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Posts Tagged ‘Pharma’

What is the Impactiviti network? It is where Steve Woodruff helps life sciences training professionals get clear on their outsource needs, and get connected to optimal vendor-partners.

This unique “matchmaking” network works so well because Steve also helps training vendors get clear on their message, and get connected to new training clients.

Steve is the eHarmony of the Life Sciences Training community, saving everyone from wasted time and effort.

Working on new training initiatives? Whatever you need, ask Steve!

Our training consultations are free – just ask Steve at steve@stevewoodruff.com.

 

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In the commercial training arena for life sciences (pharma, biotech, diagnostics, medical devices), we do a lot of outsourcing to vendor-partner companies.

I worked for one of those partner companies for 10 years, and, for the last 9 years, have served as an intermediary between life sciences training professionals and outsource vendors.

I’ve seen good. I’ve seen bad. And I’ve seen ugly.

So, how can you partner more successfully with your vendor/partners?

Let me give you three top perspectives, and then offer you a Top 10 download list:

1. Always bear in mind that vendors can be a GREAT resource. Your vendor-partners typically have unique expertise in an area you need help with – managed markets, instructional design, curriculum development, technology, meeting logistics, and a whole host of other disciplines. But beyond this, the people you get to know on the vendor side have networks and contacts that can be of immense value. As you develop vendor partnerships, don’t forget to sit down over coffee or lunch periodically and just TALK. Your next job role, or a crucial new resource, or some vital bit of industry insight, may come from getting beyond current client/vendor titles and just enjoying some human networking. Further reading: Networking is Gold-Mining.

2. Your current role is only temporary. There is no job security – only network security. Therefore, you should not only network pro-actively with your peers inside your company (and in other life sciences companies), you need to remember that your vendor-partners most likely have a breadth of contacts across the industry. You not only open doors for them; they can open doors for you. When you realize that you should continually be transition-ready, vendors are not bothersome entities – they are valued friends. Further reading: Career-transition Ready is the New Black.

NetworkSecurity

3. Working with vendors with a win-lose, scarcity, competitive attitude is a losing game. You’re not there to “beat” your vendors, winning some game such that they lose. That’s incredibly short-sighted and counter-productive. Burning bridges by being a jackass is going to come back to bite you. Your most successful projects will involve working collaboratively with your partners so that everyone looks great at the end.

Want to learn more? Here’s a white paper, assembled with the input of people on both the client and vendor side, giving the top ten ways (from each perspective!) to work together: Client-Vendor Success White Paper

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Impactiviti provides vendor-client “matchmaking” services in the life sciences training area, built on a unique trusted referral network model. We consult and provide vendor advice at no charge for life science companies. Contact Steve Woodruff at asksteve@impactiviti.com

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It was over a year in the making. The re-branding/re-naming of SPBT (the Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers) has finally come to pass!

Though the decision was made on the new identity 6 months ago, the annual conference in Dallas last week was the format for “the big reveal.”

Welcome LTEN – the Life Sciences Trainers and Educators Network. A more inclusive name for the more diverse population of learning professionals (including pharma, biotech, medical devices, and diagnostics) that now make up the organization.

As a branding guy, I like it. The name has flexibility. The acronym is simple. The new look is modern. This was a major win (kudos to the LTEN staff and board for the successful re-launch)!

LTEN

LTEN sjovallAnd, it was only slightly disconcerting to have LTEN President John Sjovall march out on stage in a Roman gladiator get-up…!

Over 18 years, I have seen the organization evolve, from its roots as NSPST (National Society of Pharmaceutical Sales Trainers), to the present day as LTEN. And every year, the annual gathering is a highlight of my spring schedule.

The conference this year was held at the Gaylord Texan, a mega-hotel/destination in Grapevine, TX. The vast Gaylord properties can be a little overwhelming, but the facility and the LTEN staff did an excellent job with signage and traffic flow. It was a good choice of venue – especially because there was BBQ (more on that later). Next year’s event will be in the Phoenix area – the first time there in recent memory.

LTEN Gaylord

There was an interesting mix of keynotes. Amy Cuddy opened up the conference with a talk on, for lack of a better term, “power posing” – how the way we carry ourselves physically impacts, not only how others perceive ourselves, but how we feel internally. This was an OK session, though I didn’t feel the theme was uniquely targeted to our particular audience (there was a lot of power-posing going on during the week, however!) On the other hand, double-amputee model and athlete Aimee Mullins had a pretty inspirational story about not viewing disabilities as disabilities at all. Many seemed moved by her message and example. She’s a good public speaker, though with room for improvement on liveliness.

LTEN power

(feeling the Power!)

When Dr. David Rock got up to speak, about Neuroleadership (aspects of brain science on how we learn and lead), one of the people at my table confessed that she was a David Rock groupie after hearing him previously (confession: I tend to snort at becoming groupies of anyone or anything). I then proceeded to become a David Rock groupie after an hour of mind-expanding neuro-psych-analysis. I’ll bet some others were less enamored, but as a college psych major and highly analytical thinker, I was totally energized! The conference keynotes closed with my friend Dr. Karl Kapp (a professor of Instructional Technology) not only talking about gamification, but delivering a thoroughly gamified session – really well done. Karl’s a smart guy.

One interesting twist this year was a series of 3 EdTalks – 18-minute sessions on more limited topics. Other innovations included a much more robust conference app (including a photo game called Play Click), learning stations in the exhibit hall, Dine Arounds (and other networking activities), and early morning fitness opportunties. The fresh thinking that Executive Director Kevin Kruse and his talented staff have been putting into the conference over the past few years really bore fruit in 2014 – I had the sense that we have finally attained a major re-boot in the conference and the organization.

I had the pleasure of co-leading a workshop on Career Choices with the engaging and deeply-experienced Jerry Clor – there is always plenty of professional introspection occuring about staying within pharma, or going out to the “dark side” (vendor community) – we tried to provide some advice and pros/cons about the various options. There were many good workshops – quality is always variable – with occasional photobombers present (thanks, Sue!).

LTEN photobomb

The feedback I was getting from exhibitors was actually quite positive this year, especially regarding the quality of interactions with attendees. The ongoing tweaks to workshop scheduling has led to some very nice, extended times in the exhibit hall. I was disappointed to see that the size and number of booths continues to shrink somewhat, and LTEN has some work ahead to convince past, present, and new exhibitors that setting up a booth at this annual conference is a good return on investment.

One of my favorite aspects of the conference, not surprisingly, is the networking – over meals, after sessions, in the exhibit hall, and during evening events. Getting caught up with folks I’ve known for many years – and always meeting new people -is the chief reason I attend. Many attendees who knew that my family is about to move from NJ to Nashville expressed incredible support and gladness for us – maybe even a bit of jealousy – and this really lifted my heart. My Impactiviti services (consulting and workshop facilitation and client-vendor matchmaking and clarity therapy) won’t change at all; but now, when you make trips to Nashville for business or pleasure, you’ll have someone you can turn to for coffee, or advice. Or BBQ.

Which brings me to the last point. BBQ. Specifically, Bill Lycett‘s suggestion that we try out Hard Eight barbecue pit a few miles away. Bob Holliday, Bill, and I waddled out of there stuffed to the gills with some top-shelf Texas BBQ. I wanted to bottle the aromatic smoky air and take it home with me as a souvenir of a very enjoyable LTEN conference experience (let’s hope Phoenix has something comparable…)!

LTEN BBQ

All in all, a very enjoyable week. The LTEN staff and volunteers were a pleasure to interact with, as always. Looking forward to years of steady progress ahead with this re-energized organization!

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Are you a vendor/partner servicing the biopharma training and development space? Well, then, I have some counter-intuitive advice for you.

nothankyouLearn to turn down some new work.

Radical? I hope it’s not. Because, according to the input I’ve gotten from many of our colleagues on the client side of the business, one of the fastest ways to lose a valuable new potential business relationship is to sell outside your strike zone.

Clients despise when vendors position themselves as one-stop-shops; “Sure, we can do that!” “Yep, we do that, too!” “Oh, yes, we’ve done those before.” Intuitively, they know that your concern is maximizing revenue for you, not providing maximum value to them.

Vendors that take on work outside their sweet spot almost inevitably end up scrambling, failing, and endangering the client relationship.

I like how one of my clients put it recently – here’s the question he asks prospective vendors to narrow down to their strike zone: “If I have only one project for you to work on so you can lock in your skill set with me, what would it be?”

I always advise my partners in the vendor arena to narrow down their key offerings to one or two – even if you can possibly do a few other things, let that wait until you’ve already established a successful reputation by doing great work in your sweet spot. In fact, I won’t recommend vendors who refuse to be clear on their differentiating offerings and strengths.

This is where there has to be a clear commitment, from the executive level, that strategy will shape sales. If salespeople are given the charge to maximize revenue even it means blurring the boundaries and pursuing high-risk-of-failure work, that’s a recipe for a bad reputation.

Now, there are cases where I think it is OK for vendors to pursue a piece of work that requires some stretch. And that is when they already have a great reputation with the client, AND where it is explained to the client clearly that taking on this work will be a stretch. Some clients so value their vendor partners that they are willing to share that risk because of the mutual confidence level that exists. But, a lack of transparency, accompanied by some glib notion that “we’ll figure it out as we go along,” rarely ends well.

Know how you differentiate. Find your fit in the marketplace. And remember: not all business is good business.

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– I attended a mid-NJ ASTD session this week on Compliance (kindly hosted by the folks at J&J) – interestingly enough, a discussion I’ve had recently with several involves the role of communications/writing training and compliance. How important is it for people to be trained in what to write/say/present (even just internally)? Well, I heard about a massive, multi-million $$ fine that mainly hinged on a very poorly worded e-mail about some study results. We’ve all read the embarrassing revelations of written stuff (all discoverable in a lawsuit) that really puts a company in a bad light. Lesson: you can pay a little now to train – or pay a lot later to implement a consent decree.

– Making a vendor map – this idea was sparked by a couple of my clients, who have more systematically assembled a list of current vendors, and asked for recommendations of new vendors. This made it immensely easy for me to know precisely which new suppliers would be optimal, AND it was a great way for the department to map out an overview of their current suppliers for discussion and evaluation. So I adapted the idea into a new form which is available by free download: Training Vendor Map Impactiviti. Feel free to adapt and use it, and if you’d like to have a visit (live or by phone) to discuss your upcoming needs, just contact me and we’ll set it up (stevew at impactiviti dot com)

– A couple new job postings, in PA (Manager, Sales Training) and NJ (Associate Sales Training Manager).

– What’s the great un-equalizer when it comes to creating success? Initiative.

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(Job Openings, NYC area, pharma/agency experience)

Impactiviti is helping a client find two key people for important roles in the company’s future growth.

This creative Communications/Training boutique agency needs two top-level Executive Producers – one for Training Solutions, the other for Communications Solutions.

These are not mere jobs – they are leadership positions with great growth potential. See Adobe Acrobat files below for full descriptions:

Executive Producer Training Position

Executive Producer Communications Position

Instructions for submitting an application are in each document. High-maintenance misfits, clock-punching drones, and management amateurs would not fit the culture or the need (really – would you want to work for or with someone like that? Just saying…!)

Impactiviti is serving in a consultative role for this need, and is not the hiring agent. Please do not follow up by email or phone. You will be contacted if you fit the desired profile.

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