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Posts Tagged ‘Sales’

Since I’m asking the question, you can probably guess my answer: Yes. Here’s why I think so…

With some exceptions, commercial training departments in biopharma companies tend to be thought of as “order-takers” for the more high-profile Sales and Marketing departments. “We need this done – toss it over the fence to training.” Ever seen that sort of approach to the training department before?

Deservedly or not, training tends to be viewed as a place for tactical execution. Add to this fact that many of the roles in commercial training tend to be rotational (successful sales people moving through the training department toward roles in marketing or sales leadership) and it’s easy to see why the default identity for training might devolve to “merely” a support function.

Hence the need to pro-actively create and reinforce a clear value-adding identity for the training department – a “brand,” if you will.

One of my most interesting assignments last year was to work with one training department on establishing a brand identity, including key principles and practices demonstrating the value (to the organization) of the training group. In an upcoming LTEN webinar, Jason Zeman (Director of Sales L&D of Valeant) and I will outline how we developed a brand identity with the department, and how that brand shapes the vision, leadership, and practices of the training staff.

The key question we worked with during our brand session was, “How does the Learning and Development group uniquely add value to our organization?” You’ll discover how “Developing Value” became a key mantra in the Valeant training brand.

Developing Value

Join us on Friday, March 4th (12:30 ET) as we discuss with you how branding goes beyond just a logo and a catch phrase, and explain the practical impact of a department identity that demonstrates ongoing value. Register for the webinar here.

 

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What do you do when you have a mandate to increase sales – AND make your selling approach more patient-centric? Isn’t that mutually exclusive? (answer: no!)

That was the challenge for one organization – and, happily, one of Impactiviti’s valued partners had a solution.

Read about it here: Patient Centered Growth case study

patient-centric selling

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(there is now an addendum at the end of this post – a single question to help you network more effectively with your peers; PLUS a single question for vendors to ask potential clients as they meet/talk with them)

It can be an overwhelming experience to walk into a trade show exhibit hall – so many booths! Wall-to-wall companies! And they all seem to do the same thing!!

Sound familiar?

Some people* even shy away from vendor interaction because the exhibit hall experience can be so overwhelming, and there’s always a sense that you’re a target being sold to.

*(hello, fellow introverts!)

Well, I want to give you one simple tool to cut through the bull and help you find out if a vendor is potentially a right match for you. It’s a straightforward question demanding a straightforward answer. Here it is:

sweetspot
Here’s the thing to understand – vendors are in a dilemma. They’d really prefer to get only the business that’s an optimal “fit” for them, but they feel the pressure to cast a wide net and portray themselves as providers of “this, and that, and the other thing, too.”

Don’t let them. Go directly for the bulls-eye. Gently force each vendor to define their sweet spot with precision. Have them describe the kind of project where their blood pumps fastest. This is also, by the way, where they’ll have the best case studies (follow up by asking for a case study of how/when they did this for another client).

That’s it! With that one question, you can move past the fluff and get to the heart of the matter. And if a vendor insists that they can do 10 things well and they’re the ideal one-stop shop, just smile and move on.

ADDENDUM

>>So, you’re a vendor and you want to go beyond the usual canned question(s) when a potential client walks up (so, what are you looking for? Have you seen our such-and-such?) Here’s what I suggest: break the selling mode by introducing yourself, and then asking, with a sincere heart: “What are your goals for attending this conference, and how can I help you?” Then, be helpful – share your knowledge and advice and contacts. Focus your attention on that person, not on your pitch.

>>As an attendee, sometimes it can be awkward to strike up conversations with your peers. We know the standard questions (so, what do you do? How do you like working at ___company___?) Here’s a different question that I find leads immediately to a deeper level of conversation: “I see that you’re working for ___company___ – can you tell me your 2-minute story? How did you your journey bring you to this position?” Then shut up and listen. Give others a chance to tell their story – it’s always more fascinating than a bare exchange of facts. And it will usually open up a much-longer-than-2-minute discussion!

For my biopharma training clients, I hope to see you at the annual LTEN Conference next week in Phoenix. Want to meet up for coffee or breakfast to brainstorm your vendor needs? Just ping me at stevew@impactiviti.com and we’ll set up a time to meet with you and/or your team!

Additional reading: Conference Effectiveness Training: Don’t Leave Home Without It by Mark Goulston (and including some perspectives from Keith Ferrazzi who will be keynoting at the LTEN conference next week).

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Impactiviti provides vendor-client “matchmaking” services in the life sciences training area. Our business model is built on a unique trusted referral network model.

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Pharma and biotech sales (and training) leaders, take note: the FDA is actively training doctors to sniff out your transgressions and turn you in.

The FDA has recently launched an e-learning course in order to educate the medical community on misleading drug promotions.

From the FDA’s press release: The FDA’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion announced Monday the launch, with MedScape, of the e-learning course, which offers continuing education credits for healthcare professionals. The course is part of Bad Ad, a program designed in 2010 to raise awareness about misleading and untruthful drug ads. It’s aimed at healthcare professionals, but anyone can take it, the agency said. The office has developed several case studies based on warning letters the FDA has sent to drug companies, representing common problems.

You can launch the course here (anyone, in fact, can go through it). The screen shot below shows the structure of the course:

FDA course menu

Of particular interest is Module 5, where actors representing sales reps engage in questionable promotional practices to demonstrate violative sales tactics. This should be examined carefully by every commercial biopharma organization.

FDA Rep ecourse

Hat tip to Corey Nahman for the heads-up.

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For you or someone you know….

Senior Brand Manager (Princeton, NJ)

Field Sales Diabetes Care Specialist (Chicago, IL)

Field Sales Diabetes Care Specialist (Glassboro, NJ)

Senior Manager, Field Force Training (East) (West)

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*****
TODAY’S NEWS

Sometimes I can’t help but voice a bit of skepticism, especially when it comes to sexual disorder treatments. So, count me as less than convinced about this experimental treatment from Boehringer-IngelheimData from pivotal Phase III clinical trials demonstrate that a higher proportion of pre-menopausal women with Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) receiving flibanserin 100mg reported both an improvement in their condition and a meaningful benefit from their treatment, compared to placebomore (the single-question Patient Benefit Evaluation appears to me to be really…ummm…meaningful).

Lung cancer preventer for former smokers? Interesting – A drug approved to treat a range of conditions may also work to prevent lung cancer in people who have given up smoking, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesdaymore

AstraZeneca replaces Nexium sales force with telemarketers. And it works.

J&J‘s recall of OTC products. This is becoming a huge black eye, for a company that managed to keep quite a good reputation over the years. It will be an interesting case study of reputation management and quality improvement, esp. for a company that has been a leader in social media usage in this sector.

RECOMMENDED

Compliance and Diversity. The Impactiviti partner network has the providers you need for corporate training – including diversity, compliance, ethics, and much more! Contact us (stevew at impactiviti dot com, or phone at 973-947-7429) for recommendations.

PLUS

Red Meat – maybe this picture isn’t so simple after all. Intuitively, this result is actually not too surprising. AND – Are you in a Museum?

JUST FOR FUN

I only rarely get to see hailstorms. That’s what makes this video particularly awesome. Must be seen to be believed!

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What happened to the August “lull”? I’ve never seen so many incoming calls for vendor recommendations – not that I’m complaining, mind you!

In the last few weeks, a lot of concentration on Account Manager (and other personnel) training for Managed Markets. Finding some great resources, with the help of my “inner circle” of clients and suppliers. Also in recent days, requests for specialty field force training, sales-meeting-in-a-box providers, marketing agencies, and training audios.

It is my goal to continue gradually expanding my network of providers, finding the best vendors who focus on specific needs and niches. And those of you on the client side are a big help, providing your recommendations of those that have served you best. When you help me identify your best-in-class providers, you not only strengthen their business so that they can grow and better serve you, you help your pharma training colleagues and make the entire marketplace healthier. I call it “accelerated natural selection”!

(by the way, if you’re working with software development vendors, please be nice to them. This amusing little video clip explains why!)

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