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Posts Tagged ‘Vendor relations’

deepI have often likened what happens to new Life Sciences sales trainers coming in from the field as being tossed into the deep end of the pool – at least, when it comes to figuring out how to perform unfamiliar tasks like vendor and project management!

And yet – what is one of the most important competencies listed by our life sciences training leaders? That’s right – Project Management.

The ability of training managers to plan and execute projects is crucial to their success. The last two editions of LTEN FOCUS Magazine certainly make that abundantly clear:

(derived from LTEN/TGaS Advisors survey, FOCUS magazine, Spring 2017)

(derived from LTEN/TGaS Advisors survey, FOCUS magazine, Winter 2016)

Over the last 20+ years working with Life Sciences T&D departments, I have found a consistent gap in the on-boarding and developmental training of staff in the key skills required for project and vendor management. I don’t know how many people I’ve talked to who have nodded knowingly when I talk about “the deep end of the pool.”

Yet, here’s a crucial perspective to understand – the competencies developed for this role are central to ALL future roles, because, if you think about it – it’s all about pro-active collaboration skills (planning, influencing, communicating, defining, process-shepherding, teaming, evaluating, etc.).

It’s not merely project management – it’s corporate life.

So, here’s the 10 million dollar question – are we training our trainers to become effective vendor and project managers? Or are they being thrown into the deep end of the pool to “learn as they go” the hard way?

We certainly don’t send sales reps out that way, do we?

So…what’s the solution?

Impactiviti offers industry-specific training for Project and Vendor Management. This targeted program (delivered either on-demand or live) is built specifically for Life Sciences training departments, and has been embraced by many top companies over the past 6 years.

We address all the money-saving best practices that lead to successful engagements with vendors. The things that you definitely don’t want to have to learn the hard way. Here’s an overview of what we cover:

The Impactiviti workshop is available in both live and on-demand formats.

It’s time to put an end to lost training budget dollars and preventable mistakes that lead to project failures. Contact Steve Woodruff at Impactiviti (973-947-7429; AskSteve@impactiviti.com) to discuss how we can help you implement these best practices in your training department.

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– WORK FOR HIRE 

I always ask in my Vendor/Project Management Best Practices workshop – does anyone know what these three words mean?

Almost nobody ever does.

Not knowing what “work for hire” means can lead to very costly mistakes when outsourcing training development to vendors.

In this quick video, I explain why every trainer needs to know about those 3 words:

Work For Hire addresses the critical issue of who “owns” the content/solutions/platform being used for your training initiative. This is not something salespeople coming into training from the field can be expected to know about – at least, not without proper on-boarding regarding vendor and project management.

Some clients have paid for training content to be developed, but because the ownership of the actual materials (the IP, or Intellectual Property) was not properly spelled out in the contract, they have had to pay over and over again for the expanded use of the content.

In such a case, three words were missing in the Statement of Work: Work For Hire.

Other clients have ruined relationships with valued vendors by treating licensed training content as if it was now owned by the client, and therefore usable/reproducible at will.

That’s called…well, stealing.

I’ve spoken with vendors over the years who have had their workshops ripped off by clients (deliberately or inadvertently) because these issues of Intellectual Property were not properly understood and enforced. It has costly ramifications, both legal and relational (and reputational).

ourstheirs

These matters of intellectual property, licensing, ownership, and usage are some of the many business-critical issues we cover in the Vendor/Project Management Best Practices workshop. I have delivered this workshop “live” for a number of major pharmaceutical companies over the years.

This proven program will be available this spring for my life sciences clients in on-demand (eLearning, annual subscription) format, so that your training managers can gain these skills at any time.

Contact Steve Woodruff at Impactiviti (AskSteve@impactiviti.com) for details.

SEE ALSO: Stop Losing Those Training Dollars!

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In my discussions with dozens of training clients over the past year, one theme that came up regularly was the difficulty of finding long-term vendor/partners for POA meetings.

Here are the kinds of concerns I’ve heard:

“A training vendor will start off well, but then things get stale after a few quarters, and we move on to someone else.”

“Our partners do great with modules and workshops, but the POA training is often a mixed bag.”

“We’re not seeing much creativity.”

I’ve wondered about this problem/opportunity for quite some time, and while I think there are probably multiple factors at play, here is one thing that may be at the root: fundamentally, POA training is driven by last-minute scrambling.

Most of our training projects, which involve long cycles of design (including instructional design), review, and implementation, require a set of skills and practices that are more systematic and long-term-ish. But POA meetings are often marketing-driven, and marketers are used to a different agency type of relationship that regularly involves rapid change and quick turn-around. And a lot of stuff is going down in the couple weeks before a very hard deadline.

Are training vendors equipped for that? I think many are not.

Marketing agency relationships (retained AOR) and training vendor relationships (project-driven) run on very different business models. I wonder if this isn’t why it’s difficult for vendors to succeed with POA training.

Maybe there are some other reasons as well. What are your thoughts? What are you doing to make your POA training effective?

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Contract

Three simple words. They can save you a fortune.

Do you own the work others perform for you? Maybe – and maybe not!

If you contract out work to vendors and don’t know the meaning and import of these three words – Work For Hire – please do yourself and your company a favor and invest one minute (ish) with the following video:

Bottom line – there is a huge difference between licensed content/program/systems, and that which is custom-created for you. One, you have the right to use. The other, be sure you own.

Want to learn more about work for hire? Wikipedia can help. And, did you know that if you are an employee of a company, the default setting is that your employer has the (authorship) rights to whatever you produce? Yep – work for hire.

Other one-minute videos:

Successful Vendor Management – Be Realistic

Successful Vendor Management – Communications

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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 through our unique trusted referral network. Need something? Ask Steve.

Learn more about us here.

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I just received, from the SPBT folks, the consolidated feedback from the Vendor Selection workshop (“Right-Sourcing” 101) co-facilitated by Angela Nicoletta and me at the Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers conference in late spring.

There were no Russian judges, no perfect “10”s awarded, and we didn’t get to ascend the trainer’s podium for a gold medal. But it looks like we scored all right with the audience, and that’s what matters.

Is it OK to share this? I guess probably so; but if not, then I’ll ask forgiveness later!

Session: Vendor Selection: “Right-Sourcing” 101

    Presenter’s Expertise: 3.74 (average for all sessions was 3.49)
    Presenter’s Delivery: 3.58 (average for all sessions was 3.40)
    Presenter’s Preparedness: 3.68 (average for all sessions was 3.53)
    Overall Content: 3.53 (average for all sessions was 3.27)
    Quality/Usefulness of Handouts: 3.58 (average for all sessions was 3.14)
    Overall Value of the Workshop: 3.68 (average for all sessions was 3.25)

Note: The scale is: 1-poor  2-good  3-very good  4-excellent

Some of the positive comments were:

    – As an industry partner, I enjoyed getting the information/mindset of the ‘inside the walls’ person
    – Class participation on best practices
    – Excellent 10 steps
    – Good thought starters
    – I have no experience as a lead manager so this was very helpful spelling out the RFP/RFI process
    – Real-life examples were provided
    – Sample RFP outline; points to make sure to include
    – I am new to vendor sourcing and needed this
    – Thorough and logical; good real world examples included

On the constructive criticism side, the input focused on “not enough time.” That was definitely the case – we had a lot of material and could not shoehorn it all into 1.5 hours. But I guess that’s OK compared to the opposite problem!

I don’t have written reviews from those who attended the lunch-and-learn version that I’ve subsequently delivered to specific training departments, but I know the sessions were very well received. Contact us here (stevew(at)impactiviti.com) if you’d like to schedule a session for your team on Vendor Selection.

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I started out a lunch-and-learn workshop last week (Topic: Vendor Selection) with this question. I think it pretty well sums up the two primary reactions I get from pharma training professionals about vendor relationships.

What gets you ragin‘?

1. Trying to winnow through the barrage of phone calls and e-mails from vendors, both known and unknown.

2. Lies.

3. Pricing models that are obscure, inflated, or incomplete.

4. Vendor reps who really don’t know your business needs (and just want to make a sale).

5. Bad project management.

What gets you ravin‘?

1. Vendor/partners who actually listen.

2. An honest assessment of your needs, even if it may be different than you/they originally thought.

3. Flexibility.

4. Pro-active project managment.

5. Becoming part of the team, to help you over the long haul.

My consulting practice focuses quite uniquely on Project Definition, Vendor Selection, and Vendor Management. That’s why we not only provide a “matchmaking” vendor recommendation service (free of charge, to help you find the optimal partner[s] for your needs), but also offer an on-site lunch-and-learn program to help the entire department understand how to successfully define projects and select vendors. Contact us and let’s get you doing a lot more ravin’, and a lot less ragin’!

“When we needed to find new vendor/partners for some crucial eLearning projects, we turned to Impactiviti. With very short notice, Steve came up with targeted recommendations that turned out to be exactly right for our needs.” – Mohammed Tenouri — Manager, Technology & Assessment, TAP Pharmaceuticals

My mind is actually on those terms Ragin’ and Ravin’ a lot right now, as I’ve gotten in a fresh supply of my favorite BBQ sauce, Ragin’ Raven from Ravenswood vineyard. Rich, tangy, with a Zinfandel flavor.

Would you like to try some Ragin’ Raven? Call us in August to discuss your training needs, and let’s see if we can save you some time and effort by suggesting best-in-class suppliers for you. For giving us the opportunity to serve you we’ll send you a bottle (while supplies last)!

Contact Steve Woodruff at: stevew(at)impactiviti.com, 973.947.7429

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