Archive for October, 2012

Job Opening: Account Manager

I have a vendor/partner who is looking for an experienced, highly reputable Account Manager to help grow business in existing pharmaceutical client (training/communications) accounts.

This is mainly an “outside” account manager position – you’re spending lots of time in the client space growing existing relationships, making new contacts, and facilitating communications and service. It is not a project manager position, nor is it a sales (go out and hunt for new accounts) role.

The successful candidate already has a history of successfully doing this kind of work. You have a proven track record of satisfying clients and deepening/broadening business relationships with commercial pharma clients. You work independently and know how to manage time, tasks, and relationships with minimal supervision.

Description & Details

Role Summary:

The Account Manager (AM) is responsible for managing active client business, mainly in the realms of sales training and internal communication programs for pharmaceutical and biotech clients. The successful AM will serve as key client communications interface for new business and overall customer satisfaction. Strategic thinking, knowledge of life sciences training methodology and a proactive, outgoing, and ethical disposition are indispensable. The successful AM is expected to identify new business opportunities with assigned clients and assist in the preparation and response to Requests for Proposal (RFP’s). The AM is responsible for growing the business footprint within existing clients.

Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Develop and maintain productive business relationships with clients at assigned accounts
  • Collaborate with clients to develop strategic solutions to meet client training and communication objectives
  • Identify and secure new business with current clients
  • Contribute to the creative process for the development of proposals and training designs
  • Collaborate with internal project managers to ensure client satisfaction with ongoing work
  • Work closely with company executive management in nurturing new business growth opportunities

A.S.K. (Ability/Skills/Knowledge):

  • College Degree
  • Minimum 4 years experience account management experience (on the vendor/supplier side, working to serve commercial pharma/biotech clients)
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Demonstrated ability to think and plan strategically to meet client business needs
  • Strong organization skills
  • Understanding of pharmaceutical industry and related healthcare businesses
  • Knowledge of the science of training, adult learning principles, and blended learning methods as applied to pharmaceutical and biotech sales force training is preferred.
  • Ability to work well with others as part of a team, but also a proven ability to work independently
  • Exceptional interpersonal communication skills
  • Basic Computer/Productivity software skills a must; knowledge of internet and digital products is preferred
  • Professional and positive demeanor


  • Candidate will already be located in the CT-NY-NJ-PA corridor (NJ/Philly area is ideal)

Disqualifiers (the Do Not Apply section): You don’t currently, or haven’t previously, worked on the vendor/agency side serving pharma clients. You think the term “pro-active” refers only to some kind of skin cream. You’ve never worked in a fast-moving and entrepreneurial environment. You don’t like people. You live in northwest Wisconsin and once took antibiotics so that must be close enough.

How to apply: E-mail your resume and a cover letter to jobs(at)impactiviti.com. Do not make phone calls to follow-up, or send e-mails regarding status. You will be contacted if you are under active consideration.

(P.S. – those in the Impactiviti “Inner Circle” who know of potentially great candidates are welcome to contact me directly)

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First, a provocative thought, just to get you in the mood:


Anyway, last week, I attended the 6th annual Digital Pharma East conference, put on by the fine folks at ExLPharma.

I think I’ve been to all of them – maybe I missed one? – but it’s pretty interesting to reflect back on what the event looked like a few short years ago. In the earliest years, I decided to live-blog the event, which was unheard-of in the industry. Would my laptop and I get arrested for real-time pharma updates?? Now, just about everyone has a tablet or laptop, and we’re increasingly living this digitally-connected reality that once we were only talking about.

Refreshingly, we finally seem to be past yammering over our Phase 1 Problems (P1P) – whether or not we even should participate in social media; what to do about off-label discussions; can (or should) we even be on Twitter; etc. This year, discussions were more focused on practical doing, and less on regulatory hand-wringing. That’s refreshing.

The event was attended by over 600+ folks – a pretty stellar attendance number – and it ran over 4 days. The first day was pre-event workshops; the next 2 days were the main event; and Thursday was Mobile Day. Chairing the event were two pharma digital veterans, Batman and Robin Shwen Gwee and Marc Monseau (each formerly worked inside pharma companies, both now on the agency side).

I like to give high-level summaries of events like this, so here is my string of thoughts and observations:

1. Digital Pharma East was well-planned and well-run. Bryon, Jayson, Jason, Warren, and the whole team did a solid job organizing, and were constantly circulating to make sure things stayed on track. Kudos to the ExL Pharma group.

Random thought: good food really does help the mood at an event.

2. The exhibit hall was packed with some pretty interesting vendor/providers – and I’m pleased to observe that we’re finally beginning to move from first-generation iPad apps (the one-off approach) to more robust system-level platforms. I have some definite opinions about this, and for pharma/biotech/device companies who are looking to do a digital technology audit and roadmap, I can help you with recommendations (commercial plug for my client-vendor matchmaking service).

Random thought: Having the meals and social events in the exhibit hall is smart. Also, if you’re going to give out water bottles, make really cool ones, like Klick Health did! —>

3. The social media backchannel (Twitter) was quite active during the entire event, with good participation from folks who were not physically present. However, live audience participation was somewhat muted, and this is a matter of concern – part of it, I suspect, was due to the lighting (audience in darkness), but also, we’re simply not effectively incorporating audience interaction strategies. Passive listening joined to a few minutes of Q&A at the end of a talk is so 2005. We need to do better here.

Random thought: Do not put unreadable type on your slides and expect the audience to be OK with it. That transgression lights up the Twitterstream!

4. Sometimes panel discussions can be a bore, but we did have some good ones. Tuesday’s Driving Innovation panel, led by Paul Ivans joined by Peter Justason (Purdue), Joan Mikardos (Sanofi), Melissa Bojorquez (B-I), Joyce Ercolino (CSL Behring), Alison Woo (BMS), and Patricia Choumitsky (UCB) was lively and informative.

Random thought: Along with industry expertise, it’s always nice to have a sprinkling of speakers from outside the industry at any event. New perspectives are generally quite helpful!

5. For me, and I believe for many attendees, the two most striking talks were back-to-back on Wednesday – Sinan Aral took us to school on the topic of Social Networks, Viral Hype and Big Data – Distinguishing Hope from Hype with Science. This was followed by the personable and entertaining James Musick of Genentech with a session on Social Engagement & Brands, talking about a unique digital/social experiment they did exposing people to genetics. Great stuff.

Random thought: It’s always a good idea to have some presenters who know how to have a bit of fun, especially if accompanied with an accent – like John Pugh of Boehringer!

6. Mobile Day was a reinforcement of a message that still seems to be very slowly sinking in – mobile is the new normal, and we are woefully behind as an industry even in the most basic stuff like having mobile-ready public-facing websites. This is truly the low-hanging fruit for digital development in pharma. We had sessions underscoring the tensions between centralized site development (to deal with multiple mobile platforms) vs. platform-specific creativity, and the main message here is that all of these details are still quite in flux. But mobile/smartphones/tablets are going to predominate, and it was refreshing to hear at least one speaker advocate for the approach of developing for mobile FIRST, then worrying about a “desktop” version. In my opinion, that’s the only approach that makes any sense if we understand current trends correctly.

Random thought: Presenting to doctors via iPad is not necessarily intuitive – training is necessary (this is also true of facilitating virtual classrooms, etc. – don’t assume that the same skills carry over!)

7. I did lead one magical session/discussion on The Future of Digital/Social/Pharma/Life, encouraging people to skate to where the puck is going when it comes to our new world of People (24/7 human connectivity), Pockets (mobile), and Pipes (data streams from devices and information stores). I think that many are still not aware that networks of things, information, and people are rapidly converging; and that forces of disintermediation/new-intermediation are changing our culture wholesale in ways that will totally re-shape business.

Random thought: Photoshop can make any presenter into a plasma-tossing superhero!

Reconnecting with old long-standing friends (like Wendy Blackburn, Kerri Sparling, John Mack (OK, he’s old), Chris Truelove, Zoe Dunn, Carly Kuper, and Jay Bryant is always a highlight of this conference; as is the opportunity to make new connections. I always look forward to this event and may even venture out to the West Coast next year for Digital Pharma West. Philadelphia is OK and all, but San Francisco + Digital stuff? C’mon…


Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors through our unique trusted referral network. Need something? Ask Steve.

Learn more about us here.

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I read a provocative article this week, and it has generated quite an interesting set of reactions* from others with whom I’ve shared it:

Sales Training – Avoiding the Unfixable Fix

What are your thoughts on the points brought up here?

One of our professional colleagues in pharma training even put it this way: “You can always tell a bad hire within the first week of training.” Do you agree?

I’d love to know what steps companies are taking to ensure better “matches” for hiring practices so that trainers are not left trying to fix what cannot be fixed… If you’d like to discuss, but don’t feel comfortable leaving your thoughts in the comments, always feel free to contact me directly (stevew at impactiviti dot com, 973-947-7429).

*A selection of reactions that have come in via e-mail:

I agree training and coaching are linked through the value of manager direction and support. And hiring right is more valuable than training right.

No, you can’t fix a bad or unmotivated sales person (occasionally it happens when you have an excellent manager). But that’s not Training’s job. Training (and sales management) should focus on identifying the skills and behaviors of the top performers (and seek ways to engage and grow this group) as well as spreading those behaviors to the middle 60-70% to raise their game.

In my experience, the best reps (and best trained) have all the attributes mentioned in point #3. It is this breadth of knowledge (and these days, especially the business and financial drivers of medical practices or hospitals), and productivity that justifies the investment, and the time  out of the field to acquire it. In pharma, I’ve had MD’s pull me or the rep aside to thank them for literally saving a patient’s life (oncology drugs) with the information they provided, or created access to. THAT is when the rep is regarded as a partner and ally, NOT a “rep”, and is valued still by MD’s.

I am finding I have to break a lot of habits in new hire training to get our sales teams think and acting differently because of they way they were trained at other pharma companies. Detailing is still alive and well. From there, it becomes a process of time and investment matched with the individual desire to be successful or not. As you know we can’t train passion, but we can hire to it and then nurture it fervently!

While we can argue the merits of what to train, how to train it, etc. I would make the argument that more investment should be made in selecting the right people for the job, as described in the article. The reason there is an 80/20 rule in sales is because 80% of people in sales shouldn’t be!


Impactiviti is the Pharmaceutical Connection Agency. As the eHarmony of sales/training/marketing, we help our pharma/biotech clients find optimal outsource vendors through our unique trusted referral network. Need something? Ask Steve.

Learn more about us here.

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