized what the chief benefit of such a book could be – giving it out to sales reps would reinforce exactly what every company emphasizes, but provide an “outside” validation of those messages. Based not on theory, or novelty, but on the track record of successful professionals “in the trenches.”

You won’t buy this book to discover novel techniques. But you just may hand it out to your district sales people, or new hires, as a reinforcement and a motivational tool.

Available at www.taylorpresentations.com.

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This is where we start – with a blank sheet of paper.

You talk through your training needs. Your past and present successes. We blueprint possible solutions. Arrive at answers. And we connect you to the best supplier(s) to meet your needs.

We don’t come to you with a 4-color glossy containing a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Every company has different needs, and each project benefits from fresh creativity and broad expertise. At Impactiviti, we start with an open mind, a listening ear, and targeted questions that will guide us to the answers.

You can then relax, confident that your training needs will be taken care of by the right people.

Contact us (info(@)impactiviti.com) and let’s fill in your page together.

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Sales Training Conference Review

Just got back from a couple days at the CBI Conference for Pharmaceutical Sales Training (held in Conshohocken, PA). Overall, it was a positive time…good opportunities for networking, and many of the sessions were helpful and thought-provoking.

The conference was well-organized and run on-site – I’ve been to some other events where there seemed to be continual scrambling and re-adjusting, but this was, overall, a pretty tightly-run ship. One suggested improvement would be to have fewer, longer sessions – many of the sessions were 25-30 minutes and it was impossible to cover much material in that time. That led to presenters trying to cram too much information into their time slots – many of them could (should) have cut their information in half, and very narrowly focused their session. And, the panel discussions also suffered because there was no time to get in-depth or have much back-and-forth with the audience.

As with all such vendor-driven events (as opposed to association-organized, such as the SPBT), there tends to be a rather scattershot approach to topics and presenters. Part of that is driven by offering vendor/sponsors speaking slots, virtually guaranteeing that certain talks will be little more than sales pitches, and that many topics will have little or no relation to one another.

It seems to me that a better approach would be to have an overarching theme or two (presented in one or more “tracks”), based on pro-actively seeking input from industry leaders (e.g., “Best Practices in Selling Skills”, or “How New Technologies are Impacting Sales”, or “The First 90 Days – Making New Representatives more Successful”, etc.). Then, direct each speaker to focus the specific topic of the talk to the relevant theme. Also, instead of having vendors present full sessions, allow each vendor/sponsor to have a 5-10 minute slot during the conference, which is plainly positioned as a sales pitch – say, on the front end of a session. The sessions themselves should be given by practictioners, or perhaps by practitioner/vendor co-presenters, with more data or a case study, instead of a vendor capabilities overview.

Other random observations: serving Starbucks coffee is always great, though it should have been available at all times. Giving away Wall Street Journals (and free 6-month subscriptions) is a nice touch. The CBI person in charge (Courtney) was a more engaged and active presence than I have ever seen at a similar conference.

And finally, a public thanks to John Sjovall (Daiichi Sankyo) and Jim Delaney (NxLevel) for all the collaborative work that went into our workshop on Learning Management. I don’t know when I’ve more enjoyed working with co-presenters…the preparation sessions in the weeks preceding were so energizing and fun that we kinda hated to see it end!

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The Friday Collection, Impactiviti’s weekly e-newsletter filled with articles and resources of interest, is now being effectively distributed via e-mail, and so those links will no longer be assembled into weekly entries on this site. Instead, the various articles and links will simply appear on this blog as stand-alone entries. Some links, however, will be unique to the newsletter.

If you would like to subscribe to the Friday Collection e-mail, simply click on over to the Newsletter tab (above).

Thanks to all who have provided such encouraging feedback on the e-mail newsletter. I trust that it will continue to be of interest and value!

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Interesting and lengthy article on “metabolic syndrome,” the cluster of conditions revolving around obesity.

An interesting example of one way to deploy quickly produced, nuggetized learning modules.

Review: LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a “social networking” site for professionals. Think of it as a global referral network, whereby you can find people through a web of trusted connections. I’ve used LinkedIn extensively for years now, and have found it to be a quite valuable platform for making new (and renewing old) connections.

You create your own profile which is viewed by people within the LinkedIn network who are connected to your trusted connections. A great way to find like-minded professionals, conduct a job search, and maintain your contacts in a web-based environment. You can also make elements of your profile publicly available on the web.

Just for Fun…

I’ve enjoyed the off-beat humor of Despair.com for a long time – a great take-off on the “Success” posters littering many corners of corporate America. Now you can make your own “poster” graphic – just upload a photo, put in some text, and have some fun poking fun at yourself or someone else!

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Visuals Matter

We all know that “visuals” matter in learning. And in motivating, in turns out…

I admit to a certain fondness for Starbucks Frappuccinos. Now I don’t get them that often, but once in a while….ahh, you can’t beat that cool coffee sweetness.

Of course, my wife would give the standard warnings about how many calories are in them, and making sure the life insurance is paid up, yadda, yadda, yadda – but those factoids really didn’t motivate. It’s one thing to learn a fact. It’s another to unlearn a behavior.

Then I saw this. This graphic might be the first documented example of an Un-learning Content Object. Words and facts – easily ignored. Picture – gulp!

Now I may yet, at some future moment of weakness, indulge in one of these calorie-laden treats, but I guarantee you that I won’t make the decision lightly anymore!

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